Box Announces Governance – Another Step Towards #ECMnext


mis-megaphoneSo Box came out and announced Box Governance this week. For those of you thinking that Box is just one of the surfeit of file sharing providers on the planet, think again. Box has been steadfast in stating that they are providing content management and this week’s announcement is further proof of that.

Box Governance provides three important capabilities: 1) Retention Management; 2) Content Security Policies (really should have something about “sensitive information” in the name); 3) Defensible eDiscovery. While having these capabilities available is in and of itself a major step forward, it’s also important to note that organizations that choose to deploy Box can now claim compliance with a number of government and industry regulations and standards (e.g.: PII, FINRA, SOX, SEC 17a-4). However, the most important thing about this announcement, in my opinion, is that it serves to remove additional barriers to including Box in the conversation when talking about Enterprise Content Management vendors (pay attention Gartner, Forrester, IDC, et al). Coupled with Box’s Enterprise Key Management (my post on the topic) announcement earlier this year, organizations relying on FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) to exclude Box from consideration are losing rationale for doing so. Security and information governance are what separates true managed content from just another shared drive, and Box has them. Bleat all you want about cloud not being secure and cloud content repositories being unmanaged messes, it’s not working anymore.

Since BoxWorks last September (my thoughts) Box has made a number of feature additions, announcements, integrations, and alliances that are moving it closer to being able to deliver the right balance of System of Record and System of Engagement. At this point it’s still a little ugly and cumbersome for administrators to configure the backend to deliver the various governance, workflow, and security bits to work properly, but that’s what the team at Box Consulting is paid to help with. Those paid to worry about security, legal, regulatory, and audit have less to worry about now than a few months ago. From a content consumer/contributor perspective it’s all pretty slick and that’s what it’s all about.

It’s no coincidence that a white paper I wrote for Digital Clarity Group was released yesterday. The paper is about the next generation of ECM (#ECMnext) and how Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) platforms will provide it. We’d (Box, DCG, me) love to get your thoughts on the paper. Feel free to reach out to any of us (you can reach me via email at chris.walker@phigsimc.com as I am no longer with DCG) to rant or rave. There’s no data collection, fees, marketing gates or other intrusive nonsense to get the paper, so download The Next Generation of Enterprise Content Management to your heart’s content.

Image taken from http://ontheedge.dezignstuff.com/survey-ends-today/1404/mis-megaphone

The Metamorphosis of Enterprise Content Management


ButterfliesRegardless of what you’ve been hearing, Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is not dead. For years ECM has been harangued as being overly cumbersome, overly expensive, overly difficult, and underwhelming when it came to delivering benefits. That’s all about to change…

The manner in which ECM is delivered is going to change. Taking a cue from what consumers have come to expect in terms of the technology they use for personal reasons, a subset of Enterprise File Sync and Share (EFSS) vendors, led by Box, are emerging as purveyors of ECMnext – the next generation of Enterprise Content Management platforms. The focus is on how and why people create, consume, and share content, supported by a foundation that provides the security and governance required in today’s digital business environment.

This whitepaper explores the short-comings of legacy ECM platforms, and how ECMnext vendors can step up and deliver what we’ve wanted out of ECM all along. While there’s still a ways to go for ECMnext platforms to be able to completely replace legacy ECM platforms, the basic building blocks are in place and the roadmaps are pointing in the right direction.

You can download the whitepaper directly from Box (no registration required).

If you need a little more evidence that ECM is changing, take a look at Box’s announcement about their governance functionality: Introducing Box Governance – Delivering Control and Compliance in the Cloud.

If you’d like additional insight, this 15 minute podcast from February 2015 features Connie Moore and Chris Walker of Digital Clarity Group discussing EFSS and ECM.

Image by Luna sin Estrella, used under Creative Commons 2.0.

Wake Up! ARMA Canada


Alarm-ClockI just spent the last few days (May 25th – 27th) at the ARMA Canada conference in Calgary. As you’d expect it was great to get together with people that I typically only engage with online. But that’s not the reason I go through the effort and expense of attending. I come to this and other conferences to learn and see what’s new, and maybe make some new connections (that whole networking thing). Unless there’s something really compelling (there wasn’t, for me) I do much of my learning on the trade show floor rather than by attending sessions. I try to figure out what’s new, innovative, and exciting by talking to the vendors and attendees.

  • What’s new? Other than RSD’s first appearance (I think) at ARMA Canada, nothing really.
  • What’s innovative? Nothing really.
  • What’s exciting? Nothing really.

The problem seems to be that the Records Management community is not evolving with the times. Sure, they say “information governance”, but I’m not convinced they know what it means or what the implications are. They talk about social media, but do they use it (there was actually a session during which they were taught to tweet). They talk about cloud but then do nothing about it other than give in to the boogie man prognostications. Shit! Even the younger RM folks are sounding like the older ones who are close to retiring.

Based on what I saw and heard at the conference, I hold no optimism that the state of Records and Information Management will join the 21st century any time soon. RIM professionals are complaining about not being given the dues and respect they deserve (and they DO deserve it) but they have to take it, not wait for it to be handed out. ARMA Canada as an association is not helping. They’ve had pretty much the same content, speakers, and vendors since I went to my first conference in 2008. Yes, the names have changed, but you know what I mean.

I’m not sure how, but ARMA Canada needs to freshen things up a bit. Dump the vendors that do nothing but SharePoint stuff or physical records management; that stuff hasn’t changed since the shelf was invented. Attract vendors that represent the new way of doing business and are influencing and enabling digital transformation of business. Solicit speakers that want to do more than talk about how to build another functional file plan or how to implement an ECM platform. ARMA Canada needs a slate of speakers and vendors that represent a balance of what today’s realities are, and what the very near future will hold for managing information.

I’ll wait until I see what the agenda for next year’s conference is, but if it’s pretty much like this year’s this is likely my last ARMA Canada conference for a while. And if things don’t change fast, the RIM profession will be further marginalized, and I’ll likely contribute to the further marginalization; not because we dislike RIM and RIM professionals, but because the rest of us have to move forward to succeed.

Just to add a little positivity …

Over dinner with a friend of mine I got a good look at Oracle’s Document Cloud (I think that’s the name). It’s Oracle’s offering to the EFSS (I HATE that name) market. It’s really, really slick. The version I saw (not sure if it’s generally available yet) looks as easy to use as Box (which is what I use for my business). I know a couple of things about where Oracle is going with it, but not a ton. One thing that I do really like about it is that it sits on top of Oracle Web Center Content so all the security, metadata, workflow, and retention are taken care of. By the way, for those of you who care; Oracle’s Web Center Content is likely the best kept secret amongst ECM platforms. It’s a secret because Oracle really sucks at marketing it.

A few people asked me about the PHIGs (Principles of Holistic Information Governance) that I put together a couple of years ago; you can download them here.

Image taken from http://www.a-tips-of-life.com/tag/awake/

Cats, Dogs, and Information Management


Coleen Head ShotThe lady in the picture is my wife. I love her. I have loved her for many, many years. My wife is, shall we say, less than proficient with modern communications technology (i.e.: she’s tech-feeble). Despite how I make my living I decided I’d put up with her technical short-comings, ‘cause, love. One of the reasons for her lack of technical prowess is that she actually hates, hates, HATES social media. She’s seen some of the negative impacts that it can have, and really doesn’t have a need for it in her personal life. Well, that kinda changed recently.

For our anniversary last year I surprised her with her first smart phone (she used to have a crappy little LG thing that she could simply talk and text with). Anyways, in addition to the texting and talking, she was into using her phone for email and the camera. For most anything else internet related she used her laptop. Until last week …

I’m not really sure how or why, but she decided to sign up for Google + last week. So Google + isn’t the world’s #1 social network, but hey, she’s getting with the program. Now I should mention that we have pets; 3 dogs and 5 cats. We also have 3 kids. My wife has many, many, many pictures on her phone. Very few of them, percentage wise, are of humans. So as any slightly crazy cat lady would do, she joins some cat and dog related communities. And so begins my consternation …

I’ve been on Google + for a few years, though I haven’t really been engaged on it. I also recently killed off one of my profiles and just started to pay attention to my other one. At last count I have a staggering 1,325 profile views; the content I post is almost exclusively related to information management. She has 11,889 views over the last week+. Her content is almost exclusively cats, with the occasional dog pic thrown in. I think she’s also posted a couple pictures of her human family members. She takes a pic with her phone and posts to Google + with the app. And because she wears glasses (shhh!) and her phone is an iPhone 5C, she finds the process a little cumbersome. So I set up Box for her on her phone and laptop and I got all her pictures synced for her. She can now post as much as she wants, more easily than a few days ago. And I have inadvertently contributed to the growing proliferation of friggin’ cat pics on the internet.

Hey, I’m happy my wife is finding this stuff fun and all, but my Google + feed (or whatever it’s called) is filling up with cat pics because I follow my wife. I know there wasn’t anything about social media reciprocity included in the vows when we got married in 1988, but there probably is now and I’m not going to jeopardize things by un-following or blocking her. So I will put up with the good natured jibes about her stuff be more popular than mine (I think I’m being out +1’d to the order of 7,347:1), and with seeing cats in my feed.

It’s cool that she’s using social media and content management (though she doesn’t really know it) as a way to entertain herself. But what she and the rest of the cat-loving hoards don’t understand is that without information management, those places where they hang out and go all gaga over their cat pics would not be possible. Ironic, isn’t it? Without information architecture and metadata, all those cat pictures and videos would be mixed in with, heaven forfend, dog pictures and videos.

Oh, and I’m learning more about Google + than I really wanted to.

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