2014 ARMA Conference Trip Report

By Mike Alsup posted 11-03-2014 15:58


This is my Trip Report from the 2014 ARMA International Conference that took place in San Diego last week.  I confess that I explore many of these events from a SharePoint and Office 365 perspective so there are many aspects of the event that I missed.  I also focused on the exhibit floor and the vendors rather than the sessions.

State of the Records Management Business.  The ARMA vendors in the Exhibit Hall seemed prosperous and enthusiastic about their prospects.  Many of them seemed focused on Information Governance according to one of several alternative definitions.  In my conversations, I wasn’t sure that buyers were buying Information Governance as much as they were still trying to implement electronic records management on an enterprise-wide basis. 

SharePoint.  There were six vendors with records management solutions based inside SharePoint, including RecordPoint, RecordLion, Collabware, Gimmal, KnowledgeLake (with an OEM’d version of RecordLion), and File Trail.  This must have been a quarter of all of the records management repository solutions at the Show.  All of these vendors were showing both physical and electronic records management in SharePoint.  This should be seen as a validation of the growing maturity of this market. 

Office 365.  RecordPoint, Collabware and Gimmal were showing Office 365-based records management and content governance also.  For obvious reasons, I didn’t get to dig too deeply into the Office 365 alternatives, but from what I understood, there are significant differences in how these vendors approach governing content in Office 365.  This will be a key area of continued evaluation and market development in the next six months. 

Search and Federation Vendors.  There were a variety of very capable search and federation vendors that were focused on various aspects of information governance.  These included RSD, HP Autonomy, Recommind, Nuix, Active Navigation, and Sherpa Software.  There were two very interesting developments in this area at the Show.  Equivio is being acquired by Microsoft to support their EDiscovery and Delve operations.  Also, Equivio announced that they are OEM’ing Nuix.  I wasn’t sure I understood all of the implications of these two events for the records and content governance market, but given Microsoft’s market position, this seemed important to understand more deeply. 

File Plans and Retention Schedules.  There were several announcements that I thought were worth noting.  John Isaza’s company, Information Governance Solutions, announced a new tool, Virgo, that provides an easy and global approach to maintaining a Retention Schedule that would be released to a content governance repository and imported into a File Plan.  Fontis is also competing in this market.  They announced that they have a new proud parent, Iron Mountain. 

Iron Mountain.  What is Iron Mountain up to?  They were talking about the Fontis acquisition which will be used by their professional services team. They introduced many new members of senior management, including Cengiz Satir, Ted Maclean, and Al Lucchese who have been recently recruited from companies such as IBM, Microsoft, and RIMTech.  They were all in their new-to-the-Mountain phase, but were clearly hired because of their experience and talent.

ARMA is transforming itself to emphasize Information Governance, Security, and broader Information Management on the floor.  The Exhibit area seemed more like an AIIM show (from a technology perspective) than it used to.   Although I did not attend them, I heard very positive things about the conference sessions and the keynotes. 

The ARMA audience includes many of the same people year after year, which is a culturally positive dimension of ARMA for me.  State and Local records management seems to be heating up from a buying perspective.  Federal attendees were back after several years of not being able to attend ARMA.  I really liked the Opening Reception overlooking the bay and the neighboring Gaslamp District for evening events.  It is very easy to like San Diego for events like this one. 

Overall, 2014 was another good year for the ARMA International Conference.  See y’all in Washington, DC next year.