Little Bit of Everything


Recently I’ve had more to say than time. So I am taking some time while I watch a little football to comment on various topics. If I get any real feedback on any of these thoughts, I’ll spin it off as a separate post later…

Dialog about Dialog

Well, my post about more dialog got some great reactions. However, dialog about having a dialog isn’t the target. Jesse Wilkins did make an interesting point that people will talk about what interests them. He is exactly right. That is why we need more ECM bloggers. That way we have enough diversity to talk about any ECM topic. Of course, one of my goals is to get everyone to care about ECM standards.

I was very pleased by what I saw. Now let’s see what happens over the next few months as real topics surface.

SharePoint is Lotus Notes?

In the 90s, when we were still concerned with Y2K, Lotus Notes was taking the corporate IT world by storm. IBM was making it very easy for organizations to get licenses. They were even known to throw it in for free to sweeten a deal. Notes spread throughout the organization as everyone created applications to do everything.

The problem? It became increasingly difficult to manage those applications, known as databases. Many organizations didn’t even know exactly how many Lotus Notes “databases” that they had. I went to one company and in automating one process in PC DOCS (remember, it was the 90s), we had to consolidate information in three different databases. These were databases that all served the same purpose! Each group in the process had created a databases for their own use.

Now, SharePoint is starting to do the same thing. Microsoft has made it easy to acquire, and some IT organizations aren’t adequately managing the creation of new SharePoint sites (I personally know of several that I am not at liberty to share). Andrew Chapman explains how much more dangerous this is in SharePoint now that Records Management may be creeping into the system.

Try as he might, Andrew still comes off a touch biased and I am not 100% certain he got all of the SharePoint details correct. He definitely seemed to get the important details correct in that there are going to be records silos and multiple libraries to store records. Silos of content is bad. That is contrary to everything that ECM is.

When I started working with RM back in the 90s, records managers hated regulating content in its original location. Many still do. However, every implementation that I have done has received greater support from both IT and end-users when the content didn’t move into a second location.

While the wild proliferation of SharePoint is a little scary, in the same way Lotus Notes’ spread was scary, the longer term problem of adding Records Management on top of it scares me even more. This is why SharePoint should just have ECM plugged in underneath.

Google and ECM?

Lee Smith had an interesting post when he talked about Google ECM. (GECM?) His most interesting observation was the concept of an ECM vendor providing the ECM backbone for Google Apps. It is interesting in concept, if not something far off (in technology terms). Maybe, to take it even further, Google and the ECM world will devise a standard way of working together. Then they can challenge SharePoint. I don’t see a lot of compliance officers wanting their content on the Internet though, making that a big challenge.

Then again, maybe one of those newer open source systems will be assimilated and it will sell. Never underestimate Google. This is something to watch.