I thought I would share my 7 key takeaways from the Content Services keynote at the recent OpenText Enterprise World event (Disclaimer: OpenText paid my way). 

1 - Every organization as a starting point — and it's unique to that organization.

Fiona Smith Hale, Chief Knowledge Officer and Ingenium (they run three national museums in Canada) summarized where they started — back in 2005.

  • Information handling was inconsistent across the organization

  • No tools to manage diverse content streams

  • No business rules or standards for creating and maintaining documents

Each journey is unique. As as poor as many organizations are in defining where they are going, an equal or greater number have no idea of where they are starting.

2 - The change management issues associated with embedding information management (IM) as a discipline (vs. an ad hoc bolt-on) are not complex, but they are significant.

Fiona Smith Hale outlined these key elements in their journey:

  • Create an overarching policy framework for IM.

  • Adopt a phased approach to implementation.

  • Create an IM community of practice to share experiences and best practices.

  • Focus on integrating content capabilities with business practices of other departments.

  • Use Service Level Agreements to standardize dissemination of content capabilities across the organization.

  • Foster a culture of collaboration and openness.

  • Train, train, train

3 - The Digital Workplace and Digital Business are not the same; focus on how they connect.

The Digital Workplace is focused on content creation and collaboration tools (for example, Microsoft Outlook, Teams, Office 365 groups). Digital Business tends to be focused on processes, governance and specific lead business applications (for example, SAP, Salesforce, SuccessFactors). In far too many instances, a lack of integration between the two creates the mind-numbing need for knowledge workers to become human system integrators. 

I rather like the concept raised during the session of the “orchestration” of product, process, and content capabilities. And as a former (bad) jazz baritone sax player, to stretch the analogy a but more, I think at the core of a content services mindset is a focus on delivering these capabilities on demand, in context. Like a jazz improvisation.

4 - Organizations need a common way to understand how individual business processes connect to form broader customer journeys.

One way of simply describing this that I rather like (and have used in some of my own presentations) is the notion of business workspaces, each containing four elements — 1) data, 2) people, 3) content, and 4) tasks.

Again stretching my jazz metaphor, these are like the chord changes that guide an individual improvisation to connect with all of the other players; without it, jazz can sound like a lot of noise. Information silos create organizational noise and friction; disconnected SaaS applications driven by well-intentioned line of business executives create noise that confounds even the most well-intentioned mapping of customer journeys.

5 - As information chaos rises, the value of information declines. Its value also declines over time, but -- spoiler alert -- its risk does not.

Nick Patience from 451 Research made this core point — a good one that I’ve made myself wearing both Content Results and AIIM hats. He also shared research highlighting the dysfunction created by a failure to take this chaos seriously:

  • Fewer than 4 in 10 employees routinely feel "very productive" at work.

  • Only 9% say “the work itself” is the best thing about their job.

  • 37% spend "a great deal/considerable" time daily on email/IM.

  • Only 35% are very satisfied with the mix of applications to do their work.

6 - GDPR is just the tip of the iceberg in a wave of looming privacy regulation (although that is admittedly a pretty mixed metaphor).

Consider these recent national regulations beyond GDPR. They point to the need to adopt an automated and strategic approach to information governance. Organizations at scale that think they can manage all of this with a hodgepodge of manual patches are kidding themselves.

  • EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

  • Brazilian Data Protection Regulation (LGPD)

  • Argentinian Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL)

  • Japanese Act on Protection of Personal Information (APPI)

And more on the way.

7 - Like it or not, information management at scale is by definition a hybrid task. 

Enough has been said — and not enough done — about this. But I rather like this graphic below to illustrate the complexities:


And in case you missed them, here are two other posts I wrote about the event: