Joe Shepley, 2017 Contributor of the Year

Joe Shepley has a way with a provocative headline. Case in point, "Will Office 365 Eat Your Lunch"? And while provocative headlines frequently lure readers in without delivering any substance, Shepley delivers. He draws on over 13 years of operational and technical experience to inform the opinions and prognostications he shares in his articles. Disagree with him? All the better, he's always up for debate in the comments.  

Shepley traveled a circuitous path to his current role as vice president and practice lead at Doculabs. Following receipt of his PhD in History of Christianity, he was a college professor teaching critical approaches to art. Something tells me he brought some of those same critical powers along when he moved into the information management world.

Watching ECM Move Into Content Services 

What’s your proudest accomplishment — professional or personal — of 2017?

I’ve been building Doculabs Information Management for Information Security practice since 2015 and it crossed the line to 50 percent of our engagements in 2017. It’s exciting to work so hard over three years to create something and see it come to fruition. Personally, it’s a challenge to try to be a good husband to my wife of 17 years and a good parent to four young kids (10, 6, 4 and 2) while being on the road every week — it feels good to be able to do that and also get the chance to do work that I love.

What unrelated skill or piece of knowledge has helped you with your current work?

I got my PhD in History of Christianity in 2000, and writing a dissertation requires concentrated work day to day with little oversight or check ins with your advisor and readers — so you need to keep focused with almost no structure. Building a consulting practice is very similar: lots of day to day tasks that need to get done, the results of which won't be known for months (or years). Hard to stay focused every day in that environment. 

What conversation would you like to see your industry have in 2018?

I’d like to see more practitioners, industry organizations and firms talking about the importance of Information Management for enterprise risk management. Corporate information poses grave security risks that are far more consequential than just Records Management compliance or Content Services excellence. It’s high time we all started looking at Information Management through this lens.

What trend or story will you be following in 2018?

The evolution of ECM into Content Services and the impact it’s having (and will continue to have) on the vendor landscape — and therefore on how organizations must evolve their technology portfolios in response to manage information properly.

If you could give 20-year-old you some advice, what would it be?

Do what you love, what you’re really passionate about and worry less (or not at all) about where your career is going. Following your passion and enjoying work means you’ve already reached the highest career goal you can achieve — the rest will follow.

Speed round!

  1. Name one tech trend you were wrong about. That SharePoint wouldn’t be an enterprise class Records Management solution. I know it’s not there today, but given where Microsoft is going with the Office 365 stack, in the near future, it will be good enough for managing corporate records (at least inside of O365). Time will tell what solutions will lead the market in the next three to five years for non-O365 content.
  2. If you could switch places with someone else for a day, who would it be? Anthony Bourdain. That guy seems to live a pretty interesting life (and to eat and drink pretty well in some interesting places all over the world).
  3. What one song always puts you in a good mood? "What’s Going On," from Donny Hathaway Live!