In Part 1, I discussed “Systems of Engagement”, the main theme of John Mancini’s presentation at the recent AIIM Boot Camp, where Ergo exhibited in the ‘Expert Corner’. In this article I’ll summarize the second part of John’s presentation, which explored the five points (or demands) in AIIM’s e-book, #OccupyIT: A Technology Manifesto for Cloud, Mobile and Social Era (the #OccupyIT Manifesto or the Manifesto). They are: 1) commit to the cloud, 2) mobilize everything, 3) make the business social, 4) digitize anything that moves, and 5) prepare for extreme information management. Each point is discussed below.
Point # 1 – Commit to the cloud
Recognizing that large, often proprietary, systems are costly to purchase/develop, implement, maintain and upgrade, the #OccupyIT Manifesto calls for organizations to find ways to save on legacy systems of record and find new, more cost-effective methods of system deployment for both systems of record and systems of engagement. Further, it calls for “monolithic enterprise solutions” to be broken down into more ‘app-like’ solutions which can be quickly deployed in the cloud.
The cloud is hailed by AIIM as the platform capable of achieving the necessary cost reductions and effectiveness improvements. The primordial importance of the cloud is illustrated in the following excerpt from Chapter 5 of the Manifesto, “Point one . . . demands the cloud be a part of every IT decision, not an afterthought. Business must take advantage of the cloud to become faster, more agile and more innovative – and IT must figure out how to make it work, not figure out how to keep the status quo.”
The Manifesto also contends that the time is right to commit to the cloud by citing such statistics as a global survey of 3,000 CIOs conducted by IBM which found that 60% of organizations are ready to embrace cloud computing over the next five years as a means of growing their businesses and achieving competitive advantage – that’s nearly twice the number of CIOs who said they would utilize cloud in the previous 2009 study.
Point # 2 – Mobilize everything
Or another way of expressing Point # 2 . . . Organizations need to redefine content delivery and process automation to take advantage of mobile devices and mobile workforces.
Why do organizations need to do that? Because with the widespread adoption of smartphones and tablet PCs, customers expect to use mobile devices to interact with companies and employees increasingly expect to use multiple devices and locations to interact with enterprise systems and the data/information they contain. Mobile computing is the foundation of systems of engagement and also shapes expectations for future interaction with systems of record.
But many organizations are struggling with the idea of mobile computing given the technology’s control issues in terms of security, privacy, etc. Mr. Mancini illustrated the lack of adoption by referring to statistics such as more than 3/4 of organizations do not have mobile processes, 1/3 of organizations have not optimized their websites for mobile devices, and only 47% of organizations allow personal devices to access company data.
The Manifesto recognizes the control challenges of mobile computing, but also emphasizes the need for organizations to embrace this technology in order to better serve their customers, satisfy their employees, etc. That recognition is illustrated in the following excerpt from Chapter 5: “While we can’t ignore the control factor, we need to respond aggressively to the opportunities afforded by mobile. Point two . . . demands that mobile be a part of every IT decision, not an afterthought. It demands that we invest in the required technical skills, which are different from traditional IT skills, to take advantage of mobile. It demands that we set our focus on where our customers will be three years from now in terms of mobile, and figure out how our IT strategies and systems will meet them when they get there.”
Point # 3 – Make the business social
Many employees are avid users of social media tools in their personal lives and there’s a growing expectation to use those tools for business purposes. Younger employees in particular expect social media tools to be part of the workplace and are seeking both mobility and flexibilty at work. This trend is demonstrated in statistics such as the following: 45% of young professionals would accept a lower-paying job with more flexibility rather than a higher paying job with less, one in four your professionals say the asbsence of a remote access option for their jobs would influence their job decision, and 30% of young professionals feel that the ability to work remotely with a flexible schedule is a ‘right’.
But arguing that social media shouldn’t just be an ad-on in the workplace, Mr. Mancini stressed that organizations need to integrate social technologies into business processes rather than create stand-alone social networks. Therefore, the objective should be to make the business itself ‘social’.
The Manifesto correctly illustrates that the widespread adoption of social media may not be easily achievable. Many organizations have banned social media while others have been very slow to adopt it. But there’s a glimmer of hope . . . remember how e-mail and Internet access were viewed when they were first being assessed by organizations? AIIM believes that in many organizations, both IT and the business view social media in the same negative way that e-mail and Internet access were initially viewed, that is, as technologies that will result in “the escape of corporate secrets and the death knell of employee productivity”. While that may have been true in some isolated situations, employees were directed in their use of e-mail and Internet via corporate policy and training, and those two technologies are now indispensible workplace tools. AIIM contends that will ultimately be the fate of social networking in business.
Point # 4 – Digitize anything that moves
The thrust of this point is that paper/manual business processes are ‘bad’ while electronic/digitized processes are ‘good’. To support greater use of electronic/digitized processes, Mr. Mancini cited various AIIM statistics such as the > $9 US median cost to process a paper invoice, that 1/3 of small businesses and 22% of the largest businesses have yet to adopt any paper-free processes, and that only 14% of processes that could be paper free actually are.
While he didn’t refer to paper as the ‘enemy’ during his presentation, the following excerpt from Chapter 5 of the Manifesto makes AIIM’s position crystal clear: “Paper is the enemy. Our processes are engulfed in analog sludge. The technologies involved in addressing this are not terribly complex, nor are they particularly new fangled. They are mainstream and proven. It’s time that these core process improvement projects move to the front burner and actually get implemented organization-wide.”
While I’m an advocate for moving to electronic/digitized processes, it was frustrating to see AIIM – once again – advocate a broad-brush approach which fails to consider that not all paper/manual business processes warrant conversion.
Point # 5 – Prepare for extreme information management
While I’m sure very few people in the audience needed convincing, Mr. Mancini cited various statistics that reinforce the need for organizations to better prepare for information management on an entreprise scale because systems of engagement will dramatically increase both the volume and complexity of infomation that must be managed . For example, IDC estimates the amount of information will grow 44X by 2020 and AIIM’s research shows that of the 66% of organizations that have an Information Management Stratgegy, only 22% of them use it.
The Manifesto draws a distinction between ‘high-value information’ in systems of record where we can intrinsically appreciate the information’s value to the organization and ‘low-value-density’ information (both structured and unstructured) in systems of engagement which tends to have value in the aggregate or as it is interpreted. Consequently, the Manifesto stresses that the ways in which records/data/information were traditionally managed (i.e. in systems of record) aren’t supportable in systems of engagement, and that we need a new information management paradigm.
The need for a radical change in IM practices is illustrated in Chapter 5 of the Manifesto as follows: “Point five . . . demands that we acknowledge the old world of paper-driven records management thinking is dead; and we need IT’s help in mitigating the risks associated with the death of what was once a nice predictable world. We also desperately need to get more value out of all the “stuff” we are gathering — and use this intelligence to improve customer responsiveness and anticipate and predict where the business will go next.”
Mr. Mancini’s presentation provided a thought-provoking introduction to the AIIM Boot Camp which was advertised as offering 5 steps to victory over manual processes. The premise of the day was ‘give us 5 hours and we’ll give you 5 steps to victory over enemy # 1 – paper”. The battle plan included ways to:
- Get rid of paper and automate document-centric activities
- Cut costs and reduce bottlenecks by moving business processes to the cloud
- Get content and information ready for mobile access and engagement
- Communicate and collaborate across geography and time zones with social technologies
- Make better decisions by exploring analytics and new opportunities in the world of big data
Note: Mr. Mancini also announced the publication of a companion e-book to the #OccupyIT Manifesto. The new e-book is entitled, Shift: Moving the Entreprise Forward in the Cloud, Mobile and Social Era. To download the companion e-book, click here.
Also note: Mr. Mancini’s presentation at other fall 2012 Boot Camps as well as many of the education presentations are available from AIIM. You can access those presentations here.