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Posts Tagged ‘ECM’

Do Documents Dream of Business Processes?

11-04-2012 Markus

by Greg Leighton, PhD

As a matter of course, you expect your documents to be available to you whenever you need them. But what about those frequent periods of time between accesses, while they are “sleeping”? Is there more they can do for your organization during these idle periods?

Awareness is growing that documents and other types of unstructured data, such as emails, news feeds, multimedia clips, and social media content, represent a valuable source of information about an organization’s business processes. Various estimates suggest that as much as 80% of a modern organization’s data is unstructured. Despite this, most attention thus far has been paid to mining structured information — such as transactional data — that fits tidily into relational databases. This is partly because the rigid schemas of database tables represent less of a moving target, facilitating the development of focused mining strategies capable of exploiting structural knowledge during their search for interesting patterns.

A second contributing factor has been the ever-rising importance of unstructured data within the enterprise. While relational databases have consistently played a key role since their introduction in the 1970s, various trends over the intervening decades have contributed to grant a higher status to unstructured data. These include the introduction of document authoring software, the adoption of email and instant messaging as core business communication tools, and the recent use of social media platforms as a means for increasing brand awareness and for obtaining immediate customer feedback. In response, effective solutions for mining information from such sources are only now emerging.

Utilizing the cloud infrastructure, we’re currently developing efficient and scalable methods for gleaning valuable business knowledge from documents, as they “sleep”. While maintaining the same levels of availability and responsiveness our users have grown accustomed to, we will be able to offer the many additional benefits presented by a robust document mining solution.

The face of business is getting cloudy


 The face of business is changing as IT and cloud computing become a part of everyday vernacular in the office. The change has been slow and gradual since cloud computing first emerged some years ago, but it’s speeding up faster than ever. As recession-like economic conditions persist, companies need to adopt some cost saving measures, and harnessing the power of mobility, business process management and the cloud is just the way to do that.

In November 2011, Andrew McAfee, Principal Research Scientist and Program Director of the MIT Centre for Digital Business published an article in the Harvard Business Review. He stated that cloud computing is “a sea change – a deep and permanent shift in how computing power is generated and consumed. It’s as inevitable and irreversible as the shift from steam to electric power in manufacturing…”

Even early cloud adopters who are looking to improve business process management need to keep up-to-date with the trends in IT, because it’s undergoing constant evolution as well.

“The IT function of 2015 will bear little resemblance to its current state,” says one report. “Many activities will devolve to business units, be consolidated with other central functions such as HR and Finance, or be externally sourced.”

Cloud computing and the resulting globalizing effect means great things for India, as their outsourcing industry is booming. A story in The Globe and Mail says that business process operations (BPO) and IT operations account for 7.5 per cent of the country’s GDP and employ 2.8 million people.

“This is where the whole business world in India is heading,” says Muskan Chalwa, who trains corporate lawyers for the legal outsourcing firm Pangea3.

The WebPal software harnesses the power of the cloud by offering users the efficiency and cost-saving measures they expect from cloud software, and more. We give you control on scalability, privacy and help make sure your content is secure. Cross all types of barriers by jumping on the cloud with WebPal.

Steve Jobs makes mobile tech cool


 The late Steve Jobs has become one of the most ubiquitous individuals in information technology, and some say he has made being a geek cool. During his time as CEO of Apple Inc., he revolutionized mobile technology through his design, marketing, and creation of the iPhone, iPad and iPod. Now it has been announced by that Ashton Kutcher is set to play Jobs in an upcoming biopic, starting with his time as a hippie in the 60’s to the time he co-founded Apple.

A film starring a Hollywood heartthrob is only going to increase the fervor surrounding Mr. Jobs, in the public and in the offices of other technology companies. A recent blog on the Wall Street Journal site talked about how it is becoming more and more common for CEO’s to use the Steve Jobs biography as a roadmap to success. Prasad Thammineni, the chief executive of a file-sharing start-up called Office Drop, is being called a Steve Jobs copycat by his employees for constantly sending them passages from the book and using the Apple CEO’s catchphrases.

“Some employees are teasing me about when I’ll start wearing black turtlenecks,” says Thammineni.

Jobs was a big influence on the mobile market, which is now expanding at a rate faster than anyone could have imagined. Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems like WebPal need to incorporate mobile capabilities in their products just so they can stay relevant.

“Mobile capabilities are more important than ever for ECM vendors and their clients. Users are creating large amounts of content on their mobile devices as these devices become more sophisticated. All ECM vendors need to have the capability to bring this content within the enterprise’s control,” said George Goodall, Senior Research Analyst, Info-Tech Research Group.

WebPal connects with many of your favourite iPhone apps, as well as Android and Blackberry apps. Check out our features page for everything WebPal can do for you!

File sharing is caring


Today is Valentine’s Day, a day of sharing between loved ones; A perfect occasion to recognize how important file-sharing is to the freedom of the internet. It’s not only SOPA and PIPA that we have to worry about now, it’s about the future of file-sharing servers in the wake of the arrest of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom. The U.S. Federal Government seems to be on a rampage to bring copyright infringer’s to justice, which is already instilling fear in other established file-sharing sites, including Amazon, Dropbox, and Rapidshare.

FileSonic has already bowed to pressure after the following message appeared on their homepage:

It reads “All sharing functionality on Filesonic is now disabled. Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally.”

Mike Masnick, editor of the Techdirt blog, expressed concern about legitimate services (“who do things like de-duplification, or have legitimate backup services”) going under as a result of pressure from the law.

“If you’re running Amazon S3 or Dropbox, do you now suddenly change how you do business, just to avoid the possibility of being accused of racketeering and criminal copyright infringement? That’s worrisome.”

One file-share service that claims they will never be taken offline has recently emerged from the woodwork. Tribler was developed by researchers at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands as a way to share files without centralized servers.

“With Tribler, we have achieved zero-seconds downtime over the past six years, all because we don’t rely on shaky foundations such as DNS, web servers or search portraits,” says Tribler leader Dr. Pouwelse.

WebPal knows that file-sharing is all about content, collaboration and control. It easily enables users to share documents with other WebPal users or through email, tracks updates through an activity log and allows admins to control access to all documents.

The Internet and file-sharing go hand-in-hand. The law and the entertainment industry may have no choice but to take a leaf out of the Care Bear book and accept that sharing is caring.

Why you should want a job in the cloud


In our last post, we talked about the growth in cloud computing and the subsequent demand for skilled professionals to run cloud platforms within an enterprise. The new tech means most people interested in a job involving cloud computing are just starting to learn, leaving lots of room for those who already cloud-literate. Luckily, these opportunities aren’t limited to software developers and IT professionals.

Of course, computer specialists and programmers account for the bulk of hiring in cloud computing, but the cloud is becoming more synonymous with business efficiency every day. As a result, employees at all levels of enterprise are being asked to jump into the cloud.

According to Forbes, job descriptions with cloud requirements are increasingly coming to include marketing managers, sales managers, customer service reps, and cargo and freight agents. The American city with the highest demand is San Francisco (no surprise), followed by Seattle, Washington DC, New York and San Jose.

Employers have posted 10,000 job ads in the past 90 days that include requirements in cloud computing.

The lesson to be derived from this? Educate yourself on cloud computing even if you aren’t a developer; even if you aren’t sure how big the market is going to get; even if you already have a job. It will definitely come in handy down the road.


Your document management system check list


Content management is the newest and fastest-moving space in the IT market right now. There’s no doubt that the industry grew in leaps and bounds in 2011, and businesses are increasingly jumping at the chance to get a piece of the pie. An AIIM report on the State of the Industry 2011 stated that 16 per cent of the businesses surveyed said that “they have completed an enterprise-wide enterprise CMS deployment… with a further 29% actively progressing toward it.”

As you’re coming up with your own personal New Year’s Resolutions in the coming weeks, now is a good time to start thinking about your resolutions for your document management system strategy. Steve Weissman, principal analyst at Boston-based content and information management consulting firm Holly Group, has some great tips for newbies to the content management world.

“A lot of organizations rush to system selection,” said Weissman. “They may buy something that’s workable, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best fit.”

Translation: take your time when deciding what to use and how to implement it. Weissman suggests taking an inventory of the organization’s systems and content management capabilities as well as information repositories. Also, figure out who in your company is using the software to determine who will be affected by any changes to the system. To make sure the entire team is on board, set up regular IT governance committee meetings to address communication issues and training plans.

Finally, don’t try to do everything at once.

“It’s hard to determine how long [an ECM implementation] will take, but to do any kind of credible job, you’re talking about a quarter at least,” says Weissman.

Predictions for cloud computing and ECM in 2012


2011 was the year of cloud and document management applications, as the services and security matured. Document management and enterprise content management (ECM) systems are growing at a rate much faster than the rest of the economy. With 2012 just around the corner, IT research analyst for Forrester Research, James Staten, has a few predictions for the cloud market in 2012.

“[The cloud] has entered the awkward teenage years,” says Staten. “The next few years will be a painful period of rebellion, defiance, exploration, experimentation and undoubtedly explosive creativity.

“We don’t become who we are without surviving the teenage years.”

The model of the cloud is based on the fact that information put on the cloud is accessible anywhere in the world at any time. However, several countries have legislation underway that would ban cloud services not resident to that country. People in support of the cloud are going to have to battle such motions because, as Staten points out, “The internet knows no bounds and neither should the cloud.”

Staten also points out that there are far more job opportunities for cloud experts than there are qualified candidates. Both HP and EMC launched cloud training and certification courses this year, and some IT professors at Stanford University opened up their courses for the world to participate with no tuition cost to help solve this issue.

The next move for document management will be Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). Although similar to ECM, it covers more than just document and content retention and legal obligations. ECM vendors will have to address ILM more “holistically” if they want to stay ahead.

What do you think is in store for cloud and document management services in 2012? Let us know if the comment section below.

Government 2.0: BC government moves their document management practices to the cloud


Corporations can’t seem to get enough of the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software market, it seems. The International Data Corporation announced this week that “worldwide document solutions software revenues will grow from $3.4 million in 2010 to $5.5 billion in 2015.” Now the Web 2.0 movement has inspired the provincial government of British Columbia to ramp up their IT and document management systems. Welcome to Government 2.0.

“This strategy sets out a vision for how the BC Public Service will bridge the apparent gap between the complexity of government and the need for more accessible services to citizens,” states a report on the new program. A major part of the new program will incorporate ECM in order to address the state of “chaos” that currently pervades document management in government on every level. A government report on document management practices notes that there are substantial risks and liabilities to not having important documents readily accessible, as well as retaining unnecessary documents.

Besides being a security risk, the lack of centralized content management is costly and inefficient. “White collar workers will spend anywhere from 30 to 40 per cent of their time this year managing documents… the province could nominally investing $450 million annual to manage content,” says the report.

Document management isn’t a new concern for the BC government, the report goes on to say. Whatever previous attempts were made to institute centralized document management have resulted in silos and limited access. An ECM initiative that exists in the cloud would enable more accountability, information sharing and transparency.

This adoption means great things for ECM, as they plan on creating a platform that is multi-faceted:

“ECM (as it first emerged in the IT space) was an umbrella term to include: records management, document management, digital asset management, web content management, XML content management, collaboration tools and social media tools… Today ECM is at a cross roads, [because content management] is too broad and no one vendor does all these things well.”

Government 2.0 plans to address those issues.

This is just one of many revisions planned for summer 2011, and Government 2.0 will turn BC’s IT focus to a “citizen at the centre” approach, as well as the consolidation of their various platforms.

There’s only one more week until the Launch Event, and it’s sure to be an exciting platform to discuss any cloud, document management or enterprise IT issues that you want to know about. To register for the event that will be held on November 29th at the ING Direct Café on Yonge Street, follow this link.

Document Management for Your Business


There is a lot a company can do with a good document management system. If you look at the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and the Business Process Management (BPM) market analytics, you can see this is a growing industry; in 2009, the ECM market grew by 5.1 per cent, in 2010 it grew another 7.6 per cent and the Gartner Institute estimates this growth will continue at a rate of 11.4 per cent into 2015.

First, we are going to try to define what ECM and BPM entails, although this can be tricky as its usage and implementation is multi-faceted. We’ll start with ECM because it’s slightly less complicated: according to Wikipedia, Enterprise Content Management “is a formalized means of organizing and storing an organization’s documents, and other content, that relate to the organization’s processes.” Business Process Management is defined as a “holistic management approach focused on aligning all aspects of an organization with the wants and needs of clients.” These are broad descriptions, but that just means that the space is filled with endless opportunities.

If your company has a training or promotional video lying around that none of your employees have seen, or documents you want shared with multiple departments, ECM software can help. AJ Hyland, President and CEO for Hyland Software, commented that “ECM is growing for a reason – it’s very relevant to helping today’s organizations meet their productivity goals. But we believe the most effective ECM solutions are more than just relevant. They promote the meaningful use of content throughout an organization, and do so with a balance of focus and flexibility.”

Meanwhile BPM software’s time is now, according to The Huffington Post. This is because it aligns IT with business needs, reduces costs and optimizes operational efficiencies, as well as increases productivity. What’s most exciting about it is that the biggest pushers for BPM are Generation Y employees within an organization, rather than the IT staff. They’re tech savvy and want to adopt technology that allows them to do their jobs more effectively.

ECM and BPM, especially when they exist on a cloud server, can assist in breaking down silos within a large organization, facilitate innovative ideas and make a corporation more efficient. This is becoming more and more important, as Ryerson professor of entrepreneurship and strategy development Steve Gedeon, points out: “The standard things that show up on a balance sheet or financial statement are becoming increasingly unimportant when assessing the overall value of an organization…” To innovate, you have to look at new ways of doing things.

Have questions regarding document management and how to make your company more productive and efficient using ECM or BPM software? Make sure you come to the Launch Event on November 29th at the ING Direct Cafe.