People Plus Information Equals Opportunity; An AIIM 2012 Q & A with IBM's Ken Bisconti

By Bryant Duhon posted 03-09-2012 15:05


As systems of engagement create more and more (and more) information; systems of record need to be there to manage it effectively. And while Big Data is a new trend, both driving and being driven by mobile and social technologies, the need for people and information to come together in harmony is a business challenge that isn’t new. Ken Bisconti discusses these and other topics in this AIIM 2012 interview.

Ken Bisconti is IBM’s Vice President, Enterprise Content Management Products and Strategy. He oversees business management, business development, product direction, and strategy for IBM’s ECM products including advanced case management, information lifecycle governance, and trusted content analytics.

Also, be sure to see Cengiz Satir discuss these same issues at AIIM 2012 in his session: The Future is Here: Content-in-Context is IBM Social Content Management.

You can catch him at 2 pm on Thursday, March 22

Duhon: IBM has been talking about content-in-context for a while, can you explain that and why it’s important?

Bisconti:To achieve value out of business content, it needs relevance. I need to understand how a piece of information relates to a situation, to me, to others, and/or to other information. I need to understand the context of the information to be able to use it to make decisions or to glean insight from it. In the context of an insurance claim I want to know all the information (and people) relevant to that case. And I want it all assembled for me. In the context of a claims process I want to be able to understand contextually appropriate information from many claims to find patterns in my business, perhaps to detect fraud or to improve or optimize my outcomes. At IBM we deliver content-in-context in a number of ways. We use case object models in advanced case management use cases to assemble relevant information for knowledge workers. In content insight use cases we leverage text analytics technologies to apply intelligent annotations to unstructured information so that it can be used to uncover patterns or insights from large volumes and varieties of business content. In lifecycle governance use cases we regularly use automatic classification technologies to classify email, documents, and files into the right categories in a global file plan and to support value-based retention policies. In a world where information volume and variety is growing at astronomic levels, filtering out the noise and helping people find the right information at the right time to make an informed business decision is an incredibly important value proposition.

Duhon: Why use the term “social content management.”

Bisconti: Social content management reflects the growing importance of "systems of engagement" attributes on traditional content management disciplines. Today's document management systems now require the same tagging, rating, ranking, and discussion features that have become popular in consumer Web applications. Social content (including blogs, wikis, text chats, activities, communities, pictures, and videos) has entered the workforce and businesses are increasingly interested in making sure this information is available, managed, protected, and incorporated into their business systems and discoverable. The promise of "systems of engagement" possibilities in business, like deeper customer engagements, requires proper marriage to "systems of record" attributes like trusted information and governance. Social content management systems promise to bring these two worlds together in a meaningful way.

Duhon: How will Big Data, mobile devices, and personalized information come together?

Bisconti:Everyday, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data–so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: from sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos posted online, transaction records of online purchases, and from cell phone GPS signals to name a few.This data is Big Data.

We typically attribute three characteristics to Big Data: Volume (Terabytes, Petabytes), Variety (structured and unstructured information), and Velocity (time sensitive, real-time, streaming). Mobile devices are both consumers and producers of Big Data. Mobile devices are responsible for a growing portion of Big Data information: generating GPS signals, photos, videos, Web clicks, text chats, etc. They are also becoming the most popular consumers of Big Data information. Personalized data from Big Data applications is being consumed by mobile users in the form of personalized information in Smarter Commerce applications, personalized advertising, and personalized news feeds. It's a growing symbiotic relationship.

Duhon: There’s still a lot of paper stuck in business processes, how important are capture tools in helping to create a world where social, local, and mobile can come together?

Bisconti: Many if not most of the world's business processes still contain a lot of paper and capture tools have a valuable role in optimizing and streamlining these processes. Capture tools and SoLoMo technologies have a sometimes surprising relationship going forward. Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular capture tools. And the location and social qualities of these devices will add additional quality of information to use cases like claims, expense reports, and forms processing. Capture technologies like advanced document recognition have a growing role in many of these business processes. Barcode support, field recognition, data validation, and other intelligent data capture techniques are just as important in a highly SoLoMo-enabled world as they are in today's batch capture environments.

Duhon: Watson is a high-profile example of Big Data, what are other applications?

Bisconti: IBM Watson is an artificial intelligence system built around natural language recognition technologies and IBM's DeepQA technology for hypothesis generation, massive evidence gathering, analysis, and scoring. It is a Big Data application that was originally built around the use case of answering questions presented in natural language form for the game show Jeopardy! IBM Watson technology is rapidly being applied to more real-world disciplines such as clinical diagnosis, financial decision support, and customer service. Other Big Data applications include enabling marketing services providers to better understand their customers and deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time, analyzing information from electronic health records to expose the early signs of an epidemic, analyzing social media data in conjunction with customer buying data, and processing real-time call data to predict and prevent customer churn.

Duhon: Are we at risk of losing sight of the fact that information needs to be managed so that people can connect to it and each other through it?

Bisconti: The most valuable information is the information businesses use to make decisions faster, speed business processes, and generate new customers. As I said earlier, information needs to be relevant and contextual to be of value. Information also has a contextual relationship to the people who create, use, and manage it. In a perfect world, the right information finds you at the right time in the right context. In this same perfect world you also find and connect with the right people at the right time due to information and communication tools. The increasing role of systems of engagement in traditional information management environments is a reflection of the importance of people and information working together harmoniously. Social content is a key component of any Social Business application.

Duhon: Biggest obstacle to creating a social business, in your opinion?

Bisconti: Like any business or IT investment, success is usually determined by first having a clear understanding of your business goals, objectives, and success criteria. Social business applications like customer care and insight, product and service optimization, or workforce optimization solutions need to be clearly defined, clearly scoped and clearly measured. Implementing any social business technology without a clear and measurable business goal in mind is a highly risky venture.

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

Bisconti: The confluence of these technologies gives rise to new classes of applications that have never been created before. Of equal importance and excitement is the speed of deployment and potential adoption of SoLoMo applications. New applications are regularly being adopted by thousands or even millions of new users in a matter of weeks and months, not years and decades. The resulting business impacts are also being accelerated. This presents incredible opportunities for businesses and solutions providers. It also means that businesses of all types need to be agile, aggressive, continuous learners, and innovators. It's an incredible opportunity and challenge.

Thank you to IBM for sponsoring AIIM 2012.

#BigData #informationprofessional