AIIM Forum Europe

The Really Good Information Isn’t In ‘Content’ – It’s In Business Apps

Were you able to get to the recent, and very successful, AIIM Forum Europe in London in November? As well as the excellent stage presentations and breakouts, thedmcollaborators was able to network with some of the great and the good of the Content Services sector, and over the next few weeks, we’re going to share some of the fruits of our conversations with them. We’re starting at the top, with one of the central figures of the whole event Peggy Winton, President & CEO of AIIM itself.

Ask Peggy Winton what she sees as the biggest changes in the world of her sector – which encompasses everything from information management to the new incarnation of Document Management we’re just all getting used to calling ‘Content Services’ instead – and she’s pretty ready with some sharply-observed observations:

“Firstly, I think the biggest thing, particularly for the information governance and compliance members of our community, is that they are starting to really appreciate the need to change the conversation away from the inner workings of what a retention schedule might look like, and focus instead on what is the ultimate mission-criticality of whatever piece of the information picture they are working with.”

Sounds great, and very timely if it’s happening, too. What does that kind of realisation look like in practice? Peggy’s favourite use case here is of an AIIM member working in the insurance sector who had been chosen to be part of a project team designing an in-car safety diagnostic tool.

What happened: Peggy says it didn’t take him long to realise that if he went into that project with his governance hat on, and talked about it as a governance project, he would have completely missed the opportunity to engage with not just his external customers here, but also his internal ones, too.

“Instead, he realised that his was a very important ingredient, but really only part of a bigger picture: to keep people with families out of car accidents! 

“I think that’s the hardest thing for the folks in our community to appreciate is that, ultimately, forget all our endless talk about GDPR, other privacy regulations, whatever. The business leaders you are working for are never going to get excited about that because it’s still viewed as a cost of doing business, not something that’s going to give them that mission-critical solution. We’re finally starting to get there, and that’s a big, big change, I think.

The second seismic shift in our world Peggy’s noticed is we have finally rid ourselves of this unrealistic idea that there would be a central repository or a central system for managing all that ‘content’ we’ve been talking about. 

“AIIM research recently pointed out that the majority, 54%, of the really good information, mostly the stuff the business really cares about, the stuff to do with customers, doesn’t even live in what we would consider a dedicated content management system. 

“Where is it? it’s in the business applications. And those business applications are where it’s at. That’s where the sizzle is.

“And because it’s probably driving important processes, it’s probably very customer-facing. That’s the whole idea of true Content Services, when you think about it; content delivered to the business when they need it in order to perform a particular function.”

Finally, for Winton, the sector’s at last shaking off another dogma – cloud first. “The reality is, cloud should not be first for certain organisations… and ultimately, the users don’t care anyway. 

“They don’t care where their information lives; they just want access to it when they need it, and they want to have the same experience out in the field as if they were at home, back at the corporate mothership. 

“We need to really think about what processes work better in the cloud, then see if there is a service provider that you’re getting that particular function from better than elsewhere.

“Really, the user interface and the user experience is the only thing that matters. What that looks like in the background is a lot less important.”

thedmcollaborators editors

AIIM Forum Europe was held on the 19th of November, which built on 17 years of success of the previous show, AIIM Forum UK, but was re-modelled for 2019 to AIIM Forum Europe

AIIM is all about helping you improve your performance by transforming the way you manage your information

One thought on “The Really Good Information Isn’t In ‘Content’ – It’s In Business Apps

  1. The insurance compliance practitioner described in this post made a hugely important discovery about how to conceptualize and communicate thorny GDPR and compliance issues via-a-vis the larger business focus. This is a great example of applying Outside-In thinking instead of an Inside-Out approach. This way of looking at information and business processes is essential when focusing on external customers– and then extending that outside-in approach to internal customers is all the better.

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