Overcoming Information Chaos

By Bryant Duhon posted 01-09-2014 11:24


Watch AIIM President John Mancini in action at the AIIM 2014 Conference.

John will present “Information to Action” on April 3 at 3.

To wrap up #AIIM14, John will focus on how you can turn information into action. Why is information so important? What’s information chaos (#infochaos) got to do with your business? John will explain what issues you’ll be confronting in the coming years – and how AIIM will help you overcome those issues.

John Mancini is an author, speaker, and respected leader of the AIIM global community of information professionals. He is a catalyst in social, mobile, cloud and big data technology adoption and an advocate for the new generation of experts who are driving the future of information management. John predicts that the next three years will generate more change in the way we deploy enterprise technologies and whom we trust with this task than in the previous two decades.

Q: When we say "information is the new world currency," what do we mean by that?

Mancini: Read just about any business publication and you will quickly conclude that how an organization manages its information assets is now just as fundamental a source of competitive differentiation as how it manages its physical assets, its human assets, and its financial assets.

Everything and every process is being re-imagined. Gartner’s Peter Sondergaard has is exactly right: “Every budget is an IT budget. Every company is an IT company. Every business leader is becoming a digital leader. Every person is becoming a technology company. We are entering the era of the Digital Industrial Economy."

Q: What is "#informationchaos"?

Mancini: Amidst all of this opportunity, organizations are drowning in a sea of content and information. File servers are overflowing and multiplying, making it difficult for anyone to find anything. Information is leaking out of the organization at every turn. If information silos in our existing solutions weren’t bad enough, we now have our content popping up in new silos in SaaS applications that are beyond the reach of our conventional information governance frameworks.

Content and information is coming at us at breakneck speed in an ever-changing array of formats and on PCs and laptops and tablets and phones. Organizations are struggling with the cost of legacy systems of record and fearful of the loss of control that’s represented by new systems of engagement.

Everywhere I turn, I hear about organizations struggling with this Information Chaos. I believe that managing Information Chaos is THE business challenge of the next decade.

Q: Thornton talks about a SMAC attack, is that "just" a continuation of consumerization?

Mancini: Thornton’s SMAC stack -- social, mobile, analytics, and the cloud - is another (and perhaps more powerful) way of talking about the forces that are unleashed by consumerization. Mobile represents the fifth wave of information technology – 1) mainframes, 2) minis, 3) client/server, 4) Internet, and now 5) mobile. The consequences of this fifth wave are only now being felt at the enterprise level, and organizations must address them if they are to survive and remain viable in the fifth wave.

Q: Where are we as an industry -- are we beyond ECM yet?

Mancini: I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year thinking about this question, and my conclusion is that perhaps we’re asking the wrong question.

There are three major disruptors that are simultaneously colliding to transform the world as we know it.

1.   Consumerization-- transforming what users expect from applications.

2.   Mobile and Cloud-- leading to an expectation of anywhere, anytime access.

3.   Changing Nature of Work-- forcing organizations to think flat and agile, not hierarchical and slow.

Is ECM different than it once was? Yes.

Is ECM being transformed by the volume, velocity, and variety of new content coming at us at breakneck speed as a consequence of the SMAC stack? Yes.

Do systems of engagement need to connect and integrate with legacy systems of record? Yes.

Is the effective and efficient management of content critical to addressing the central challenge of Information Chaos? Hell, yes.

When I say I’ve been perhaps asking the wrong question, what I mean is that the label we apply to the technologies represented by our industry – “ECM” – is perhaps more relevant to those on the “sell” side of the industry than it is to those on the “buy” side. Industry labels are something that vendors and analysts love to debate – and change more frequently than is perhaps useful – in order to position a company or a service.

Very few user organizations I know wake up in the morning, slap themselves on the forehead and proclaim, “Daggone, I need content management today.” They wake up with business problems triggered by these disrupters that content management can help them solve.

As Linus would say – after all, it’s only been a few weeks since the holiday season – “And that’s what ECM is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Q: What are the major information challenges that confront organizations today? 

Mancini: As a result of the disruptive power of consumerization, cloud and mobile, and the changing nature of work; there is now a massive migration in progress. The intersection of content and process in the world we are moving into is best summarized by this new continuum:

Capture -> Analyze -> Engage -> Automate -> Govern.

In this new world, much of the following will be true:

  • The central mission of IT is value creation.
  • Senior executives are now technology aware. (Note this is different from technologically-competent, but that's another story.)
  • The coin of the realm is now simplicity rather than complexity.
  • We have quickly moved into an environment in which mobile and social are becoming table stakes rather than differentiators in an enterprise IT strategy.
  • The desired purchase mode is by the drink rather than by the gallon -- OPEX instead of CAPEX. Oh, and also don't talk to me about implementation cycles longer than a quarter.
  • The really desirable technology players are those with domain/technical skills, but in a business context. Technology staff who can think more like engineers ("How can I fit the pieces together for systems that we didn't necessarily invent here?") have increasing value.

As we shift our frame of reference to the world that is ahead, four major questions emerge for information professionals and the organizations they serve:

1.   How do we manage the RISK of growing volumes of content?

2.   How do we TRANSFORM our content-intensive business processes?

3.   How do we use content to better ENGAGE customers, employees, and partners?

4.   How do we get any business INSIGHT out of all the information we are gathering?


#mobile #infochaos #informationchaos #JohnMancini #AIIM2014 #cloud #ECM #AIIM14