ECM for the Masses

By Bryant Duhon posted 03-06-2013 17:52



In this AIIM 2013 Q&A, a look at ECM and where SharePoint fits into the industry. And a discussion about how social tools, mobile, and BYOD are changing how we work; while NOT changing the basic need for governance. 

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Tejas Mehta is Senior Product Marketing Manager in the SharePoint Product Group at Microsoft Corporation. Tejas leads product management efforts for enterprise content management, ediscovery, and SkyDrive Pro capabilities in SharePoint. Prior to Microsoft, Tejas held technology consulting positions at IBM Global Services and Vignette. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Duhon: SharePoint took off like a rocket; where does SharePoint fit within the ECM industry?

Mehta: We’ve been really fortunate to see how SharePoint has grown and evolved over the past decade. Having started out with a simple vision that “websites for everyone” could democratize the way users create content and collaborate to get work done (and see it actually happen), we have continued to innovate and add capabilities that span social, business intelligence, search, enterprise content management,and more – while providing these features on premises or in the cloud. With ECM, our approach has been to bring together previously disparate content experiences around social, collaboration, and search into a unified one that is familiar, easy to use and works across various devices and platforms. We continue to believe that our approach of bringing “ECM to the Masses” is a winning one.

Duhon: How will social tools embedded in ECM products change how we work?

Mehta: Social tools connect people, and when people connect they are exposed to new ideas and information, and this starts to change the way they think, act, and work. Common challenges with traditional ECM systems such as lack of utilization or user-engagement are alleviated when people connect via integrated social tools – they have higher levels of engagement and are more likely to utilize the underlying ECM system. This in turn increases the value of the ECM tools to organizations while providing value to users through increased productivity.

Duhon: How do mobile devices change how we work?

Mehta: The ubiquity of broadband and the pervasiveness of mobile devices has dramatically changed our expectations of how and where we work. Untethered from their desks, people are increasingly using their mobile devices to consume, create, and collaborate on content. As a result, there is an acute desire for users to be able to pick up precisely where they left off as they transition from device to device and be productive anywhere. Supporting these needs with the best user experiences require highly integrated productivity tools backed by a robust content infrastructure.

Duhon: What is the impact of a more mobile workforce on records and governance?

Mehta: An increasingly mobile workforce only amplifies the importance of organizational focus on information governance. The “bring your owntechnology” revolution is real, and as more people introduce personal technologies to the workplace in order to do work, organizations are presented with increasing risks around information security, governance, and compliance.Organizations are being forced to provide technology and tools that are easy to use and accessible from anywhere; AND that simultaneously provide the industrial-grade management and control that is required for compliance. The availability of these capabilities in the cloud can certainly help organizations respond to these needs more rapidly.

Duhon: What misperceptions around SharePoint would you like to clarify?

Mehta: SharePoint provides a very broad set of capabilities that addresses a large number of business needs. In fact, a common refrain I hear from customers when talking about SharePoint is, “I didn’t know SharePoint could do that.” As such, SharePoint requires adequate planning to ensure that organizations are able to extract the most value from it. Lack of a solid plan can result in deployments with increased complexity for users and downstream costs when course-correcting. With SharePoint 2013 we sought to minimize user complexity and focused very heavily on user experience, and launched a very fast, fluid, and intuitive interface with tight integration across the entire Office suite that we feel will engage users and drive even higher levels of adoption.

Duhon: What’s next for the ECM industry?

Mehta:I wish I had a crystal ball! We are definitely seeing a lot of interest in moving ECM to the cloud as organizations look to better manage their infrastructure costs. Also, as longtime believers in user-centricity, ease of use, and anywhere access, we anticipate that there will be a continued convergence of ECM with social, mobile, and cloud. 

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