Trad ECM is so out-of-touch


Traditional, legacy ECM platforms like Documentum, FileNet and OpenText are not ready for this new world. Those technologies were architected in a time when users and content stayed behind the firewall, on servers and PCs.

So starts paragraph two of Alfresco’s whitepaper “Next-Generation ECM”. This, and a recent post by Laurence Hart in which he says “Records Management as we know it is dead and it has dragged Enterprise Content Management (ECM) down with it.”, piqued my interest.

Preceding all this was a promotional email from Alfresco’s Melissa Meinhart: “4 reasons why Traditional ECM is dead“. Her reasons were:

  1. Users are demanding support for their new tablet and mobile devices, new remote working styles and new cloud apps. You aren’t going to change the users. You must change your approach to ECM.
  2. It’s not just users who are different today: the enterprise is different, too. A new, more expansive view of the enterprise requires a new approach to ECM… an approach that recognizes that modern enterprises are not bound by the firewall.
  3. Social content is now also enterprise content. Today’s enterprise content is driven by mobile devices and the fact that photos, videos and comment threads help companies get real work done faster. The context of the content — who posted it, at what time, in what circumstances and their opinion of the content — is now central to that content’s value.
  4. Traditional ECM vendors are failing at addressing the new realities of the IT infrastructure. ECM technology built for the new enterprise needs to span from traditional on-premise deployments, to virtualized private cloud deployments to full-fledged public-cloud SaaS deployments — and everything in between. And it needs to keep everything, and everyone, secure and in sync — no matter where users or content resides.

This got me thinking… My current role has me working with clients to help them create intranets that are “social”. Ones that foster richer collaboration, and interaction.

Customers are focusing more on this “visible” part of the social collaborative experience, along with the “content management” part that goes with it. In this case, I am talking about the content that is surfaced on the Intranet pages.

Those areas that come under the heading of “Information Management”, such as Records Management, or Enterprise Content Management (ECM), are “roadmap” items. Things that the customer knows are important, but that they also realise, needs more extensive analysis, and planning.

This awareness, by companies, that a well-thought out ECM system is a necessity, is truly excellent. But Alfresco’s white paper raises some good points…users are, more and more, disconnected from the Enterprise. They work anywhere, at any time, on any device. And there are still concerns (rightly, or wrongly) about content “in the cloud”.

Another excellent point that the white paper makes is something that I have had many long discussions on, at my current place of employment (and which is worthy of a separate blog post). This is with regards to the social content, and conversations, that are now trying to be fostered (see the above paragraphs). These often contain valuable tacit knowledge, or are artefacts that companies don’t want to lose.

Traditional ECM is not sufficiently capable of accommodating this new user behaviour, the extended enterprise, or social content. And even Microsoft’s SharePoint, now considered one of the latest members of the “ECM club”, is lacking.

Naturally, Alfresco’s white paper is a pitch for its own product. I do not have a problem with that. They raise some valid points, and their solution looks like it could have potential. I do want to look into it further though, and assess whether their solution is the “one”.

If you want to read about their offering that they claim meets the challenges of the new ways of working, as well as some other great insight to this area by, refer to the links below.

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SharePoint and 5 Reasons

iDatix have recently posted an article on their web site titled “5 Reasons you are getting Shortchanged by SharePoint“. In it they raise some interesting points regarding some of the shortcomings of SharePoint.

Click here to see what they say…

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Is AIIM’s CIP Exam really worth doing?

Is the AIIM CIP really worth doing? In this post I have a look at what the CIP exam, and the certification, mean.

[Updated: May 2016]



In 202, when it first came out, Laurence Hart wrote about AIIM’s Certified Information Professional (CIP) certification, and the CIP exam. He was working at the time as CIO of AIIM and described the value of the CIP.



In response to this, I commented  that I needed to be convinced that the CIP wouldn’t be just another of the many certifications that are available. (I referred to it as JACJust Another Certification)


Is the CIP a JACJust Another Certification?


Laurence posted a second blog post where he discussed, further, the type of content that he encountered in the exam.


This assuaged some of my concerns, but also prompted me to do something that I should have actually done in the beginning, and that is, read the CIP information that AIIM has on its site!


If I had, I would have seen that a lot of thought, and work, had been put into it.


As Laurence pointed out, the exam is not an easy one. The exam has 100 questions and is not the sort of thing that you can just do while sitting in the comfort of your own chair while flicking back and forth between the exam, and Google.


No, for this, you need to go to a Prometric test centre. The guys there are professionals, and you can expect to be under video surveillance while you do the exam.


When AIIM was putting the whole “certification” thing together, including the CIP exam, they went and asked the industry, what “stuff” was actually important to know.


This was all scribbled down in a large notebook, and then scrutinised by subject matter experts. The SME’s then created the monster known as the CIP exam. Very broad, but also very deep in each of the various areas.


AIIM also recognise that the industry is not a static thing. Technology changes, business processes change ways of working change. As a result, if you pass the exam, it’s only valid for three years. After that, it’s necessary to either re-sit the exam or to prove that you have attained a necessary level of continuing education credits ((in this case, 45).


And what does that mean?


Initially, this was something else that bothered me. “Hey, my company just paid $500 for an on-line training course. It was easy – didn’t have to do anything, and voila, I’m recertified.”


No – earning continued education credits is not so easy. You earn credits by attending conferences, formal university-level courses, chapter meetings, giving presentations. And you don’t earn that many credits for each of these items. Even if you re-sat the exam after three years, AIIM will be continuously updating it to reflect changes in the industry, so you can’t just “use the same answers as last time”.


This is what really impressed me. In the Netherlands, medical doctors need to keep up a certain level of training. Each course or conference they attend delivers them a certain number of points. To stay registered they need to attain a certain level each year. (It is most likely the same in other countries, it’s just my wife’s a doctor, and I get to hear about this all the time.)


I realize that there is a world of difference between a Certified Information Professional, and a Medical Doctor, but this one factor drove home to me how serious AIIM’s CIP certification is.


This one factor drove home to me how serious AIIM’s CIP certification is.


Based on what I have read, I’m putting the CIP exam high on my list of goals for this year.

(And, even though I’ve been working in the industry now for over 13 years, I’m not going to do the exam “cold” as Laurence did. I’ll be making damn good use of those training videos.)



Relevant links:

  • 2016 CIP Program Update
  • Certified Information Professional 2016 Update Outline
  • CIP Data Sheet
  • CIP Study Guide
  • CIP – Maintain the Certification Form



  • Becoming a Certified Information Professional (
  • Certified Information Professional, A Valid Measure (
  • My Next Life as AIIM’s CIO (


Recommended Resources

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A couple of reasons for me to travel to Switzerland – ARMA & Chris Walker

On Monday morning, I’m heading to Switzerland.

The Swiss Chapter of ARMA, is having their inaugural meeting, in Basel, and a fellow tweeter of mine, Christian Walker, will be giving the key note speech there.

Because I’m “in the neighborhood”, (sort of), he suggested I come along to it.

I’m really excited…for two reasons.

This is going to be the ever first meeting of the ARMA’s Swiss Chapter!
I’m really pleased that I have the opportunity to be present during this.

The second reason is that I really, really enjoy the chance to meet some of the really smart ECM people that I tweet with. Christian is a senior consultant at Oracle in Edmonton, as well as an “expert blogger” for AIIM. I’ve be connected to Christian for over a year now, and have been involved in many Twitter discussions with him (and others) on subjects ranging from ECM through to “toilet paper” (long story…maybe I’ll cover this in a separate blog).   Needless to say – I am looking forward to meeting him in person.

(I had an excellent opportunity recently to meet up with another fellow Tweeter, Laurence Hart, in Paris, a few months ago (I was invited as a guest blogger to Nuxeoworld, where Laurence was giving the keynote speech.)
Because of various circumstances, I couldn’t make it – something I still regret).

Needless to say – I’ll be taking notes during the sessions (especially the keynote speech), and plan to write a blog post once I get back.

Related Links

  • ARMA International Releases Three New Guidelines for Information Management (

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Realizing True Records Management with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – the Webinar

I’ve just signed up for a webinar that KnowledgeLake are holding entitled “Realizing True Records Management with Microsoft SharePoint 2010“. 

KnowledgeLake were gold sponsors at the SharePoint Best Practices conference that I went to in London earlier this year, and, I have to say, it was a top-notch event. I had visited KnowledgeLake’s booth and I’m curious about how good their product actually is.

So, it was with interest that I read the “Reasons I should attend“. These included the following:

  • LEARN how records management on SharePoint 2010 can lower cost and risk through transparent application of compliance policies and consistent disposition of content
  • DISCOVER why SharePoint will succeed in records management where other ECM platforms have failed
  • WATCH the demonstration of a document lifecycle in SharePoint: the capturing of paper and electronic files including email, application of metadata and classification criteria, search, retrieval, viewing and application of record declaration
  • RECOGNISE how to outline an enterprise approach for the implementation of SharePoint 2010 records management
  • HEAR the customer case study by MOEITS and how they are using SharePoint. The solution saved the union nearly $1 million and realised a return from their investment in four months.
  • CONTRIBUTE to the Question and Answer session

Now, the first reason seems to be pretty standard when describing the virtues of any content management system. As is a demonstration, as well as hearing a customer case study..(Just change the name of the ECM system.)

What really grabbed me by the short and curlies was the second reason “Discover why SharePoint will succeed in records management where other ECM platforms have failed“. Now, this is interesting…I want to hear about this secret sauce that McSharePoint has.

Reason 4 is also one that got my attention. Here the phrase “enterprise approach” really stood out. I’ve been involved with SharePoint since 2007, and, coming from an ECM background, it was very evident to me that SharePoint 2010 is now being hawked as a bigger beast. And this is not only in the “functionality” of SharePoint 2010, but also in other ways. There are more “enterprise-level” whitepapers out now, and the official Microsoft SharePoint training is focusing more on the “business-side” rather than just pure technology.

I’ve registered for the webinar. I’ll be taking notes, and will try and report back on my findings.

Reference Links

  • Realizing True Records Management with Microsoft SharePoint 2010
  • KnowledgeLake
  • European SharePoint Best Practices Conference 2011

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2011 Content Technology Predictions from Real Story – here’s what I think

Jarrod Gringas has posted his Content Technology Predictions on the Real Story Blog site. It makes for interesting reading. While I applaud Jarrod for making these predictions, I feel that some of them are too early, and won’t be happening in 2011, while a couple of his predictions are, to the best of my knowledge, nothing new.

Here is an overview of Jarrod’s predictions:

1) “Bring Your Own Device” policies will push HTML5 adoption for mobile access to enterprise applications
2) Content-rich customers will rebel against Web CMS marketing spins
3) Microsoft will turn to partners to fix SharePoint shortcomings
4) The top end of the Web CMS market will be redefined
5) Intranet community managers will adopt public social functionality
6) SaaS vendors will try to separate from “The Cloud”
7) Buyers will have a greater acceptance of newer standards
8) Case Management will become the leading application from high-end ECM vendors
9) Digital Asset Management vendors will greatly expand video management capabilities
10) E-mail will remain the world’s de-facto enterprise document repository and workflow system
11) Portal software will increasingly produce services for other portals
12) Specialized talent around managing content will begin to migrate out of large corporations

For the full text, click here to read the original. Once you are finished, you can read my responses below, and see if you agree with me or not.

Jarrod’s prediction that Microsoft will turn to partners to fix SharePoint’s shortcomings is something that I don’t think is a prediction. Especially for 2011. I believe that Microsoft has been doing this for years now. In fact, as I understand it, Microsoft have designed SharePoint (pick your favorite version) so that it meets the requirements of 80% of customers. At the same time, the Microsoft bods have sat down and looked at their partners to determine which ones are capable of, and most likely to, develop a solution for a particular “need”. Then, depending on the success, and demand of the “extra feature” it gets included in the next major version.

Jarrod expands on prediction 4, ‘The top end of the Web CMS market will be redefined“, by stating that the large ECM vendors will move down- and out. I agree that there has been a lot of activity lately with the smaller ECM vendors, but I think that it is too early to predict the “demise” (for want of a better word), of the big ECM companies. The big companies are not stupid, and are aware of the change that is taking place at the moment. They are working away to meet these changes. While the smaller companies are nimble, and will play a increasing role, I don’t predict that the big ECMs will be affected dramatically in 2011.

Intranet community managers will adopt public social functionality” – here Jarrod mentions the adoption of public social media community features, including badges, etc. To be honest, I don’t think that this will take off in a big way. While I do see a certain excitement that such “rewards” bring, I am not too sure that it is ready for the workplace. Is there any real value, in a business sense, in these things? While I do agree that there is a growing need to encourage user adoption of more and more web-based tools, I think that this adoption will be more related to “perceived ease of use” and “perceived usefulness”.

I have mixed feelings with regards Jarrod’s prediction #7 “Buyers will have a greater acceptance of newer standards”. While there is a growing awareness of newer standards, I don’t think that the push for these will come from the user – at least not in the beginning. As with something like CMIS, it needs a vendor to come forward with an application that uses the new standard, and demonstrates real benefits (that can be translated into value for the business). Once this happens, there will be a push from the users resulting in action from other vendors. I’m not sure what Jarrod’s statement that “DoD 5015 and MoReq will become increasingly irrelevant” is based on. I am going to look into this more.

Case Management will become the leading application from high-end ECM vendors – I know that EMC are busy with their new case management platform, xCP (Xcelerated Composition Platform). This looks promising. (In fact, half of the last Momentum user conference was taken up with xCP sessions).

Prediction #10 (E-mail will remain the world’s de-facto enterprise document repository and workflow system) is an interesting one. I think Jarrod might be on the ball here. Indeed e-mail is not going away, and vendors need to do something smart to enable email systems to smoothly integrate with document management and workflow systems. Whether that is going to happen in 2011 is still to be seen.

Prediction #11 (Portal software will increasingly produce services for other portals) makes sense. I’m just not sure whether there will be anything big happening in 2011.

And that leaves us with Prediction #12 (Specialized talent around managing content will begin to migrate out of large corporations). My question is…is this any different than what happens every year? Often once a person has built up enough skills in a particular area, they want to work for the vendor, or an integrator company. And this is good, because they will have built up good “real-world” skills from the “other-side of the fence”. (I have worked on the vendor side, as well as the customer side, and each side has its own challenges, and frustrations). However, coming back to the prediction, what is going to be different this year?

So there you have it. Feel free to discuss if you feel I am off the mark.

I know that Jarrod’s predictions are not the only ones out at the moment, but there seem to only be a handful that deal with Content Management Systems.

Other 2011 Predictions

  • Top 10 ECM Pet Peeve Predictions for 2011 – Craig Reinhardt gives a slightly irreverent Top 10 for 2011.
  • Joe Shepley on Enterprise CMS Trends for 2011: A Business-Centric View – Jo takes a more business-centric view
  • Analyst technology predictions 2011 – Jonny Bentword has summarised some of the 2011 technology predictions out at the moment.

Top 10 ECM Pet Peeve Predictions for 2011

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New & Classic – Ways that SharePoint & Traditional ECM systems can play together

In this post I look at some SharePoint-ECM Integration scenarios.


The AIIM SharePoint Master course material that I am studying at the moment presents 4 scenarios about how SharePoint can be used alongside, or integrated with, traditional ECM systems.

These are:

1. External Storage Provider

In this scenario, SharePoint is used to manage indexes, metadata, user presentation, etc, and the ECM application manages content storage/retrieval

2.  External Repository of Record

In this, all content is managed in SharePoint, until it is declared a record. Then a copy is pushed into the ECM application, where it can only be accessed by Record Managers. SharePoint provides the user interface where documents are created, and edited. The ECM application handles the security, record retention, etc of the document once it has the status of a record. Content only gets into the ECM app via SharePoint.

3. Cooperative

In a cooperative scenario, all documents are created in SharePoint, where they can be edited, etc. The ECM system  is used to manage and control documents that have the status of a Record. Unlike the External Repository of Record scenario, in the Cooperative scenario, content can only exist in one system at a time.

4. Portal

In this scenario SharePoint acts merely as an interface into the ECM app. All documents are created, and managed there.

In researching this further, I came across  Andrew Chapman blog “Never Talk When You can Nod“. In it he covers the use of SharePoint with existing ECM systems a lot better in his .

Andrew offers 8 scenarios. I won’t regurgitate all of what he has written (you can read the posts yourself – see link at the end of this post), but I do want to summarise his 8 scenarios, and discuss where the AIIM scenarios match. (Andrew has got some really cool images on his post that visually represent each of the 8 possibilities beautifully. I’ll use this as well, but remember, they came from his site 🙂

Andrew Chapman’s 8 Reference Architectures


1: Keep Systems Separate, Restrict Usage.


Content is moved manually from SharePoint into the ECM application.

2: Loosely Coupled Solution

2: Loosely Coupled Solution

Content is moved from SharePoint into the ECM application based on some rule, or event.

3: Use SharePoint as a Portal Container

3: Use SharePoint as a Portal Container

SharePoint uses Web Parts that allow content from the ECM application to be seen, and at the same time, other Web Parts that allow the user to interact with content in SharePoint.

4: Passive Unification in Web Part

4: Passive Unification in Web Part

SharePoint contains Web Parts that allow a user to see content from both the SharePoint system, and the ECM system. This is from within the same Web Part. The user is unaware that the documents are located in separate systems.

5: Active Unification

5: Active Unification

Similar to Architecture 4 except that in this Architecture, the user is able to perform more complex operations with the content (managing versions, attaching objects to versions, etc).

6: Passive Back-end Aggregation

6: Passive Back-end Aggregation

An aggregated view of all the content stored across all libraries in created in the ECM. This aggregated view could then be used to make security decisions, perform risk analysis, monitor file usage, etc.

7: Active Back-end Aggregation

7: Active Back-end Aggregation

All content is aggregated from SharePoint into the ECM system where it is managed, and controlled.

8: Synchronized, Intelligent, 2-way Shortcutting

8: Synchronized, Intelligent, 2-way Shortcutting

As with Architecture 7, all content is transparently moved from SharePoint into the ECM system. However in this scenario, users can still act upon the document directly from SharePoint.


As you can see, Andrew Chapman has put a lot of thought into the various possibilities of SharePoint and tradition ECM systems working together.

Looking at what the AIIM SharePoint course material mentions, and comparing it to Andrew’s various architectures, there are close correlations – the AIIM scenarios match the first four of Andrew’s Architectures, with the last four describing variations on the Portal concept.

Andrew Chapman’s post: Eight Reference Architecture Organizer


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