The Future of ECM and RM

By Richard Porter-Roth posted 05-18-2011 01:28


Actually, the future is already here – cloud-based everything. And by everything, I mean simple to complex cloud storage, simple to complex cloud-based applications (and storage), and even a cloud-based desktop – all you need is an Internet connection. Oh, and if that is too much for you, technically speaking, you can have a cloud-based IT service set it up and run it for you. And if that is too much trouble for you, just get in line to buy or rent a Google Chromebook next month, which provides everything you need including IT support (which Google says you won’t be needing). “Google took another swipe at Microsoft on Wednesday when it introduced a new kind of computer called a Chromebook, which stores everything online.”( )

Actually, the future I want to think about is what will happen when individuals in companies start using any or all of these services? If you think finding a file in a complex shared-drive directory is tough, well, this will be different since you will not even know that that directory exists somewhere in the clouds in one of a dozen or more services. It seems that all the work our industry has been striving for is essentially being reset to zero. Taxonomies – we don’t need no stinking taxonomies – we have Google search. Workflow? Forget it. Enterprise Search? HA! Security? We have our own (in fact, no corporate types will be able to access or even get access to a private cloud site even if the data technically belongs to the corporation),Records Management? Well, RM has its own problems but suffice it to say that if you have trouble doing RM today, your problems will double or triple. (Try putting a legal hold on a set of documents in a private cloud site, and owned by someone who just quit or was terminated. (BTW, I am using “private cloud” in terms of someone signing up for and using a Google Apps type site using their own name and perhaps paying for it with their own personal credit card.)

Of course, this is really no different from anything that existed three years ago because we all stored documents on our home computers, we all used flash-drives, and any other technical solutions that “worked” and made our work easier. Many of us use email as our own personal filing cabinet and between our email, the six of seven people we regularly email files to, and the people those six or seven subsequently email the same file to, we were assured that at least a dozen copies of any file could be located somewhere.

But the cloud thing is different and scary for many different reasons – from a corporate point of view. It truly takes the work outside of any corporate technology and control and the corporation may not know that it exists and even if the corporation knows it exits, they may not have any idea as to where it exists. If you use a Google Chromebook, you can use Google Apps to create the documents, store the documents, and even email the documents (although you really wouldn’t need to) – all completely outside of the corporate walls and knowledge.

The Google Chromebook/Google Apps is only one of a dozen or so companies that are offering these types of services. In fact, I just signed up for the Novell Vibe service and it took less than five minutes before I was actually on my own site and ready to work. ( )

As an interesting side note, I was looking into a cloud-based collaboration application and looked in the Contact Information and couldn’t find a physical address – only phone and email. I did finally, through a Google search, find the name of the parent company that makes the application/service and found their physical address, which was a town in Hungary. I emailed them and asked where my data was physically located and never received a response, which I am assuming means that all the documents I create and store will be stored on a server somewhere in Hungary. I’m not sure I like that.

Where is this going? I talked with a small consulting company at the AIIM Roadshow and they have no IT presence, they have no Microsoft anything, they have gone completely cloud-based for everything including their financials, CRM, HR, document management, etc. Is this the future?

Am I the only one concerned about where our industry is going and what may be the long-term consequences of this technology shift? An equally interesting question is why is this happening?

Bud Porter-Roth

#SharePoint #ScanningandCapture #cloud-basedcollaboration #Records-Management #ElectronicRecordsManagement #documentmanagment #Cloud-basedapplications