How do you spell IP?

By Marc Solomon posted 07-08-2011 19:09


How do you spell I.P.?

IP is a system problem if you're steeped in process.

There are all kinds of hard stops and high boundaries for containing what the organization knows in order to perpetuate its revenue streams. Some say it's over-architected and constraining. Others say it's the only sane way to engineer, track, and deploy services to the same standards as cycle-time development and supply chains. Either way it's a vast orchestration.

If you're a boundary crasher, IP is what's in your head (and possibly on a shared drive). If you're in the innovation camp it's about the dynamics of the iteration until the loop closes in discovery -- not redundancy. Does this sound to you like costly and unaccountable experimentation? Or does this IP model sow the seeds of growth and breakthrough thinking? Either way it's an improvisation in progress.

Like any extreme polarity, the process versus innovation argument is a false choice. It's not about a fixation on onerous reviews as the innovators argue or the runaway indulgence designed to evade the efficiency play.

Yes, you can capture innovative lightening in the process bottle. Yes, you can insist on documenting process without sucking the life from creative problem-solving. Systems can absorb experience but they can also dilute those learnings -- especially if the details of that experience boils down to document size, upload events, and file formats.

How many times have we seen a fluid and agile team tested not by markets but the pull of organizational conformities? Inertia is not invited to the conference table. Static thinking is not referenced in the presentation slides. But the temptation to resist change is a universal absolute in the most forgiving cultures and prosperous of economies. The allure of "how things are done here" is what strips us over there of our infrastructure and resources for serving clients.

Our SharePoint 2010 deployment is designed to steer clear of that undesired outcome by honoring innovators and respecting process flows. In balancing that equation here are a couple of starting gates for SharePoint architects and ECM managers to consider:

  1. Open up an in-bound email link from your Exchange Server to your SharePoint discussion boards. Repurpose your community of practice postings and attachments as searchable discussion scopes.
  2. Create slide libraries for service-focused organizations that live and die by PowerPoint. Tag the hell out of them through managed metadata services. Again, don't lump individual builds in with entire slide decks. We're already dealing with a granular and rich metadata environment in the slide library itself.
  3. Classify and crawl those imported spreadsheets that document the specifics around your successes. Put these patterns in search play by indexing each column as its own search facet or refiner -- a sure sign that lightening in a bottle can strike twice!

Those are a few practical suggestions for minding and stocking the I.P. store. I've heard new AIIM SharePoint Community blogger Errin O'Connor liken SharePoint to the mall and content owners to the shopkeepers. In SharePoint 2010 this presents a shopping spree for innovative and process-minded executives alike.

#processflows #managedmetadataservices #innovation #SharePoint #sharepoint2010 #communitiesofpractice #ElectronicRecordsManagement #ScanningandCapture