Disruption in the ECM industry: thinking holistically about information management

Disruption in the ECM industry: thinking holistically about information management

John Mancini keynote at AIIM Forum UK 2015 - picture courtesy AIIM via Flickr

John Mancini keynote at AIIM Forum UK 2015 – picture courtesy AIIM via Flickr

In a post at the occasion of the AIIM Conference2015 in San Diego we took a deep dive into digital transformation with John Mancini. When we talk about digital transformation, disruptive factors are never far away.

Moreover, just as digital transformation projects overall often require a different way of gathering, organizing, connecting, unlocking and using content and information, the ECM industry is in a state of flux as well.

Disruptors: consumerization, the cloud, mobile, IoT and big content/data

At the recent AIIM Forum in the UK, John covered several transformational and disruptive forces shaping the ECM market. In an interview ahead of the latter event for the KnowledgeShare blog, John shared some views regarding these forces and how the ECM landscape will change. After having listened to his keynote on the topic in London, we had a chat with John, looking at some of the evolutions he touched upon.

Choosing wisely between what is only the next bright shiny object and what is truly transformative is more difficult than it has ever been. 

In his London keynote John mentioned some major disruptors in the ECM landscape you undoubtedly know such as consumerization, the cloud, mobile and Internet of Things. However, we asked him to explain how he feels these disruptors will play out in the ECM market.

John Mancini sees the mentioned factors as really important when it comes to thinking about the intersection between people, process and information. Let’s summarize some of them.

Consumerization: away from the complicated and monolithic

Consumerization impacts because it affects the way we deploy applications and the way that end-users consume those applications. Consumerization changes the assumption and idea we had in the past that we could take one year or a few years to roll out very very complicated and monolithic applications. That assumptions and approach just doesn’t hold anymore. Furthermore, let’s not forget that the days IT developed a system and said ‘here it is, use it’ are over and done with. No user focus, no adoption, it’s that simple. Ease of use matters, whether it’s in the systems we build, the solutions we buy or – most certainly – the interactions with user and customers in general.

Cloud and mobile: security and governance

On the cloud and mobile side John mainly looks at the security dimension. Because – from an ECM perspective – the essence of cloud and mobile is that it allows information to transcend the firewall. What we need to do is rethink the question of what we are trying to protect and why we are trying to protect it.

Internet of Things: big content, unstructured data and the paper challenge

The Internet of Things John mentioned during his keynote is essentially about big content or big data. He used it as an umbrella for the volume and diversity of data and content with the IoT being an additional driver. Here, John says, the challenge is that so many of our models for managing information are still based on an analogue model. In other words: a paper model.

Getting paper out
The urge to get the paper out of processes and move away from the analogue model by the way was omnipresent at the event. Doug Miles talked about it, Atle Sjekkeland mentioned it, attendees of the event simply couldn’t miss it. While it might seem strange for seasoned industry experts the call to digitise, automate and get the paper out just has to be heard and repeated, even if we talk about it since so long. But it’s simple: without digitisation there is no digital transformation and – at least as important – no getting out of the information chaos many of us struggle with. The speed of business has changed and business at the speed of paper as Doug Miles reminded at the event, isn’t the speed you want in your business and ecosystem today.

From big data to a holistic view on content and information management

Back to IoT, or rather big data. John reminds us that big data is doing two things.

  1. It is throwing content at us in volumes that we have never seen before. The challenge at hand: we need to figure out new ways of managing that phenomenon. And a step further: ways to capitalize upon the tremendous opportunities it offers.
  2. Big data is blurring the lines between data and unstructured information in previously unseen ways as well. And that’s why we need to start thinking more holistically about information management.

Holistic is an important term here. It reminds me of what Harvey Spencer calls Capture 2.0. If you listened to the Capture Webinar Trilogy where Harvey explained Capture 2.0, you probably noticed that a piece of it is all about this holistic view where document capture in the traditional and still important scanning and imaging sense (get the paper out, remember) meets digital and unstructured content in a, well, holistic view on capture. Capture 2.0 is more than just this sheer capture aspect and it takes a holistic perspective approach regarding processes and so on as well but it’s clear that in a ‘connected’ era holistic is more important than ever.

A holistic approach for a connected age

You also see these phenomena of integration, connection and broader, more inclusive approaches in business where there is a more holistic view on IT and the role it plays within and outside (of) the business, a more holistic view on the customer/user and so on.

How else could it be? Everything is more interlinked than ever: networks, data, customers, business goals, you name it. Furthermore, we also see the disconnect with customers, for instance, in so many areas where the information silos exist. Just think about the role of information – in a holistic and connected approach – when servicing customers the way they want: a way that goes beyond any source, channel, format, device, context and department. The omni-channel and integrated/connected challenge in customer service and the contact center.

The holistic ‘must’ is probably driving other evolutions in the ECM market such as the need for end-to-end approaches as Atle Sjekkeland mentioned in another interview at the occasion of the AIIM UK Forum. Because we want to solve a business need and that business need needs to be looked upon as a whole. More about this end-to-end and at the same time business priority driven information management view and the ECM evolutions going along with it in the interview with Atle.

Now, how does all relate with the disruptive evolutions driving the ECM market and how does it impact the dynamics within the ECM marketplace overall? We briefly touched upon it before and will continue to in next posts. In case you can’t wait, below is the video with the short interview we had with John at the AIIM UK Forum 2015.