SoLoMo Wave Coming: Grab a Board

By Bryant Duhon posted 01-23-2012 17:43


AIIM president John Mancini talks about trust, being always on, the blurring of information boundaries, and the need for information professionals.

Here’s the second in our series of AIIM Conference 2012 keynote interviews.

AIIM’s first conference in a decade; we look forward to hosting you.

I’m Sitting in My Starbucks Office With My PC, My Android Tablet, and My iPhone. Now What?
John Mancini, President, AIIM
Tuesday, March 20. 3:00 PM
Click here for details about John’s keynote

Duhon: As mobile workers use personal and/or company-provided online collaboration tools to access documents for work (Evernote, Box, SpringCM, Google, Huddle, etc.) are we replicating the shared drive problem, just “in the cloud”?

Mancini: There is a danger that life will become more confusing before it becomes less.

One thing I find interesting in the world of apps is our willingness to put up with less "integration" than we might have once thought acceptable. When I turn on my iPhone, for example, I check my email (2 accounts), Facebook, Twitter, Pulse, Yammer, my calendar, maybe a weather forecast, and, truth be told, whether anyone has had the temerity to make a play in Words With Friends (Alec Baldwin, consider this an open challenge, whether while at the gate, taxiing, or in the air).

Now there is a school of thought that says this kind of disaggregation of information and applications ought to be unacceptable. But it's not.

Now that doesn't mean there isn't a very real challenge in your "shared drive" question. The ideal is to be able to see all of the relevant information, regardless of source, in context. For now, it feels like the elegance of the individual apps surpasses the elegance of the ability to integrate, so for now the individual apps win.

Duhon: What are the cultural challenges? How do you still feel like part of a team when you see teammates infrequently? How do you prevent burnout from feeling always “on”?

Mancini: Taking the second question first, we are, in fact, almost always on. We have wound up in a situation where we are on by default. Just sit with teenage kids and try to have a conversation, and watch them simultaneously carry on multiple text conversations, and you have a sense of the implications of "always on." So that's not going to go away. The challenge now when the default is on, is to sometimes consciously power down.

There are many forms of engagement in the work place — direct engagement with coworkers on a particular project, having a personal connection with co-workers, and having a sense of the "flow" of what is going on in the organization. I find that all 3 — and especially the latter 2 — are MORE effective in a social and on-line world than in direct interaction. But maybe that means I am just not that much of a conversationalist.

The real cultural challenge, I think, is how you bring new people into a virtual environment. It's harder for new people to connect than it once was.

Duhon: Gartner bets that 2012 will be about “the convergence of cloud, social, mobile and information into a unified set of forces shaping almost every IT-related decision.” Is IT prepared for this? Is anyone?

Mancini: We can pretend that we get it, but I think we "get it" in the same sense that a surfer understands a wave. There's a big wave of change coming toward us, and if we take the time to try and understand what is under the wave, we'll get swept away. The challenge is to grab a board, try to stand up, and try to ride it.

Duhon: From a cultural standpoint, how do you get execs to trust their employees to work when they aren’t sitting in a cubicle farm?

Mancini: I used to have a problem with this coming from a somewhat traditional work environment. But watching people respond to emails at 11:00 pm on a Saturday night, I am not so worried about how much they work.

Duhon: For the traditional ECM crowd, what do these changes mean for them?

Mancini: The convergence of technologies -- both inside and outside the firewall -- and mobile platforms are combining to change the way we think about enterprise information. This convergence has 3 main impacts on how we need to view enterprise information: 1) we are creating more content and information in more forms than ever before; 2) there is now a business imperative to build a holistic strategy to manage this content and fully integrate it into the flow of business processes; 3) there is a demand emerging for a new type of information professional in organizations to help manage all of this information.

Also adding to this complexity are great changes in the technology infrastructure that supports document management and records management. The line between what has always been thought of as content management, or “ECM” (Enterprise Content Management) and the "rest" of the information in the enterprise is blurring very rapidly. Traditionally, ECM has always been most directly associated with information that surrounds business transactions, particularly information that needs to be processed in large volumes through automated processes. The lines between structured information, or data, and unstructured information, or content, are blurring rapidly.

Duhon: What excites you most about the convergence of social, local, and mobile?

Mancini: I believe that changes in the way organizations view enterprise IT systems and their deployment (the "appification" and consumerization of the enterprise) are ultimately creating a need for a new type of information professional. Traditionally, IT focused on either the deployment of enterprise software applications (seemingly the more complicated the better!) and the "plumbing" or our information infrastructures. Organizations now find that they need professionals with a broader skill set than what is traditionally found within traditional records managements or IT departments. They need more professionals that understand the management of the information assets themselves. Specifically, they need staff who understand the management, utilization, and application of information and social assets to the organization. They need a new breed of information professional. Cultivating and encouraging awareness of this new breed of information professional is the focus of AIIM, and that is a very exciting mission.

Excited? Ready to interact with other information professionals, exchange ideas, and learn from each other and the AIIM 2012 Conference sessions and keynotes?

Register now.

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