The Lasting Impact of Canadians in Records and Information Management

By Greg Clark posted 07-01-2010 10:41


In honour of Canada Day today (and yes, "honour" is spelled with a "u"), I thought I would share the significant contribution Canadians have made to the information and records management industry.   I'm not sure why it is that Canada seems to have had a disproportionate impact on our industry; I'm tempted to say that we don't have much to do in the winter except fret about records, but that would further the unfortunate stereotype of Canada as a winter wasteland.  The truth is, Canada is a vibrant, diverse and well-educated country that has given the world a lot of great things; from the first radio broadcast to the BlackBerry, from basketball to birch bark canoes and from the instant replay to insulin, Canadians have done a lot.

So it shouldn't really come as a surprise that we can add records management systems to that list.  My Twitter pal and content management all-rounder Cheryl McKinnon (more on her later) provided me with some guidance on the short history of records management systems in Canada.

It is a little-known fact that three of the core records management components in the major ECM suites were originally conceived of in Ottawa.  PS Software Solutions became the core of the Livelink RM module after PS was acquired by Open Text in 1999, Tarian Software was acquired by FileNet (now part of IBM) in 2002 and Provenance Systems became Documentum Records Manager (now part of EMC), also in 2002.

But Canada's glories in the records and information management space are not all past tense.  The following is a very brief overview of a few prominent Canadians in ECM.  And I say brief because it is impossible to capture the contributions of every Canadian who has had an impact on the records and information management industry. The big risk with listing names is overlooking someone and I am certain I have done so, so my apologies in advance. If you think there is someone who deserves to be recognized as a leader in the Canadian ECM space, please let me know in the comments section below.

Tom Jenkins is the Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at Open Text, the company that helped define the ECM industry and make it what it is today. He joined the company as Chief Operating Officer in 1994 and quickly became CEO then Chairman.  He is one of the true champions of ECM and has helped Open Text become the largest independent ECM vendor in the world. Tom literally wrote the book on ECM and continues to actively promote the future of information through Open Text's support of the Canada 3.0 initiative and the University of Waterloo's Stratford Institute, a think-tank devoted to collaboration between digital media, international commerce and culture.

Cheryl McKinnon has been the Chief Marketing Officer at Nuxeo, an up and coming open source ECM vendor since 2009, but got her start in ECM 16 years ago following a graduate degree in Canadian History.  Cheryl has extensive public sector experience with Hummingbird/PC DOCS and following Open Text's acquisition of Hummingbird she managed the Livelink Collaborative Content Management line of business. It was in this capacity that she launched the Open Text Enterprise 2.0 strategy in 2008. Cheryl is one of my favourite Tweeters (or is that Twitterers?) for her insightful and relevant commentary on all aspects of ECM from records management to social media. She is a true thought leader in our industry and if you don't already follow her Tweets I encourage you to do so. 

Barclay Blair is an information governance guru who has written extensively on the topic. He is the author (along with Randy Kahn) of the Information Nation books, speaks and consults all around the world to Fortune 500 companies, governments and others.  Just in case you were worried Barclay would coast on past success, he was recently named a "SharePoint Guru" at, a peer exchange site sponsored by AIIM. Barclay is currently president at ViaLumina.

Ann Rockley is the founder of the Rockley Group, a globally-recognized content management consultancy.  Ann has written two books on the intricacies of content management, including DITA 101 and Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy,  which is regarded as one of the seminal books in our industry. Ann is also active in the content management  community; she is the OASIS co-chair DITA for Enterprise Business Documents Subcommittee and is a founding member of the CM Pros group.

Like I said earlier, this list is intended to highlight the contribution Canadians have made to records and information management. If you can think of anyone else who deserves recognition, please list them in the comments section below.

#Nuxeo #vialumina #canada #ElectronicRecordsManagement #rockleygroup #informationmanagement #Records-Management #OpenText