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What matters now in content management? Lessons learned by a veteran analyst

This article appears in the issue April 2012 [Volume 21, Issue 4]


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[Editor's note: The Real Story Group, formerly CMS Watch) recently passed its 10-year anniversary. Lead analyst Tony Byrne shared a few thoughts in a sit-down video about the changes (and sometimes the lack of any) over that time in the content management market spaces. We thought it revealing enough to excerpt some of those observations here.]

Byrne described three broad lessons as follows:

"The first lesson has to do with what makes an enterprise successful or not in implementing content and collaboration technology. A wide variety of enterprises invest in these technologies ... with a wide variation of success. One of the biggest predictors of success has been the extent to which an organization builds its internal capacity. That does not mean you should avoid outsourcing. In fact, one trend is that projects have gotten so much bigger over the last 10 years, enterprises need to outsource more.

"System integration and consulting fees have grown, and those organizations are now doing more work for you ... all for very good reasons. But you also have to have internal knowledge and resources to manage these large projects, especially domain expertise, particularly around process and information analysis. Having that, and really good program management, is an important precondition for success.

"Another big lesson is around the various marketplaces-document management, portals, search, collaboration, social, Web content management, digital marketing and so forth. This lesson is interesting because it's really about what hasn't happened. What hasn't happened, despite constant predictions, is that these marketplaces haven't consolidated. There are dozens of successful vendors that have persisted throughout the decade, and seem very strong going into the next decade.

"How often have you heard this? ‘This market is going to consolidate just like the ERP market. We're going down to three big vendors, so make a choice among the big three because all these little guys are going away.' Well, that hasn't happened. To be sure, some things have changed. There is the rise of SaaS, open source, cloud and mobile, for example. These are changing the environment, but they're not necessarily going to drive a lot of consolidation. There remains a wide variety of strong vendors to choose from.

"The third big lesson is to recognize what makes every organization unique and uniquely successful. One of the amazing things has been the incredible diversity of business styles and operations across the thousands of enterprises out there.

"There are similarities among firms. For example, financial services firms all face particular regulatory environments, sometimes particular cost structures and other constraints. But what's more interesting are the differences among enterprises. There's a temptation to look to peers for what has been successful. That's useful, but you should not necessarily follow the crowd. It's frequently surprising what constitutes a good fit for one organization versus another. It has to do with the unique culture and history and background of each particular enterprise. What's different about organizations is probably what makes them successful, and is therefore something to celebrate."

The six imperatives facing information professionals

Recently, AIIM President John Mancini has been reflecting in his blog called "The Digital Landfill" about "What Matters Now?" He has identified six major imperatives.

1. Make everything mobile.

Redefine content delivery and process automation to take advantage of mobile devices and mobile work forces. Ubiquitous mobile computing is one of the core underlying drivers and continues to shape the future.

2. Digitize processes.

Drive paper bottlenecks out of processes and automate process flows.  The reality of most organizations is that they exist in a hybrid environment in which process information may come from paper documents, paper forms, Web forms, faxes, e-mails, SMS, mobile and social.

3. Make business social.

Integrate social technologies into processes rather than create standalone social networks. Connect internal and external stakeholders to tap into unexpected sources of knowledge. Social technologies have moved into the enterprise, and are beginning to transform organizational processes.

4. Use automation to ensure information governance.

Acknowledge that the paper-based records paradigm no longer works in the digital workplace-if it ever did-and use automation to ensure governance and disposition. The scale of this is now making it clear that manual information retention and disposition processes will no longer suffice.

5. Commit to the cloud.

Break down monolithic "enterprise" solutions into more "app-like" solutions that can be deployed quickly independent of platform and in the cloud. SaaS and cloud-based content and process solutions are creating opportunities to deploy solutions more quickly and cheaply than ever.

6. Mine big content.

Find insights and value in massive aggregations of unstructured information and explore what big data will mean for information professionals. "Big data" is a top issue for CIOs that really reflects a fundamental challenge for the business. New tools now bring the capabilities of business intelligence and the benefits of optimization, asset management, pattern detection and compliance monitoring to the world of unstructured information.

To review the entire "Digital Landfill blog, go to www.digitallandfill.org.     


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