The NextGen Information Professional

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“Skills have become the currency of 21st Century economies.” — Andreas Schleicher, OECD Education Vice President

I remember reading this blog by David Ferriero on how to prepare the next generation of information professionals. In this blog posting, David summarizes a keynote presentation, he gave at Association of Library and Information School Education (ALISE) meeting. He also included a link to the full text of his talk.

In this talk he mentioned the skills following skills for next generation information professionals: the ability to deliver results, to communicate with impact, to influence others, project management.

Here’s my favorite part from his speech:

The ability to demonstrate business savvy. Applying business principles, methods, and processes (e.g., ROI, cost-benefit analysis) to solve problems. Driving business results by planning and prioritizing activities consistent with organizational goals, using data and evaluating the costs, benefits, and impact on others when making business decisions.

The above mentioned blog is three years old, which begs the question what skills are required to be an information professional in 2016?

Following slide share from AIIM outlines what you need to know and the skills you need to learn to become a NextGen InfoPro and remain relevant in information management:

What will it take to be a NextGen InfoPro? | Iron Mountain

 

Sharing Documents through Email

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Email is the easiest way to communicate with people as we have been using it for decades, but it poses few challenges while when we start sharing or collaborating on documents through email.

Sharing document through email, crates multiple copies of document and if needs to be modified, then everyone has to wait for their turn to add their inputs and comments and in this process, multiple copies of document will be made and we will have no track which one is the updated one. Documents in email will be quickly outdated.

Also sharing a document over email is a security issue, as everyone can edit the document and they may end up sharing this document with others which can pose issues if the document contains confidential information. Security is irrelevant while sharing a document through email.

The struggles with email collaboration

  • Dozens of emails from various team members, most featuring identical subject lines that make it difficult to weed out crucial responses from irrelevant ones, especially when conversations fork into multiple threads.
  • It’s nearly impossible to maintain clarity about what needs to get done, and by whom.
  • Poor version control: Just when you think the document is final, you find out two different people made extensive edits… to yesterday’s file. Keeping track of the most current version of an attached document is the modern-era’s needle in a haystack.
  • Lack of transparency: It’s hard to track which pieces of information are still missing and where approvals stand.
  • Limited reuse: The approved document’s final resting place is someone’s inbox, never to be shared again unless you specifically remember that someone proposed something similar last year.
  • Group conversations grow unwieldy too quickly.

Email-communication-vs-collaborationDon’t get me wrong, email is an incredibly useful tool, it’s just a misused one. Email is an effective means for communication, but when it comes to collaborating with your team on projects and getting work done, it’s a major hindrance to your team’s productivity. Therefore the question arises, is email a communication tool or a collaboration tool? Is there even a difference between communication and collaboration? While there is a myriad of definitions and well written explanations of the differences between communication and collaboration, my personal favorite comes from Anthony Bradley at Gartner Research. Anthony says that [1]:

“Communication is the exchange of information to achieve a better understanding.”

While

“Collaboration is the exchange of information, and things, to advance the state of a collaborative product.”

Collaboration is different, even though communication and collaboration will seem like same, but they are not. Collaboration is a higher form of communication. That is to say that communication is required for collaboration but not all communication is collaboration. Also I like the following definition of collaboration from AIIM [2]:

“Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefit.”

How a collaboration helps you

  • Instead of endless email, team members can participate in discussion threads that efficiently summarize where various facets of the document stand.
  • Document management: Everyone has access to the latest draft, and you can check the proposal document out of the system like a library book while you’re working on your piece, single source of truth.
  • Searchable files: You can apply metadata or tag files to make them easy to find later. This means you can quickly locate the document after six month also.
  • Security: Apply security policies to documents, so that only authorized personals have access to documents.
  • Auditing: A well-established auditing policies can keep track of who and when the document was accessed, it is particularly useful in regulatory environments.

The closing remark, an ECM system with focus on collaboration can solve all of the above mentioned, and many more, issues and can effectively improve the productivity and quality of information being created and stored.

Send links to documents, which is stored in the ECM system rather than sending the document itself, it will store the change history, audit and managed and IP stays safely inside the firewall, seen only by authorized users.

References:
[1] Click here to check out Anthony Bradley’s part 1 of 4-part blog about how email is anti-social (read other Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 here)
[2] What is Collaboration? http://www.aiim.org/What-is-Collaboration

Disclaimer: This post is inspired from an experience, where I was using a document to implement the taxonomy for a new BU in our ECM system. I received the document through email and I came to know that old version of the document was shared, as few more changes were made on the flight. This caused a lot of rework for us. Therefore I thought to document my observations and learning in this post. Thanks for reading.

Infographic: ECM Insights and Truths

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Infographic_Reveille_ECM-Insights-and-TruthsReveille Software recently released an infographic full of interesting and relevant facts that highlights the need for application management within the ECM environment.

  • Successful ECM programs are increasingly using agile delivery methods.
  • 58% names migration of content from older system as a challenge.

Source: http://reveillesoftware.com/infographic-ecm-insights-and-truths/

Ticket, Ticket, and Tickets everywhere

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According to a recent AIIM survey, ECM teams supporting over 1,000 users are likely to be creating between 60 and 150 support tickets per month. These organizations are likely to have at least 5 full-time equivalent(FTE) support staff dedicated to core content systems, and may have 10 or more.

Of course, many support tickets are generated from user issues related to client problems, connection glitches, or the inevitable password muddles, but as we discussed previously, multi-server, multi-service, enterprise-integrated systems will be susceptible to core problems, and without a good management regime, it can be difficult to pinpoint the causes of speed issues and process hangs.

Effective ECM management includes the procedures, processes and tools to optimize production support cost and time. As ECM adoption increases (and yes, we all want it), there does not need to be a linear increase in support tickets or production support manual tasks. The number of tickets (volume) and time to resolution (TTR) (speed) are important metrics for measuring production support activity and response.

For full survey findings, request the AIIM White Paper.

ECM Definitions from AIIM

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ECM is an umbrella term covering document management, web content management, search, collaboration, records management, digital asset management (DAM), work-flow management, capture and scanning.

ECM is primarily aimed at managing the life-cycle of information from initial publication or creation all the way through archival and eventually disposal.

The Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) International, the worldwide association for enterprise content management, defined the term Enterprise Content Management in 2000. AIIM has refined the abbreviation ECM several times to reflect the expanding scope and importance of information management.

Following are the few of the ECM definitions which AIIM has released over different period of time.

Late 2005

Enterprise content management is the technologies used to Capture, Manage, Store, Preserve, and Deliver content and documents related to organizational processes.

Early 2006

Enterprise content management is the technologies used to Capture, Manage, Store, Preserve, and Deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists.

Early 2008

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists.

Early 2010

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM covers the management of information within the entire scope of an enterprise whether that information is in the form of a paper document, an electronic file, a database print stream, or even an email.

Note: Download the latest research paper from AIIM about the “State of the ECM Industry 2011”
State of the ECM Industry 2011 – How well is it meeting business needs? Mar 21, 2011
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Visit the following page to download the paper: