FOIA, Email, Clinton, and the State Department

Clinton speaking at the Brown & Black Presidential Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, January 11, 2016.A recent piece of FOIA news was brought to my attention by Ann Snyder over at the Information Governance Initiative. The legacy of Hilary Clinton running her own email server is growing. It seems that the U.S. Department of State has stated that it will take 75 years to release the emails of Hilary Clinton’s aides from her time as Secretary of State.

Let that sink in. 75 years. Not days, YEARS!!!

They then go on to give some outrageous estimates based upon processing only 500 pages per month. I’ve been working with the Federal government for years and have worked on many FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) systems. To understand how ridiculous this is, let’s examine an agency where I’ve been looking at FOIA closely this year, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

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Why Should We Get Out of Email?

Moses from History of the World Part 1Last week I had the privilege of having dinner with a brilliant gentleman from my college days, Alex. Some may know of Alex as he the person who is responsible for my moniker, “Pie.” We had a great conversation that was mostly devoid of ‘remember when’ threads.

Alex is an independent lawyer in a city in the southern US. He has been practicing for quite some time and after delving into what I do for a living, he went into a rant on legal discovery, both paper and electronic.

He flat out accused many law firms of making large discovery requests in order to make money reviewing the results. Regardless of the outcome of the case, the billable hours accrued can turn a tidy profit for a law firm. He even shared a story of one case when the amount of discovery turned out to be very small and the firm dropped the case as they wouldn’t be able to make money from it.

While not all firms are like that, it does trigger certain behaviors and advice that in the grand scheme should not occur. We should be working to do what is right for our organization without being scared of ‘what if’ scenarios.

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Email, the Godzilla of the Enterprise

GodzillaI attended the Greater Washington, DC ARMA Spring Seminar recently and was able to participate in a lot of discussions around governing email. Even after all these years, many organizations don’t have email under control.

As I was sharing details from this event on twitter, I received an interesting response from Gina Minks over at Dell.

@piewords I thought email was dead?

I laughed a little at this response. We have all heard many times about email’s demise over the years. I realized…

When you get down to it, email isn’t going anywhere.

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Thinking on the Future of Content Management

I’m sitting here reflecting upon a very productive Gilbane Conference in Boston this week.  It was good to talk to people and see what people were thinking about in the Content Management industry. Engagement, Search, and Social were big, overlapping themes in the conference.

I was at Gilbane in order present my view on the future of Content Management.  I thought I would share the slides here and talk a little about the recent research on the same topic from AIIM.

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ECM, Wanted Dead or Alive?

image One thing that I have been meaning to do is to dive back into the state of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) as a useful term and the challenges facing its use. I’ve also been meaning to draw attention to some of the excellent posts in the new AIIM Communities. I am going to try and address both deficiencies today to some degree.

Let’s start with ECM, because that has been the point of my career for over a decade now. When we last saw it, I was talking about its future and how it is moving to becoming Omnipresent Content Management (OCM). While the term “Universal” is also apt, Oracle already stole it.

Before we get into more detail, and leave Steve McQueen, the question really is, Where does that leave ECM?

Content Management vs. ECM

Okay, this is the finale that Peter Monks has been waiting on, and baiting me about, for quite some time. Let’s hash it out.

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The Enemy of Collaboration

image A week ago, I wrote an article for CMS Wire on The Long Hill for Enterprise Collaboration.  Normally I put an announcement at the top of my blog sharing the link, but I wanted to write this post, and I’ve just been a tad busy…

You should read the article before proceeding much further.  In the article, I talk about the challenges facing the adoption of collaboration tools, an important one being the desire to perform one activity in one interface.  Email is a classic example because, for all its faults, you can collaborate with anyone with an email address.  People will tend to stick with one tool and not keep switching unless they are the “stopper” that is always on a mission to convert people to the good of collaboration platforms.

Well, this scenario is something I have seen quite a bit.  There is one example that really drives home the need to get people not just out of email, but to get everyone into something that can transfer collaborative data between systems just like email is transferred using SMTP today.  That example….me.

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ECM or Document Management?

imageI’ve been working to help re-define ECM these days.  It has been a matter of using the term Enterprise Content Management versus creating a new term.  My theory is use the term that a lot of people know and don’t start the education process over.  John Mancini, the president of AIIM, talked the ECM label on his Digital Landfill blog.

A more important question has arisen…is ECM even relevant as a concept?  CMS Watch really kicked this thought process off by saying that the term should be reserved for that rare breed of big, complex, and typically very expensive platforms that actually merit such a grandiose term.  For other systems that may aspire to ECM, but aren’t there, Document Management is the term.

I’m thinking Yes and No.

Before we look at Document Management, let’s look at ECM as a platform.

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Email, Part of this Nutritious Breakfast

Last week I got into a discussion with a few people on Twitter about email as a collaboration system.  It started when I sent a foolish tweet:

RT @lehawes: Email is not a collaboration system!! It is a communication system.

People started getting riled up. Some solid points were made about people using it for collaboration, but my point was that people using email for collaboration doesn’t make it a collaboration system.  I collaborate using the phone, but it isn’t a collaboration system.

I decided that a post was needed to fully explain the difference as 140 characters is just too limiting.

Remember Sugar Cereals?

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