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Joe Shepley News & Analysis

Where Should Information Governance Live?

2015-12-February-tent-city.jpgThere are some perennial questions in the world of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) consulting. What is the most common reason ECM fails? What is the most important element in good governance? Can’t we just use one tool for all our content?

Most of the time, these are straightforward to answer (lack of defined business benefits, executive support, no), but there’s one that is not only perennial but, to me at least, extremely difficult to answer: where should information governance live?

Where Document Management Went Wrong

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Ask anyone who works in an organization and they'll tell you: managing business information well is a struggle. This is true for structured data (like customer, product or transaction information in enterprise systems), but even more so for unstructured data, e.g., the innumerable documents to be found piling up everywhere in an organization. And no matter what new technological advances get introduced or governance frameworks get published or industry group gets created, managing documents well appears to be getting harder and harder and we seem to be getting worse and worse at it.

CMSWire Top Contributors 2014 - Joe Shepley

2014-22-December-Joe-Shepley.jpgJoe Shepley is a strategy consultant, which means he helps organizations plan the work they need to do, helps teams get funding, helps organizations understand how technology can improve the ways they do business and helps IT understand what end-users need. In short, Joe said, "I help clients." He does that in his role as vice president and practice leader at Doculabs. And he also does it in his role as a CMSWire contributor, where he regularly shares insight on information management, information governance and records management.

Technology Can't Ever Solve the Information Management Problem

We’re in an exciting time for information management: cloud storage has become ubiquitous, mobile devices provide a functional (though not yet entirely optimal) experience for end users, disruptive entrants have pushed the envelope, venerable leaders have begun to execute on powerful innovations, and, at least in theory, managing information better seems to be an aspiration of organizations across nearly every vertical. Not to mention the vibrant community of information management practitioners available on the web through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and more blog sites than you could ever hope to read.

We're Gonna Govern Information Like It's 1999

2014-21-November-I-Was-Dreaming-When-I-Wrote-This.jpgThe 2014 conference season is drawing to a close, and I’ve had the opportunity to take in what’s happening in information management, from the vendor perspective, the practitioner perspective and the business perspective. And while there were lots of interesting, very forward thinking developments around cloud, SaaS, vertical solutions, mobility, IoT and so on, I walked away with the impression that our biggest unsolved problems are the same ones we had in 1999: finding and sharing the right content, with the right people, at the right time.

Are You a Cost Center or a Profit Center?

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No matter what your role or function in your organization, it boils down to this: are you a cost center or a profit center? That is, do you cost the company money or do you make the company money?

You Will Never Get Enterprise Content Management Right

2014-22-August-nope.jpgNo one will. At least not in the way we typically think about it.

We all seem to want to solve it narrowly, tactically, with concrete steps we can begin taking today, making progress step by step until we’ve got ECM down. We think we need to find the right systems, or migrate this or that swamp of content from where it is to a better place, or get our user interface more intuitive. And then, with that heavy lifting done (and the promised land reached), we can run and maintain our optimized ECM environment on and on into the future, delivering value to our overjoyed stakeholders, who shower us with accolades and $25 Starbucks cards as tokens of their eternal gratitude.

Information Management Will Never Be Easy

2014-14-July-Obstacle-Course.jpgI get the opportunity to speak with hundreds of folks a year about managing information at organizations, and probably the most common requirement I hear is, information management needs to be easy and user friendly -- if users have to do anything more difficult than what they do now, it will fail.

It’s difficult to formulate a response to this request (or even keep a straight face). The idea that somehow you could go from managing corporate information horribly to managing it well and have it be perceived by end users as easy is pretty astounding.

Before all the UI/UX folks out there break out the pitchforks and torches, let me explain what I mean and why.

Enterprise Content Management Isn't Dead - It's Evolving

There’s lots of talk about how Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is dead or dying. Some say it’s a vendor category coined to give a name to bloated, one-size-fits-all software products that eschewed a real understanding of user requirements in favor of a Swiss Army Knife approach that sought to be everything to everybody -- and wound up being truly useful only to a handful.

Others say that it’s a specialist creation, coined by consultants and industry talking heads to make it easier to promote their own expertise, drum up traffic for their blogs, and sell more services to clients.

Yet others say that ECM is a once-useful domain that’s outlived its usefulness. It made sense once upon a time, but the new modes of content creation, sharing and consumption have made it obsolete alongside systems of engagement and record, information lifecycle management and the rest.

Finding Common Ground with Information Governance

2014-27-May-Joint-Meeting.jpgIf you've been at an organization where compliance, IT and the business seem to speak different languages when they talk about information management, you know how difficult it is to get them all on the same page. The task is so difficult at most organizations that each typically does their own work -- blinders on -- in isolation from one or both of the other two in an effort to simply get something done. The results for the organization range from less than optimal (wasted time and money) to disastrous (smoking crater fines/penalties and massive operational disruptions).

When working with clients, I liken this state of affairs to whatever the political debate du jour is on the news -- where both sides are seemingly speaking different languages and there’s no agreement on the common ground.

The SharePoint Information Governance Problem

The SharePoint Information Governance ProblemIf you have any experience with SharePoint as a document management platform today, you know that most organizations struggle to use it effectively. You’re also likely familiar with the negative impacts that typically result from using SharePoint ineffectively: a proliferation of sites, often on a proliferation of SharePoint versions, with no clear standards on what documents should (and shouldn’t) be stored there or how, no clear guidelines for users on how to classify their documents, little to no capabilities for promoting effective information lifecycle management, little to no end user governance or oversight for things like site and document library structures, security and access settings, or document hygiene, and dozens, hundreds or even thousands of orphaned sites that, taken together, represent a digital landfill of staggering proportions.

You're Getting Information Management Wrong

You're Getting Information Management WrongSince paper free in ’93, we’ve heard that we’re on the cusp of solving the information management (IM) problem, yet time and time again we keep getting it wrong and dashing all those high hopes in the process. So what’s going on?

Top Down vs. Bottoms Up Information Management

Top Down vs. Bottoms Up Information ManagementWe've already established what makes a good information management (IM) business case from a high level, i.e., addressing meaningful business value rather than “save everyone time searching for documents.” But the devil’s in the details, so I want to dig down a bit more to give you all more specific guidance on building an effective IM business case.

The Business Case for Information Management

The Business Case for Information ManagementOther than not really understanding what information management is, the single biggest obstacle to information management at most organizations is the lack of a viable business case: if you can’t show your CXOs the money, they’re not going to support your efforts. They have a whole portfolio of projects to choose from that generate revenue, reduce costs or increase margins, so if you can’t articulate how information management does one or more of these, you stand little chance of success.

Nobody Really Cares about Information Management

Given the mind-numbing ubiquity of big data, intelligent analytics, the semantic web, blah blah blah, the title of this post may seem not only overly provocative but outright wrong. And while it definitely is the first, it most certainly is not the second.

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