Why I Love What I Do

By Greg Clark posted 04-07-2010 15:25


When you spend more time with your work colleagues than your family you had better enjoy what you're doing. I have had the great fortune in my ten-plus years as an information management consultant to sincerely enjoy what I am doing, and this is especially true in the past five years since I co-founded C3 Associates.

I'll get to some of the reasons why I love helping organizations succeed with enterprise information management in a moment, but first a bit about myself.

I was born, raised, and still live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This is a bit of a rarity; Calgary is the type of city where people aren't actually from, they generally move here to take advantage of a strong economy, proximity to the Canadian Rockies, and mild winter climate (well, mild for Western Canada). Calgary has a vibrant ECM community including a very active AIIM chapter. You can find out more about my hometown here:

On the home front I am married with two beautiful little girls aged six and three. I spend most of my weekends pretending to be a prince who gets rescued by the clever princesses and am not embarrassed to admit that I have on more than one occasion been the princess. I have a degree in Political Science from the University of Victoriaand an MBA with specialization in knowledge management from Royal Roads University. Although the MBA is handy and I certainly learned a lot about the paradox of trying to "manage" knowledge, I find I use the skills gained in undergrad as much or more (unfortunately that doesn't include the ability to stay out all night and still make class in the morning). It’s helpful to be able to understand the political dynamic of an organization, communicate well, and present a solid case as to why a certain course of action is the right one.

In terms of my work history, my time has been balanced fairly evenly between helping develop information management strategies and turning those strategies into reality. I am currently heading up a team that is migrating approximately ten million documents from a legacy Documentum system to Open Text Livelink in support of one of the largest corporate mergers in Canadian history.

As for why I enjoy my life as a management consultant focused on information management, the following story tells the tale.

A couple of months ago a former client (and now friend) sent me an interesting request. She was updating the course details for an Information and Records Management program she is involved with and was looking for quotes to describe Enterprise Content Management to those who may not be familiar with the field. She asked for more than just the dictionary definition and here’s what I came up with:

Enterprise Content Management is about managing information rather than just storing it. Done properly, it helps your organization take advantage of the vast amounts of information created every day by placing content in an appropriate context for your user community. This can mean pushing content out through a web portal or providing intuitive tools to allow users to create, browse or search for content when needed. The end result is that your organization will be both more efficient and more compliant with the rules that govern your industry because you will be able to retain information for as long as needed but no longer.

That strays a bit from the traditional definitions of ECM but I think that’s the point. It got me thinking about what I like about my job and why I got started on this crazy adventure in the first place. First off, I like ECM because I like people. The successful implementations I have seen have not been implementations of a technology but have instead focused on efficiency, compliance, sharing, and know-how; all of these things are influenced by the human beings in the mix and the technology is only a supporting player. Conversely, the implementations I have seen that have not been as successful have been primarily focused on technology.

The other aspect of information management consulting I really enjoy is that it allows me to work in a variety of different business areas. Although the focus of C3 Associates is on the energy, oil, and gas industry there is an incredible diversity amongst the various business units in each of our clients. The opportunity to work with engineers in the morning, lawyers at lunch (because they’re busy the rest of the time), and accountants in the afternoon doesn’t come along very often. Each has their own unique perspective on the business of their organization and I see my job as an opportunity to unite all of them to achieve more than they would have otherwise. If helping people take their work to another level doesn't get you out of bed in the morning I don’t know what does.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the people I get to work with on the C3 team. I am extraordinarily lucky to be able to work with some of the best of the best when it comes to ECM consultants. They are smart, funny, and almost never wrong (except when it comes to using document counts as a measure of success, right Sheila?).

Through this blog I hope to be able to share some of what I have learned but I also know for certain that I will learn more than I teach. Already in the course of preparing my first few posts I have engaged in some great discussions with smart people all over the world and I sincerely hope that those of you reading will share your perspectives. I will regularly check the comments on this blog or you can feel free to contact me directly at or follow me on Twitter @GregClarkC3.

#Career #ECM #Documentum #ElectronicRecordsManagement #OpenText #princess