Information Governance, Moving on from Content


Has Content build holding us prisoner, making us miss the bigger picture?When I dove into the debate on Content Services and ECM, my conclusion was fairly straightforward.

Look at your information flow. Follow it and find new ways to make it flow faster. If you can do that and know where your information is at anytime, you are done.

There is a lot of detail buried under that relatively straightforward statement. Content Services is part of a broader trend in the content management space and is here to stay. It has been here since CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) entered the picture almost a decade ago but now people are seeing it as more than a way to integrate systems.

The problem is that ECM (Enterprise Content Management) is still just part of the picture. Even if we use the latest tools without regard to the latest buzz words that define them. If we just focus on the content we are failing to solve what needs to be solved.

Information First

Here’s the deal. Content never stands alone. Yes it has metadata but there are entities that need to be managed that may not have content. Consider:

  • Process Documents: Think of an invoice. It comes into the organization and follows a very defined process. This is the foundation for the entire industry. The process may start before any content is created.
  • Case Documents: While the fervor has died down, case management still matters. Many things are a collection of documents and the information about the collection, and the ad-hoc nature of the work, still matters.
  • Collaborative Content: Most of this content could be shoe-horned into case management but nobody doing the work thinks of it that way. Projects and teams use content in multiple ways to achieve an evolving goal. Having a place to go and work towards that goal, along with all the related information, is important.
  • Digital Assets: Digital assets can be part of any of the previous three instances. The difference is that digital assets have a lot of special requirements around licensing, source, and usage (to name a few) that adds a layer of complexity.

A lot of this content crosses streams. A contract is part of a sale, collaboratively worked on by multiple parties, subject to process review, and needed in a workspace for the team delivering what was promised in the contract. Building one system to serve all of those needs is complex. Have a Contract Management System is useful to address the legal requirements but then the content needs to be served to the other locations.

You aren’t going to have only one solution to this unless you ignore the problems and force the technology. That will leave you with strong systems that serves the IT department, not the people who need a solution.

In each context, there is more information related to the piece of content. Sometimes it is a collection of documents. The result is that when it is time to manage the content, we need to manage the entire context. We need to manage the information.

We need Information Governance

ECM is one aspect of Information Governance. If you can’t manage content, you can’t manage the context that it lives within. You can’t apply different rules to the same information just because it lives in a database instead of a declared record.

When we manage items, we need to manage the entire context. We need to be able to reach into the database and the CMS (Content Management System) in order to manage things as a coherent whole.

Of course this is tricky. Databases aren’t designed to be managed like formal records. Data sets are managed. Content and data have evolved along parallel, yet different, paths to handling governance.

Sometimes you need to destroy in order to do what is rightConclusion

Of course, you can’t buy Information Governance anymore than we’ve been able to buy ECM. It is a strategy and an approach, just on a more comprehensive scale. You are still setting priorities. You are still making sure you know where everything lives.

And you are still creating an ECM strategy to handle content. ECM should just live within the larger context of Information Governance.

Giving the different paradigms behind how the underlying CMSs and databases tackle governance, there is going to be some assessing and planning required. Taking a bigger picture view, and implementing it, is going to take a lot of work.

Perhaps a transformation…

What is an Information Professional?


Beaker from the MuppetsOne thing I heard from MANY people at the AIIM conference was that the concept of an information professional as we understand it was flawed. The claim was that usage patterns of AIIM resources showed that members would join and engage to tackle a single project. Once that project was completed, they would leave AIIM and presumably go do something else that wasn’t information related. John Mancini, the outgoing CEO of AIIM, shared his thoughts on the current information professional in a four post series covering the history, evolution, environment, and future of the information professional.

Experience tells me that the conclusion is incorrect. There are a large number of people who spend careers in the space and dip into AIIM resources only periodically. It is also a conclusion is hard to confirm or deny because once they disengage from AIIM, it is tough to measure what people do next.

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Pointing AIIM in the Right Direction


Jack's compass from Pirates in the CaribbeanThere are a lot of posts flying around about what information professionals need from an association. My discussion on too many associations seems to have struck a nerve and gotten people thinking. Before I dive into details regarding AIIM, I want to share these posts.

I’m not going to reference the posts moving forward but know that they have, to varying degrees, influenced this post. That said, I had a lot of thoughts on this topic already rattling around in my head. Many of the thoughts below have been shared with other previously as well to test them out.

There are two ways I can share my thoughts. I could rant and rave about everything AIIM is specifically doing wrong. It would get a lot of hits, generate a lot of discussion, and upset the very people who need to read this.

Or…

I can simply dive into what AIIM needs to do going forward. The past is written. The present is malleable. The future is fluid. It is the future that I wish to influence by helping form the present.

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Too Many Associations


A Pie from "Too Many Cooks" spoofWe are currently dealing with a glut of associations in the information industry. In the past couple of years with the addition of:

When you take into account the long history of AIIM and ARMA in this industry, it is clear that the community at-large feels it has needs not currently being met by the existing associations. CM Pros failed after failing to determine what value they could offer, at what cost, and how they could be distinct from AIIM and ARMA.

What does the entry of these new players mean?

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Moving AIIM’s Certified Information Professional Forward


New York CityIn December, the industry was faced with the prospect of a long needed certification being removed from the market. After the community protested that we need the CIP, AIIM backed off from closing the CIP and committed to updating it to reflect the changes in the industry since the CIP’s inception.

So far so good.

Now we the industry need to help AIIM make the CIP better. Chris Walker had some thoughts on ways to make the CIP more successful. Jesse Wilkins who runs the CIP program for AIIM made some requests from the industry on how we can support the CIP.

Now after having existing CIPs review an updated exam outline, AIIM is asking the industry to review the outline by this Friday, February 12.

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AIIM Awoke the Sleeping Community and Listened


Paul Atreides from DuneLast week I shared my opinions on AIIM cancelling the CIP certification program. Similar opinions were shared in many blogs (Mark Owen compiled a nice list), tweets, LinkedIn, and many other channels. I don’t want to dwell on the specifics of those posts because an important thing happened shortly afterwards. Just seven days after AIIM announced the end of the CIP, AIIM reversed course and recommitted to the CIP with the promise of an update at the 2016 AIIM conference.

That’s right. The CIP IS BACK and it is because of the community.

That doesn’t mean that all is right in the universe. If anything, this chaos reveals to us that there are real problems out there. Luckily we also learned that there are passionate people in the community who can be roused to action when they feel they can make a difference.

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