Why I do this? (Part 1) – Repost from AIIM ERM Community Blog

As I mentioned in my post “Joining a Very Special Group” I was invited to write about Electronic Records Management (ERM) on the new AIIM ERM Community.

The following is the first post I made on the AIIM ERM Community Expert Blogs last week.

Why I do this? (Part 1)

Question Ever wonder how or why you wind up doing what you do? Sometimes people set out on their career journey with a very specific destination in mind and carefully plan the development of that career along with very specific goals. That is not what happened for me.

I fell into the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) business purely by chance. Over 30 years ago my career goal was to become a pilot and I achieved that goal after completing my Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering and successfully completing flight training in the US Navy.

I had an interesting career in the Navy, got to see the world, had some amazing experiences, and met some amazing people. Through my experiences I decided that flying for one of the airlines was not something I would enjoy once I retired. In 1988 as I looked at what might be the next big thing, I decided to go back to school and retool. I went back to my alma mater, University of Florida (Go Gators!), and completed a Master of Science in Computer Science.

I was lucky enough to serve as Chief Information Officer (CIO) for a Navy aircraft research and development organization before I retired from the Navy. During my time as CIO I saw how critical the “I” in that job title really was. Information was critical to the success of the research and testing of the next generation aircraft and weapon systems.

After retiring I joined an IT software and services company that had a very robust workflow solution. This is the part where serendipity comes in. The DoD 5015.2 records management standard had just been issued and one of our customers wanted a document management solution, which would also comply with the brand new DoD 5015.2 standard. This was my chance to create a new integrated document, records, and workflow management solution using PC Docs, Provenance’s ForeMost, and our workflow software. This became one of the first integrated document management suites (IDAM as coined by Gartner) on the market and was the first integrated suite to become DoD 5015.2 certified. I guess I was a pioneer of sorts.

TruearcAnyway, I went on to become the President of the records management company (which became TrueArc), created AutoRecords and was awarded a patent, and provided the first DoD 5015.2 certified integrated records management solution for Microsoft’s SharePoint 2001 (version 1). I also successfully led the acquisition of TrueArc by Documentum in late 2002.

Over the last 8 years or so I have been focused on creating solutions, which help businesses effectively manage information and extract the most value from one of their most important assets. Although I have focused primarily on leveraging SharePoint as an information management platform over the last couple of years I have been working on effective ways of using Documentum and SharePoint together.

So, as you can see, I never really started out planning to be in the ECM business. In some way I fell into this career. But I really didn’t answer the hypothetical question “Why I do this?” yet. But I will.

In Part 2, I will delve more deeply into the answer to this question…

Consolidation Resumes: Iron Mountain Acquires Mimosa Systems

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Well, looks like 2010 may usher in the resumption of  the consolidation in the ECM marketplace. It will be interesting to see who will be next.

With this acquisition of Mimosa Systems, Iron Mountain moves more closer to a credible Cloud provider of long term electronic records storage by providing a robust on-ramp onto the Cloud storage infrastructure.

The question will be, “Can Iron Mountain provide a credible Cloud based solution which includes the necessary services to successfully move customers into the Cloud? Having the storage infrastructure and now the onramp for email, SharePoint, and files is one thing. The real test will be delivering the end-to-end services necessary for large organizations to adopt the Cloud and adapt information management practices. These services need to help address data privacy concerns and e-Discovery practices for example.

Presenting Keynote at LegalTech 2010: Don’t Build your E-Discovery Program on a Digital Landfill

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I will be presenting the opening keynote at LegalTech 2010 in New York city on February 1st.

My presentation entitled "Don’t Build Your E-Discovery Program on a Digital Landfill" will highlight some of the challenges in addressing information management within the EDRM model, show the correlation between sound practices and successful E-Discovery programs, and to provide specific action steps attendees can use to manage digital information overflow.

I feel like I will be preaching to the choir since most attendees already know how challenging this problem is but they will come away from my session with some actionable recommendations to help get control of the mounds of information at their companies.

Hope to see you there…

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sharepointgovernance.org Launches

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There is a new destination for those looking for SharePoint governance best practices and lessons learned from those of us in the trenches implementing SharePoint.

Check it out at: www.sharepointgovernance.org

I am pleased that I was asked to be one of the  peers on the site and look forward to sharing some of the lessons and best practices we have developed. I also look forward to learning form other peers and the “gurus” about how best to leverage SharePoint for managing information effectively.

Busy With DoD 5015.2 Certification of MOSS 2007 – Sorry For The Lack of Posts

Forgive me, it has been a while since my last post. I have been a bit busy the last couple of weeks completing the DoD 5015.2 certification testing of MOSS 2007 (SharePoint 2007).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, AIS built the DoD 5015.2 certification add-on pack over the last several months and we just successfully finished certification testing last week.

Here is the press release Microsoft made today: Microsoft’s press release today.

The certification reports will be posted on the JITC product register located here in the near future.

This is an important milestone for Microsoft and adds significant records management capabilities to MOSS. I am happy to see this finally be available for my clients that have invested in MOSS. Microsoft confirmed that licensed MOSS clients will be able to get the DoD 5015.2 certification add-on pack without an additional charge.

So, now with that major achievement behind me I should be able to starting posting more regularly. As always I follow my number one rule: only make a post to BetterECM when I have something to say.

Update: Here is the link to the AIS Press Release

Take a Peek Behind The Curtain – SharePoint and DoD 5015.2: Part 2

Or…HOW Did They Do That?

Well, in this post I will shed some light on how we were able to add the required DoD 5015.2 functionality to the existing MOSS 2007 Records Center.

For those who have not explored MOSS 2007 as a development platform, you should really take a look. MOSS can be extended not only to build pretty rich and robust ECM applications, but to build other business solutions that can leverage workflow and a rich browser based user interface.

I recommend taking a look at the White Paper my colleague Vishwas Lele wrote back in January called: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) as an Application Development Platform.

We were able to leverage the rich features out-of-the-box (OOTB) of SharePoint 2007 and take avatage of connecting and extending those features using only the SharePoint Object Model and native SharePoint 2007 capabilities. Our development team was able to extend, connect, and integrate various out-of-the-box features and functionality, such as:

  • SharePoint Lists and Framework
  • Content types
  • Custom field types
  • Access Control Logic (ACL)
  • Workflow Foundation
  • Integration with Exchange and Outlook
  • Search

We are in the process of creating a Developer Case Study with Microsoft which will describe in detail how the fetaures required for DoD 5015.2 were created using some of the very configurable OOTB SharePoint features along with some custom workflows built on the Workflow Foundation and customizations built on the MOSS 2007 & WSS SDK.

One of the interesting features of the DoD 5015.s Records Center is that Records Managers will have workflows avaialable to automate the review of Vital Records, review and approval of Category and Folder Cutoff, and diposition processing.

As soon as the Case Study is published I will post a link to the paper.

Disillusioned With The Current Definition of ECM

I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. For over two months now, to be exact!! So here it is, finally!

I think the traditional definitions of ECM swirling around are flawed. In this post I review some of the traditional definitions of ECM from AIIM, Gartner, and Forrester, and then propose a new “BetterECM Definition of ECM”. This new definition serves to answer the broader question of “How do we effectively manage the content across the enterprise and create a culture of information sharing?” 

So let’s look at the current definitions:

From AIIM

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the technologies used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists.

From Gartner’s Client Issues for Enterprise Content Management, 2005

ECM has emerged after 10 years of market consolidation. Vendors from various areas have entered other markets by developing new functions, or by acquiring companies and technology from related markets. As a result, few stand-alone vendors remain in some of these markets (for example, Web content management and record management). Today, ECM encompasses the following core components:

  • Document management for check-in/checkout, version control, security and library services for business documents
  • Web content management for automating the webmaster bottleneck, and managing dynamic content and user interaction
  • Record management for long-term archiving and the automation of retention and compliance policies, and to ensure legal or regulatory record compliance
  • Document capture and document imaging for capturing and managing paper documents
  • Document-centric collaboration for document sharing and supporting project teams
  • Workflow for supporting business processes and routing content, assigning work tasks and states, and creating audit trails

From Forrester’s Topic Overview: Enterprise Content Management

ECM must be a strategy for: 1) how to manage all unstructured information — images, Web content, rich media assets, and corporate records; 2) how to integrate the many content repositories within an enterprise; and 3) how to put content to use — by making it contextual within business processes and user experiences.

What’s wrong with these definitions?

Well, all of the above definitions primarily focus on the technologies used to manage content across the enterprise. Forrester’s definition is getting closer to my idea of the ideal definition, but does not quite get there. It’s almost like the common definitions of ECM are based on the consolidation of the technology components that now make up the ECM suites. The do not address the necessary cultural aspects, processes, policies, and procedures which would support a culture and the practical application of effectively managing information throughout the enterprise.

I really like the Gartner definition of business process management (BPM): From the Gartner research report “Business Process Management: Preparing for the Process-Managed Organization”, they define BPM as:

BPM is a management practice that provides for governance of a process environment toward the goal of improving agility and operational performance. BPM is a structured approach employing methods, policies, metrics, management practices and software tools to manage and continuously optimize an organization’s activities and processes.

The BetterECM definition of ECM:

So, based on the less than ideal definitions of ECM so far I propose the following “BetterECM Definition of ECM”

“ECM is a management practice that provides for governance of an information management environment toward the goal of improving compliance, information reuse and sharing, and operational performance. ECM is a structured approach employing methods, policies, metrics, management practices and software tools to manage the lifecycle of information and to continuously optimize an organization’s collections of information and information management processes.”

Tell me what you think. Based on your feedback this definition may evolve.

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Intel Faces Up to E-Mail Retention Problems in AMD Lawsuit

From the eWeek article:

A judge gives the company 30 days to find missing e-mails; meanwhile, Intel’s foibles reveal a prime example of what businesses of all sizes now face since the institution of new federal e-discovery court rules.

Intel has 30 days to recover 1,000 missing emails subject to the courts discovery order. The judge also ordered Intel to document the process of how they recover and produce the missing emails.

Wow! This definitely makes the case for Better ECM. Effectively managing company emails as official business records and preserving them when they are the subject of ongoing litigation (placing them on legal hold) is the foundation of any well designed and operated enterprise content management strategy and program.

There are quite a few companies that should take heed of the challenges Intel is facing and get busy putting their content houses in order. This should be a wake up call!

The new Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that specifically address the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI) went into effect December 1, 2006 and call for the expeditious delivery of ESI subject to a court ordered discovery request.

I came across the “Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges” at Information Governance Engagement Area. Hat tip to Rob Robinson.

Every Chief Risk Officer, Corporate Records Manager, Corporate General Counsel, etc. should read and have a copy of this pocket guide.

And then, start working on making their ECM Better!

The Conference Season Is Almost Here

Well, the January is almost over and now the barrage of conferences begins. BetterECM will be really busy and there are plans to host meet-ups at each conference I will be speaking at. Details to follow.

Here is a list of my speaking/conference schedule over the next several months in chronological order:

February 26-28: Gartner BPM Conference, San Diego, CA – Wow, I will be a conference attendee and will not have to speak!

March 6:

April 10-12: The Gilbane Conference San Francisco, San Francisco, CA – I will be presenting: Is It Possible To Successfully Manage Content In The New Wild West: ECM In A Web 2.0 World

April 16-19: AIIMexpo Conference & Exposition, Boston, MA – I will be presenting: Keeping Your Content Secure Everywhere: Even Outside The ECM Repository

At each city, I plan to schedule and announce a BetterECM meet-up to get folks together, share ideas, discuss how to make ECM better, and to put faces with names. The first round of drinks will be on me!

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MOSS 2007 Security, Compliance, Server Hardening, and IP Protection Resources

Joel Oleson just posted a great set of resources over at the Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog which lists Webcasts, other Blog posts, presentations, and white papers and other content which cover different security topics on Office SharePoint Server and WSS v3. I am a regular reader of Joel’s Blog and he is always a good source of SharePoint information. The following is the link to the post.

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