Contributor Virginia Backaitis has been following some of the companies she covers since their inception. This perspective adds a depth and level of understanding to her articles, which make following enterprise content management as addictive as following your favorite show. Read what Virginia had to say about the field in this interview.
An Interview with Virginia Backaitis
CMSWire: What first brought you to the information management industry?
Virginia Backaitis: My clients. I'm a recruiter who works deeply in highly specific technology markets. Back in the early 1990's Information Management became important to CIO's.
A few of them who knew me well, invited me to come to a few industry and vendor conferences with them to learn about the emerging technologies involved. They knew that it would give me the orientation I'd need to separate the best from the rest.
After that, vendors in the ECM/IM space came to me for help in recruiting key executives, so I had to learn all about their products and services.
More than a dozen of these companies are now public. It was great fun to identify, recruit and place the executives that could help them grow.
CMSWire: What project are you working on now that you'd like the readers to know about?
Virginia: There are three. First, my partners and I are in the process of identifying who's doing what with technology and analysis in the era of Big Data. It's a world that's still emerging and we want to know who the best people in the field are, what fascinates them and how they see the future.
We'll then lead them to companies who align with their interests and can benefit most from their contributions. Needless to say, this will help us get the best talent for our client companies who are busy doing amazing things.
Second, we'll be building a meeting place for ECM professionals. We haven't defined what that will look like quite yet. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.
Third, Big Data and Predictive Analytics are going to get even bigger in 2013. I want to figure out who the best players are and watch and do that in depth. You can probably read about them here on CMSWire.
CMSWire: What excites you most about your field today?
Virginia: I'm excited about the next wave of computing where Big Databases, be they structured or unstructured, are going to push aside the Oracle and SQL databases of today (after all, they are more than a quarter century old) and when developers will be able to easily write programs that draw insights from Big Data. That will change both how we do business and how we live.
I'm also looking forward to identifying and meeting the most talented people in this field including data scientists, analytics pros and the companies who are innovative enough to hire the best and to leverage their talent.
Many of these people will go down as early explorers and rock stars. Not only because they are smart and talented but also because they saw something interesting, learned as much as they could about it and then stepped into the ring to learn more. It's a fun and interesting crowd.
CMSWire: Was there ever an "aha" moment in your career and if so, what was it?
Virginia: I had a minor health issue a few years back and I couldn't find a doctor who had helped a patient through my specific situation -- and I looked at the best hospitals and research institutions -- but for some reason this didn't upset me. Somehow I was sure that I couldn't possibly be the only person in the world who had ever had my particular symptoms and set of circumstances.
I was certain that if I could find a few others "like me" we could share our experiences and learn something useful from each other. I also knew that if anyone was going to be able to find these people, it was me. As a recruiter and journalist, I had been finding needles in haystacks for years AND I was motivated -- I needed to get rid of the health issue and get on with my life.
To make a long story short, after a few weeks of research, I found three people like me on two different continents. After the four of us shared our personal data with one another, we were able to identify our commonalities, compare our behaviors and to figure out what the most likely culprit might be. When we eliminated the culprit we each got rid of the problem .
Yes, we were lucky, and our problem wasn't caused by a rare and devastating disease -- though two in our group had been tested for several. Instead of learning from medical lab data, I won my insights from other “people like me.”
I wouldn't have been able to find these people 10 years ago and I just imagine what my future may have looked like …
CMSWire: What would your one or two biggest wishes for the industry be for 2013?
Virginia: That its stakeholders be brave and bold. We’re on the cusp of a new era in information Management. There are things to innovate and to discover that no one has ever seen or ever worked with before. So while you have to pace yourself, you also need to recognize that these moments don’t last. This is the opportunity to catch the wave while it’s here.
CMSWire: Is there anything else our readers should know about you?
I want a social media do-over. Most of us have too much information coming at us at once and we won’t take the time to set up filters.
Take, for example, the companies we have “liked” on Facebook. Do we really want to know what they’re up to all of the time? Are they making us upset with their emails and ads? I have more negative feelings about the companies I've “liked” than I have good. I need to end these relationships and be discerning about who I start up with on the next round.
Speed Round -- 6 things you should know about Virginia
1. Right now I am reading
"Quiet" by Susan Cain.
2. Quote to live by
"Anything that doesn't bring you alive is too small for you."
3. The best word ever said
4. When not working, I am
Running or cycling and listening to something.
5. Word that should be struck from the dictionary
6. Best song ever sung
I love music much too much to pick just one.