Monday, March 3, 2014

The Big Idea - Content Governance is Coming of Age

image Content is NOT king, Context is!

Knowing you have content is good. Knowing where your content is located is better. Knowing how your content relates to the overall organizational goals and business objectives is critical. That relationship is the context. Where context can mean the difference of winning a lawsuit, getting paid, or even staying in business. Context is King!

Keeping all the elements in check, aka Applying Governance, is going to be more and more critical and will involve more and more SharePoint. The partners that are doing this today have a leg up. There will be many more partner opportunities to extend their solution expertise with SharePoint as the foundation.

So, what's the Big Idea?

Governance is one of those over used works … like Big Data, Cloud, Social and Mobile (Sound like any platform providers we know?). Governance is one of the three most overused words in the SharePoint ecosystem. More on that later.

SharePoint, the product, is ubiquitous. In the world I live in … there is a significant SharePoint component, but NOT an exclusive SharePoint bent. There is a need to manage both the systems (the pipes) and the content (the documents) that flow within said systems.

More and more we are seeing SharePoint become the place to "Surface Information" --- which I think is SharePoint's Destiny. Which I would have to assume Microsoft LOVES. Because it validates the model Jeff Teper and team set out 10+ years ago to create a "point" where everything can be "shared"

SharePoint becomes the Center of the Universe …

Mobile is ubiquitous, cars drive themselves and phones without wires are used everywhere.

But … Who's Minding the Store?

Someone needs to provide access. Control access. Secure access. Any Place, Any Device and Any Time.

Enter Technical Governance --- Insuring the logins work, that the data is secure, that the means to enter, view or extract said data is fast. How does content get moved around? Can sites be moved en masse? How does one insure the content stored in one place is the same (bit-for-bit) as the content moved? Does all of the original content get transferred? And if not, how does the translation from one format to another affect legality? (Will it stand up in court?)

But wait … there's more

Someone needs to vouch for WHAT is flowing through the pipes that have been so meticulously groomed and prepared by the Technical Governance solutions.

Enter Content Governance --- Insuring the right documents are being captured with the right meta-data to describe it. Insuring there are processes in place to make it as easy and predictable as possible. Also, providing a mechanism to insure said content has a data lifecycle place in place. For example, if the lifespan of a document is 75 years … what tools will be available in 75 years to insure the content can be opened, read and reviewed. (Will it stand up in court?)

  The term "documents" is inclusive of both physical and electronic content. It also includes all the associated metadata.

Why Records Managers that know SharePoint can have jobs for life

I have said this many times and have spoken about it at ARMA and AIIM events. RM'S are an increasingly critical element to every business. They have the best interest of the company at heart and can be the voice of reason and the safety blanket in challenging times. They understand what the court system calls "a record" and will help the company set up policies and procedures to manage records and non-records. They understand the concept of Data Rot (think long term retention policies).

SNAGHTML121028d9Records Managers know three things
… In exceeding detail

  1. The People
  2. The Processes
  3. Where the bodies are buried

What does it all mean?

The three most overused words in the SharePoint ecosystem are #1 "SharePoint" itself … which we will hear less and less of in 2014. And, the two terms Governance and Compliance. Which we will, and we should, continue to hear more and more in 2014 and beyond.

Before you get all up in arms over the word "SharePoint" being used less and less … think about this. For close to 15 years Microsoft has done a masterful jib at getting everyone talking about SharePoint the product. In 2014 and beyond people will replace the word SharePoint with what the product does. The solutions the product enables. We'll hear about HR solutions, Accounts Payable systems, Telematics deployments, etc.

The reason you'll hear more about Governance and Compliance is because these are two of the critical voids the product known as SharePoint is filling. Legacy ECM are being phased out for many reasons. The product known as SharePoint is filling that void. The partners with solutions built on the product known as SharePoint are building solutions that span every industry and can be delivered on-premises, in the cloud and in the most common hybrid deployments.

Putting it all Together

Partners hold the key. Partners have the Subject Matter Expertise (SME). Partners have close relationships with the customers. And, I think Microsoft realizes this too. I expect we'll see more of an open embrace from Microsoft in the coming weeks and months leading up to the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference this July un Washington DC. With a new CEO in Satay Nadella, a new Channel Chief in Phil Sorgen, and a new set of product offerings to empower better communication, collaboration and Content Governance.

The Maturation of Content Governance, also known as Lifecycle Management, is giving rise to a whole new set of partners. It is also giving existing partners the opportunity to grow their business in ways that were not possible just a few years ago.

Image Credit: BuzzTalkMonitor

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Jeff is a expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He is an international speaker and writer on the Intersection of People and Process in Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing. He is a contributing author to Elite Daily and to the Personal Branding Blog. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax, Kodak and Winshuttle. Currently he is the Director of Strategic Alliances and Gimmal.

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