On Tuesday I attended EMC Inform 2008, my first event as a representative of IPP Consulting. I had been warned that the agenda was a little light on the business end of enterprise content management, however with the opportunity to hear a key note from EMC‘s social software evangelist, Chuck Hollis, I thought it worth the effort.
I ended up attending just two of the business stream sessions. One of those sessions was on Building an Information Management Strategy, which was a little surprising in a way because of its emphasis on building that strategy using Microsoft Office and SharePoint, rather than Documentum. The Microsoft representative positioned the Microsoft story in the context of EMC by explaining that the original success of Microsoft Office was not because it was the best tool in the market, but because it packaged up a range of related but different functionality into common user interface. The argument continues that Microsoft SharePoint extends that familiar packaging, which makes it easier to introduce to users. And now SharePoint and Office can provide a user-friendly common interface into many other applications, including Documentum.
One of the take away later in the presentation was some guidance on how to implement an information management strategy. Taken from my notes, these are the 10 tips or steps they suggested:
- You need a vision and roadmap, based on achieving identified business outcomes (classically they are to increase profit, decrease costs or reduce risk). Remember, it shouldn’t be about the technology.
- You need one information management strategy, but will have many projects.
- You need a scalable infrastructure – growing too big, too fast is often a reason for failure.
- Build the solution to support specific business processes or needs.
- Use an iterative enhancement strategy.
- Don’t forget about information management lifecycle needs (in this context they mean records management etc, not data storage although of course the better you manage information the faster this becomes an issue).
- You need a governance board and policies.
- Measure success.
- Make user adoption and communication a priority.
- Connect and support users.
I would also add another to this list – and this was mentioned later in the presentation – and that is, you need a methodology to guide the implementation (and if you don’t have a methodology, then find a vendor or service provider who does).
Overall this isn’t a bad list, although I still think there are couple of issues missing – for example, enterprise search. The point about methodology is important too, but also it needs to be the right methodology. However, if we think about the reality of implementing information management in practice, let me put this question to you:
- What happens if your information management strategy has really been based on a particular technology but doesn’t actually meet business requirements?
- How do you (and should you) create an information management strategy that isn’t based on the technology?
Let me know what you think.