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

#ECMJam 3 – SharePoint & ECM

Yesterday, the third #ECMJam was held. A lot of people were involved and it was a very interesting discussion about

the place of SharePoint in the world of ECM.

Bryant Duhon was the Jam facilitator. Check out his “Introductory” post here (

There were a number of Questions that formed the basis of the discussion. These were:

Q1: Is there problem with #sharepoint expectations, marketing, or the product itself?
August 11, 2011
Q2: #SharePoint / #governance — how to do it for real (in 140 characters or less!)
August 11, 2011
Q3: Is there/has there been a backlash vs. #SharePoint?
August 11, 2011
Q4: What does #SharePoint do well ootb? What doesn’t it do?
August 11, 2011
Q5 Can #SharePoint solve #collab and DM problems for larger companies, as well as smaller? Can/does it really scale?
August 11, 2011

Each question raised some interesting responses.

With regards Question 1, there was a feeling that SharePoint was not quite an ECM application:

#ECMjam A>Q1 Sharepoint is no #ECM system when you take the #AIIM definition as reference
August 11, 2011
#ECMjam A>Q1 Sharepoint claims to be #ECM, but a lot of ECM vendors make money enriching SPS2010 with ECM functionality
August 11, 2011
Q1: There’s a problem with expectations! #SharePoint isn’t the be-all/end-all too many folks seem to believe.
August 11, 2011

Others pointed out that the problem isn’t with what the product, itself, can do, but with the “misunderstanding” of what SharePoint actually is.

Q1: IMO, SharePoint “problem” is not with product as much as with misunderstanding of what, why, where, how it can/should be used.
August 11, 2011
Q1 Agree that SP does a lot and what it does, it does well. TCM is the big gap. #ECMjam
August 11, 2011
Q1: #sharepoint is a platform, but was sold as a product. Leaves users spending $$$ to get what they were promised #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Others expanded on this, and discussed what ECM should actually be, as well as pointing out that after the “purchase” of SharePoint, extra costs.
Q1 you can not achieve ECM with 1 product or a platform, SP still does not provide scanning OOTB #ecmjam + you need PM consulting & techserv
August 11, 2011
Q1 Saw recent data from a SP conf that for every $1 of SP license it sells, partners sell $6 of services. Underscore OOTB issue. #ECMjam
August 11, 2011
Q1: So expectations are over-hyped and fueled by microsoft to make #SharePoint out as more than it is. #ECM #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Q1. As follow up to my previous comment, from my standpoint, people just seem to buy software as a panacea. Why not more plan 1st #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Q1. My theory, it’s from Microsoft, so folks believe it’s just going to be out of the box #ECM. #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
And not just by Microsoft RT @bduhon: Q1: So expectations are over-hyped and fueled by microsoft #ECM #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Too hard, too long, too obvious! RT @bduhon: Q1. people just seem to buy software as a panacea. Why not more plan 1st #ecmjam
August 11, 2011

Question 2 (SharePoint and Governance) was met with a unaimous response – PLANNING & CONTROL

#ECMjam A>Q2 #Sharepoint governance needs good planning and administration esp. in distributed environments
August 11, 2011
4 characters: P-L-A-N. 5 characters: T-H-I-N-K RT @bduhon: Q2: #SharePoint/#governance: how to do it (in 140 characters) #ECM #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
#ECMjam Q2-You can define segments of SP with different technical restrictions to assist in governance (e.g. size quotas for team sites)
August 11, 2011
Q2: #sharepoint governance must be both centralized and distributed. Policies set by org, solution design by business units. #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
#ECMjam A>Q2 Viral, uncontrolled installation and usage of #Sharepoint is the death of every information management governance!
August 11, 2011
One of the advantages of SharePoint is that is puts the administration, and “growth” of a site into the hands of the end-users (empowers). But this is also a disadvantage. Sites can expand and spread “virally”. The discussion touched upon this.
Q2: Governace requires planning up front and RIM on the back. Can’t be done with a full featured ECM #ECMJAM
August 11, 2011
Q2 @piewords “Viral w governance can work.” Sort of like a organizational social media policy? #ECMjam
August 11, 2011
More involved but yes RT @inoldland: Q2 @piewords “Viral w governance can work.” Sort of like a organizational social media policy? #ECMjam
August 11, 2011
Q2 so how do you explain governance to an end user and get them involved? Easy to say, hard to do #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
There, and in CIO office (and in Redmond?) RT @bduhon: Q2. So #governance is where a hammer is needed? #ECM #SharePoint #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Q2. So, @danieloleary @jessewilkins: #governance is where a hammer is needed? #ECM #SharePoint #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
The discussion surrounding this question ended with a few good points that summed up the use of governance in a SP environment. It is useful, but needs to be applied sensibly.
So what kills #SharePoint? RT @incontextmag: Q2: SP doesnt kill governance. People kill governance. #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Q2: SP doesn’t kill governance. People kill governance. #ECMJAM
August 11, 2011
(Answer) So what kills #SharePoint? Governance! (sometimes) RT @incontextmag: Q2: SP doesnt kill governance. People kill governance. #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Question 3 (Is there/will there be a backlash against SharePoint) was very much related to expectations.
Only against over-inflated expectations. RT @bduhon: Q3. Is there/will there be a backlash against #SharePoint? #ECM #AIIM #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
#ECMjam A>Q3 #Sharepoint is already outdated compared to mobile and apps
August 11, 2011
After 10 yrs? Seems to me we should have seen one already. #ECM #AIIM #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
#ECMjam A>Q3 #Sharepoint is too complex in relation to consumerisation of #collaboration & #ECM
August 11, 2011
Q3: There surely is a @sharepoint backlash, but it’s misguided, because it’s based on the misunderstandings we discussed re: Q1. #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Q3 Backlash will come only if SP doesn’t deliver value. Same reason there’s backlash against anything. (Apologies to Susan Faludi.). #ECMjam
August 11, 2011
Q3: SharePoint has a place, but it’s not a mass market tool. It won’t ever be the Facebook of ECM #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
In the end, this comment was made:
Q3: The problem is that they market it as ECM but ECM is a category and no one product is all ECM. #ECMJAM
August 11, 2011

But someone pointed out:

Only in our circles; elsewhere they promote other stuff (eg, collab) RT @incontextmag: Q3 The problem is that they market it as #ECM #ecmjam
August 11, 2011

Question 4 discussed what SharePoint did well, and what it did not do well.

While this question didn’t generate the same discussion as others, there were some interesting comments.

The “does well” comments included:

Q4 SP does sharing, collaboration and portals very well OOTB. It does not handle high-volume, transactional stuff well. #ECMjam
August 11, 2011
Easy way to share Office docs. Replacement for file shares. RT @bduhon: Q4: What does #SharePoint do well ootb? #ECM #AIIM #SP2010 #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Q4 – Collab & portals are good. Governance, transactional content, capture weak. #ecmjam #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
#ecmjam Q4: Good: Basic document management. Huge improvement over shared drives. Bad: Dependent metadata and field validation.
August 11, 2011
Q4 SEARCH! In 2010 they nailed it, wish every platform was as functional #ecmjam
August 11, 2011

Whereas, the “does not do well” included:

Q4 SP doesn’t do BPM well. Managing docs from outside an org’s four walls that need to be processed. #ECMjam
August 11, 2011
Q4: Doesn’t physical records management, BPM, transactional content management, scanning & capture, archiving & library services #ECMJAM
August 11, 2011
Q4 – Weakness: Seen many orgs empower depts to make their own teamsites, but result is too many silos and no enterprise governance #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Q4: SP default is to store as blobs, inflating the DB, but if you do much you need a SP work around. #ECMJAM
August 11, 2011

Question 5 asked “Can SharePoint solve collaboration and DM problems for larger companies as well as for smaller?

Generally it seemed that while SharePoint was useful for a small company, the administration, and maintenance requirements were too high to make it practical.

#ecmjam Q5 SharePoint has always been able to scale the difference is it puts it in the users hands front end, versus other ECM backend
August 11, 2011
#ecmjam Q5 so scaling requires more planning, but absolutely can scale for large companies
August 11, 2011
Q5 the time to live and staffing requirements are too much for small business, #sharepoint is a better fit for larger orgs #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
#ECMjam A>Q5 #Sharepoint can solve DM problems in smaller orgs but is some overkill in regard to admin
August 11, 2011
Q5 no 4 SMB’s. lack time and IT resources. rely on specific OOTB and references to their biz/problems that dont exist #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Q5: Technically (performance, scaling) Yes, but for the features and manageability No. #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
The discussion also touched upon the scalability of SharePoint, as well as its use in the Cloud.
Short ans: yes. Better ans: yes, but, with “but” = may require 3rd pty apps RT @bduhon: Q5 Can #SharePoint really scale? #ECM #AIIM #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
Q5 the best way to scale sharepoint is to run in the cloud #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
What kind of cloud? Cloud cloud or VM? [email protected] : Q5 the best way to scale sharepoint is to run in the cloud #ECMJAM
August 11, 2011
#ECMjam A>Q5 #Sharepoint as Office365 SaaS might be the solution for SMEs
August 11, 2011
@bduhon q5 Not yet. There is promise for the future for SP for SMBs with Azure and the future cloud platformed SP in dev. #ecmjam #AIIM
August 11, 2011
Q5 Wondering if performance is an issue as SP scales (when it does). #ECMjam
August 11, 2011
#ECMjam Q5: We’re 26,000 people. SP scales, but it needs careful focus and planning.
August 11, 2011
Q5: hmmm. Scale in what way? functionality … no. of users … geography … ? #ecmjam
August 11, 2011
So it was  a very interesting discussion with a lot of interesting comments.

For a read of the actual tweet stream, click here (

  • TakingAIIM
  • A meeting of the great ECM minds – the #ECMJam (
  • AIIM White Paper on SharePoint Deployment (
  • A Tip for Adding Muscle to SharePoint (

SPX Series – A little bit of history

This is part of the SPX Series

Previous post: SPX Series – SharePoint eXperience – (aka SPX) – Series Introduction

First off – I want to explain that I am, in no shape or form, an SPX “expert”. I’m just a guy who has been using SPX since it was first released. I’m not a coder, so can’t tell you all the cool ways that the web parts can be tweaked, or made to dance. I am able to share with you some of the “lessons learned”, and tips . that I have picked up over time. Some of what I write might be incorrect. Please feel free to let me know if that is the case.

And, where possible, if there are other resources that explain something better than I can, I’ll point you to it.

So without further delay I will launch into today’s SPX post…”A little bit of history“.


In 2007 Microsoft introduced SharePoint 2007.

As well as providing the ability to store content in its own repositories (doclibs, lists), it also provided web sites that could be populated with web parts that allowed users to interact with internal content (lists and SharePoint repositories), as well as external content. This included other LOB enterprise systems (such as SAP, Siebel, etc). There was no native way to connect SharePoint and Documentum though.

  • Business Data Catalog: Overview
  • Business Data Catalog: Architecture
  • Interoperability Scenarios and Technologies for SharePoint Server 2007


A company called Wingspan had also developed technology that provided Web Services connectivity to Documentum.  This consists of the Docway Server, and Docway “Portlets”, (and for SharePoint – Webparts), and allowed for single sign-on,  cross-docbase browsing, as well as the ability for users to access, create & update content from a Portal.



CSC’s FirstDoc, provides a layer that sits on top of Documentum, and allows for compliance with many of the Pharmaceutical regulatory requirements imposed by the various regulatory authorities (FDA, EMA,  MHRA, etc.)

Using Wingspans technology, CSC (or, at the time, FCG), were able to create special webparts that allowed users to interact with their FirstDoc system from a SharePoint Portal. These offered about 85% percent of the functionality provided by the native FirstDoc application.


The first version was released in the 2nd half of 2007, and had the moniker “version 4.3“. This was to keep the version inline with the (then current) version of FirstDoc. It was compatiable with version 5.3 of Documentum.

There were 17 webparts available. These included webparts for browsing cabinets, listing the logged-on users checked-out documents, displaying the Home Cabinet, an inbox webpart, an very handy object-view webpart that could be configured to display one particular folder, or cabinet), an also handy query-view webpart that allowed content to be displayed based on a query, as well as an assortment of other functional webparts, and administration webparts.

Each web part offered a user the ability to further interact with an object via a context menu that showed extra functionality depending on the type of object that was clicked upon.

This first version was an excellent step towards greater flexibility in creating interfaces for users that better matched their daily work style. For the 80% of users who rarely log into FirstDoc, it provided a quick and easy way to get to specific documents. Links to specific documents could be sent via e-mail, and when a user clicked on it, the document would automatically be opened, without having to go through a process of logging into a client and searching for a document.

But there were also several shortcomings. There was the 20% of hard-core users that quickly discovered that there was still a lot of functionality that was not available. Also the SPX interface did not offer the same flexibility that WebTop did. You couldn’t easily change the columns that you wanted displayed, the search functionality when compared to the WebTop search was very limited, and the way of interacting with the documents was different. The context menu was not found in WebTop.  Performance was also a bit sluggish especially when using the webparts over a WAN.

To be fair, CSC were also restrained by the limitations of the underlying Docway technology.
(However, Wingspan have been making continual improvements to their technology and CSC have been able to take advantage of this).


CSC listened to the concerns that the hard core users (as well as the administrators) were having. Version 5.0 of SPX was released in the middle of 2008, with Product Alias Search functionality, the ability to limit search results, and also the ability to add multiple documents to a workflow. Version 5.0 was also compatible with Documentum 6.0


Then later that year, version 6.0 was released. This was based on Documentum 6.5, and an upgraded version of Docway(6.1). It had been designed to be backwards compatible (with configuration, it could work with version 4.3 of FirstDoc). This allowed SPX to work over multiple docbases of different versions. As well as this, the Inbox and Query webparts were tweaked so that values could be automatically passed on the URL. Menu selection was made configurable. A quicklink capability was added that allows a link to be configured that will launch FirstDoc functionality, and the ability to View Relationships, and Audit Trail reports was added.


Then, in the later part of 2009, version 6.1 was released with even more functionality – Virtual Documents could now be viewed, multiple files could be imported, a new :”My Views” webpart was available, as well as the ability to view the Workflow Status report. Importing related documents was now, also possible. A version 6.1.1. was also released but this was a correction to a limitation that was previously believed to be uncorrectable.


In 2010, version 6.2 and 6.2.1 were released. The only difference was that 6.2.1 was certified for use with SharePoint 2010. Both versions also used Docway 7.0.  And there was a bundle of new features and functionality. These included: the ability to register interest, the availability of the WebTop Search app as a webpart, a single-box search (“Google-like”), Saved Searches, the ability to display custom properties in the web parts, clipboard tools, subscription notifications, as well as other functionality.


CSC are working on the next release of  SPX, and it looks like they’ll be adding even more functionality to close the gap between SPX and WebTop.

FirstDoc doesn’t have its own client application – it extends the functionality of the EMC Documentum native client – “WebTop”. EMC has announced that they will be phasing out this out sometime soon.  As a result CSC are dedicated to ensuring that SPX is ready to be a replacement.

So – that’s the end of my “A little bit of history” post. If have made mistakes anywhere, please feel free to let me know.

Comments on “The Problem with Shared Network Folders”

Adrian McGrath recently wrote a post calledThe Problems with Shared Network Folders“.

It’s a great post, and Adrian is someone that I have a lot of respect for. He’s a smart guy, and I learn a lot from him. In the post (read it here ), Adrian discusses the disadvantages and limitations of using Shared Network folders.

These include:

  • Duplication of documents and confusion as to what the latest version is
  • Complex file and folder naming conventions 
  • Lack of consistent folder structures 
  • Redundant documents 
  • Ineffective search
  • Inaccessibility of information
  • Lack of subscription and notification
  • Limited ability to synchronise documents offline
  • Inability to cross reference and relate documents
  • Lack of document governance and control
  • Compliance, Risk & Legal Admissibility 
  • Impeded collaboration
  • Storage and maintenance costs

In essence Adrian is correct. Using Shared Network drives does have limitations, but in the spirit of debate, I’d like to make a few comments on what he says.

Duplication of documents and confusion as to what the latest version is.
Complex file and folder naming conventions
Lack of consistent folder structures
Redundant documents

These are all indeed real problems. Are they inherent to Shared Folders? Not really – these can also happen with Document Management Systems.

Governance plays a large part in ensuring that these sort of things do not happen. Information Architecture is critical in ensuring that a suitable structure exists, defined by folder, and metadata, so that every document has a correct location.

However, this does require enforcement. Without enforcing such a system, even EMC systems can end up overly complex and with duplicated (and therefore redundant) documents. A lot of these systems, however have de-duplication functionality built-in (Documentum), and, if not (SharePoint), there is often a third-party tool that will do this.

Ineffective Search

Can’t argue with this. Unless some sort of indexing application is implemented, searching will be very inefficient.

There are many applications that allow Shared Network folders to be indexed. These include applications such as Google Desktop, Windows Search, X1, etc. SharePoint, also, has the ability to index information in file shares, as well as making the search results a little bit more meaningful.  

Inaccessibility of information

Adrian is definitely right here. Most (if not all) companies are quite strict with their network security. Users are not able to make ad-hoc changes.

However this can also occur in an ECM system depending on how much “freedom” a user has. I have seen some situations where, because the security policies in the ECM system were so strict, that users have resorted to exporting a document to a file share, so that it can be shared with others, or worse, e-mailed to an external party.

A good governance model helps to reduce this, as does training. If the users are aware of why something is enforced then there is, often, a better chance of compliance.

Lack of subscription and notification
Limited ability to synchronise documents offline
Inability to cross reference and relate documents

No arguments here

Lack of document governance and control
Compliance, Risk & Legal Admissibility 
Impeded collaboration

I’ve mentioned governance in my comments above. A good plan is required to ensure that documents are not haphazardly placed in seemingly random locations. And, as Adrian mentioned, Most ECM systems provide an audit trail keeping a record of the “actions” upon a document (when a document changes status, etc).

However, this is only effective for versions of the documents that are within the document management system. Once it is outside of the system (a user exports, or e-mails, a document) there is no audit trail. (Often this is done to collaborate with someone who does not have access to the ECM system.) This can create compliance issue. Again – good training, and governance, helps to reduce this risk.

Storage and maintenance costs

As Adrian mentioned, the amount of storage space required in a file share can be quite high, as users store more, and more content. And he is correct that because of the scattered nature of such content, this leads to inefficiencies.

ECM systems tend to handle the storage of content in one of two ways:

  • Content is stored in a file system on a hard drive. Usually the content will have some meaningless name, and might also be encrypted. Metadata about the content (including it’s location) is stored in a  database. Access to the content is via the CMS (native interface, or API).
  • Content, and metadata, are stored in databases. The content is usually stored as a BLOB.

If the ECM system is configured to keep create a version every time a document is checked out, and then checked back in again, the number of “duplicate” versions can increase quite quickly, thereby requiring extra space. Of course, setting a lower limit for the number of version kept can help reduce this. Configuring the system to purge all minor versions of a document (e.g. 0.1, 3.2, etc) when a major version (e.g. 1.0, 3.0) is created also ensures that disk space is kept to a minimum.

Keeping documents in the database as a BLOB also presents extra maintenance. As with a file system, the databases can grow exponentially. Often extra work is required to ensure that the database still performs efficiently.


I am convinced that to be able to keep content in a system that allows adding meaningful metadata, auditing, security, document life cycles, and workflows, is critical if a business needs to track, control or route content. Often these activities will exist to match the requirements of a business process, and to make it more efficient.

However there are a few situations where using a file share is still of value.

In my next a later post I will go into this more…

  • Is unauthorised use of file sharing solutions putting organisations on a slippery slope?
  • What Enterprise Content Management Technologies Do Manufacturing Companies Use?
  • Enterprise Content Management (ECM) 101
  • Using a network file share – a case study

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

What the Hell Am I Doing? (or “Should I just Shut Up?”)

blogging communication information sharing

In the last week, I have been aware  of a few discussions going on about the value of blogging.

A recent post by Bjørn Furuknap, where he advises aspiring bloggers to shut up unless they have something of real value to say, has resulted in an interesting discussion. At the same time, I came across an old post by Laurence Hart where he talks about blogging.

Bjørn’s blog can be summed up as follows:

  • Don’t write rubbish – make sure that it is correct
  • Don’t write about the same thing that everyone else is writing about,
  • Give credit

Laurence’s post can be summed up with:

  • Know why you are writing a blog
  • Blog to start a conversation – to add value.

Now – when Bjørn’s post came out, I responded to it stating that he was too harsh, and that one of the purposes of the internet is to give people the freedom to post for what ever reason they want. And that the onus actually lies with the reader, who should choose what they read more carefully.

Having said that, what Bjørn had written sat in the back of my head, slowly being processed for the next couple of days.

Then I read Laurence’s post. He had, pretty much, said the same thing 2 years earlier. It seemed that Bjørn, however, was looking at things from a more technical angle, whereas Laurence more from a social/conversation angle.

At the end of Momentum 2010 I had a great opportunity to talk with another blogger  – Andrew Chapman – for three hours, and he told me  “readers are more interested in hearing your opinion”.

So now I find myself questioning the reason I am blogging. Is it to get hits? In response to Bjørn’s post, I stated that I don’t care how many people read my blog (but secretly I do). Is it to provide technical wisdom to people? Well – I certainly want to pass along useful tips where I can, but try not to fall into the trap of repeating what can be easily read elsewhere. Is it to start a discussion? Umm – not specifically.

So – why did I start blogging? I guess because I found that writing a post really forced me to think about things. So instead of saying to myself “Oh – that’s interesting.”, it would be “OK – what does this mean, can it be done differently. If so – how?” (Andrew had commented to me that he found the same benefit from blogging).

In his post Laurence states that if you don’t want people to read what you have written, “just go start a private journal”. That applied to me, but by writing a blog, I felt that the fact that it might be read also forced me to be a bit more complete.

So my initial blogs were more thought blogs. I would try and comment on a variety of things that were related to content management. And then I started wanting to pass on some of the lessons I had learned from what I considered to be technologies/situations that were little written about. I tried to do this in an interesting way. But, as Laurence, and Bjørn, both state – blogging takes time. My schedule became very busy, with work, with study, and with travel. I still wanted to write those thought blogs but found myself writing simple “did you know” posts with no real added value.

It was good to read Bjørn’s post. I thank Dave Coleman for bringing my attention to it (via twitter). If I hadn’t read it, I wouldn’t have got incensed, and then I wouldn’t have read Laurence’s post and, as a result, wouldn’t have decided that it was time to lift my game.

Gents – thank you.


Bjørn Furuknap’s post: Attention Aspiring SharePoint Bloggers: Shut Up!

Laurence Hart’s post: So You Want to Write a Blog

Andrew Chapman’s blog: Never Talk When You Can Nod

Dave Coleman’s blog: SharePointEduTech


See also:

The secrets of good blogging

The secrets of good blogging (Click for a larger copy)

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.


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


ECRM Assessment – wise words


If you can’t measure it, you can’t understand it.

If you can’t understand it you can’t control it

If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.


– H. James Harrington

SharePoint Will Not Own ECM (At Least, Not Anytime Soon) – My 2¢ worth

Came across a post via via the other day…

@SharePointBuzz retweeted  @JoeShepley about a post that was written by Linda Andrews in response to a post Joe had originally written about SharePoint 2010. (You may have to read that again).

Here’s Joe’s original post:

And here’s Linda’s response:

I read Linda’s post first, and started writing a response. Once finished, I thought it might be prudent to read what Joe had originally said, and tweaked my response slightly. Originally I was going to post my response as a comment on the page of Linda’s post. But then thought “Nah – I’ll post this on my blog to give it the glory that it deserves”…

Here is my contribution to the debate:

Hi Linda

Interesting article – thanks.

I’ve been working in the ECM for about 16 years now, having cut my teeth on FileNet, and have worked for the last three years with Documentum (and also SharePoint).


When SharePoint 2003 appeared on the scene, it did not even show on my radar. I was aware of the name, but that was it. When SharePoint 2007 took to the stage, I watched the hype and excitement that it bought with it for the first 6 months, but watched that die quickly. While its strengths definitely didn’t lie with ECM, it did offer a lot to collaboration.

SharePoint 2010, on the other hand, I am treating with a modicum of respect, and I have been looking at the “threat” that it is supposedly bringing with it.

I have read Joe Shepleys original post. He makes some very valid points, and while, in principle, you do too, I’d like to share my own thoughts…

For many companies that already have an existing ECM solution in place, the cost, as you pointed out, of swapping to SharePoint is more a reason not to. To uproot a working system, as well as to migrate the documents is not something undertaken lightly.

However, consider a minus of some of the big ECM products. The cost of licences can be quite hefty. This does make SharePoint attractive (even taking into account the points you have made in Reason #3). Any smart company will try and reduce the cost of something that is considered an overhead. As a result, during times of document management system upgrades, it may be that the move to SharePoint could be worthy of consideration.

And, with that in mind, I would like to reiterate Joe’s Shepley’s closing paragraph, by saying that it is not unreasonable to consider that, for the sake of reducing costs, a change in expectations may also be considered. Analyse the actual business process and, if the cost savings are really worth it, adapt it. Maybe a less complex process, that has been built around the “reduced” functionality that SharePoint has, could be put into place.

I’m not going to make any hard predictions, but, maybe SharePoint will actually start owning more and more of the ECM world…

  • AIIM White Paper on SharePoint Deployment (

Case Study – A social Content Management system

social Content Management system

A social Content Management system

What is a social software system? In this post, I discuss this very question and look at a fictional company to determine whether they have a social Content Management system, or not.

7 Social Software Elements

Seven Social Software Elements

In a 2007 post, Gene Smith defines seven social software elements.

These were:

  • Identity – a way of uniquely identifying people in the system
  • Presence – a way of knowing who is online, available or otherwise nearby
  • Relationships – a way of describing how two users in the system are related (e.g. in Flickr, people can be contacts, friends of family)
  • Conversations – a way of talking to other people through the system
  • Groups – a way of forming communities of interest
  • Reputation – a way of knowing the status of other people in the system (who’s a good citizen? who can be trusted?)
  • Sharing – a way of sharing things that are meaningful to participants (like photos or videos)

Each social software system had three or more of these elements (but not necessarily all of the elements).

Case Study - A Social CMS

Case Study

Using Gene’s list, I decided to do a case study where I analyse a fictional document management system and see how it measures up.

The Company: Wet Cleaver Drywear

Background: Wet Cleaver Dry Goods designs and manufactures ready-to-wear clothing for farmers. This includes rainwear, winter clothing, informal dress clothing, hats, gloves, etc.

It has factories in three different countries. It uses an Oracle-based Content Management system to store and manage, clothing designs, as well as operating procedures, sales information, customer feedback, and press releases, etc. Designs and patterns are sensitive and need to be tracked. Operating Procedures need to follow a Review process before being available for use. Press Releases need to be routed to the appropriate managers for sign-off before being released, and customer feedback has to be routed to the appropriate department heads. Security is applied to the documents ensuring that they can only be edited by members of each particular department. Each user has an Active Directory account, and a matching account in the CMS. Exchange is used for e-mails.

To provide users with a more “accessible” interface, SharePoint has been used to create a Portal. Each department has its own site which is populated with special web parts that provide access to the documents in the Oracle-based Content Management system, as well as its native functions.

Each web site has been designed by the IT department, based on discussion with the end-users to meet the “requirements” the department the site is intended for. SharePoint groups have been created for each department and populated with the users’ active directory accounts. Each site is secured so that only members of each department can access the related site, and, to ensure that a consistent look-and-feel is maintained, as well as to reduce support issues, the users do not have the right to create new sites themselves, or to customise the sites (“My Sites”). If users from different departments need to work on a document together, a SharePoint site is created along with a SharePoint document library. The required documents are placed in the document library by the CMS administrators, and specific users are granted access to the site. Further to this, a SharePoint Search Center has been created, and with the use of a special protocol handler, is able to index the contents of the oracle-based CMS. Users, however, are only able to find documents that they have rights to.

A separate SharePoint site has been set up to store FAQs, lists of who is in each department, etc.

Analysis: Does this system have three, or more (or any) of the elements that Gene listed? Lets have a look…

  • Identity – In this system, each user needs to be logged into the network to access the Portal. Pass-through authentication is used. Thus, each user can be uniquely identified.
  • Presence – Although the user can see that they are logged on (their username is displayed on the screen), there is no way to know who else is logged into the system at the same time.
  • Relationships – The Portal has been designed to provide a slightly easier way of performing the tasks that would normally take place in the CMS. That is the processing of documents. As mentioned above, there is a separate site that lists who is in each department.
  • Conversations – When users need to communicate with each other they use Exchange. This is, however, separate from the CMS/Portal.
  • Groups – The Portal is strictly controlled. IT can create special sites that meet specific requirements, and then users are granted access on an as-needed basis. The CMS administrators export files out of the CMS into the site’s document library where the users can work on them. While this can be considered as a type of community forming, the fact that it is strictly controlled, and not an ad-hoc process negates this.
  • Reputation – Apart from the fact that a list is maintained (on a separate site) of who works in each department, and their positions, there is no way to determine the “reputation” of a particular user (e.g. the person who has created the most operating procedures, or has provided the most valuable feedback during a review process).
  • Sharing – The only sharing that occurs is the routing of documents. This is not done in an ad hoc fashion but is defined by business rules, and pre-defined workflows. As such, there is no sharing.

Social Software Honeycomb

Something else that Gene had done in his post was to create a social software honeycomb.

Each element is represented by a hexagon. Each hexagon is shaded depending on whether the particular system supported the social element.

Looking at the Document Management system of Wet Cleaver Dry Goods, the honeycomb would look like this:

CMS Social Software Honeycomb

Clearly this system does not contain three, or more, of Gene’s social elements.


  • Identity – a way of uniquely identifying people in the system
  • Presence – a way of knowing who is online, available or otherwise nearby
  • Relationships – a way of describing how two users in the system are related (e.g. in Flickr, people can be contacts, friends of family)
  • Conversations – a way of talking to other people through the system
  • Groups – a way of forming communities of interest
  • Reputation – a way of knowing the status of other people in the system (who’s a good citizen? who can be trusted?)
  • Sharing – a way of sharing things that are meaningful to participants (like photos or videos

* Identity – a way of uniquely identifying people in the system

* Presence – a way of knowing who is online, available or otherwise nearby

* Relationships – a way of describing how two users in the system are related (e.g. in Flickr, people can be contacts, friends of family)

* Conversations – a way of talking to other people through the system

* Groups – a way of forming communities of interest

* Reputation – a way of knowing the status of other people in the system (who’s a good citizen? who can be trusted?)

* Sharing – a way of sharing things that are meaningful to participants (like photos or videos)

  • )
  • Why isn’t my SharePoint Environment Social??? – SharePoint … (