The only time that I don’t like having a Saturday blog is when I have attended an event like Info360. By the time I get to write up my notes, it’s been blogged to death. So, I’m going to just pass along why I might be changing my thinking on two topics, as well as a couple quotes and two things that made attending personally rewarding.
I’ll start on a personal “good news for me” note. After 13 years of giving presentations at trade shows and conventions, I finally got to speak at the Javits Center. The bad news – it’s under construction, the rooms were temporary and noisy and the floors reminded me of the changing room at our town’s public pool.
For the record, I was part of a panel that was led by David Lavenda from Harmon.ie, and included Steve Brescia from American Water. Steve’s and my company both use Harmon.ie, although we have been drawn to it from different angles. That’s not surprising given how much power is packed into the Outlook add-on / iPad app.
One of the questions we were asked had to do with tracking what has happened to a document after it is moved into SharePoint. Steve and I talked about SharePoint Alerts, while David demonstrated Harmon.ie’s activity tracking feature, a social-style way to follow your document. Earlier that day, Adam Pisoni, CTO of Yammer, had been singing the praises of using social media within an organization during his keynote presentation. A few hours later, the rumors of Microsoft’s acquisition of Yammer were trending. Finally, on the following morning, during a
half hour commercial for Chatter presentation by Michael Peachey, marketing exec with a long title, Salesforce.com, we saw statistics and heard testimonials on the value of using a private social media network. While I still feel that the use of social media in a small organization is over-hyped, I realize that it might appeal to some people.
The idea that we should consider offering something that might appeal to some people is an important point to consider. Our organization, like many is dealing with a series of transitions today. We are training the employees who will remain after many of my colleagues and I retire; we are dealing with various but increasing degrees of comfort with mobile technology, and we are trying to prepare for the significant changes that Microsoft is about to release. Clearly, one size no longer fits all and user experience and customer expectation are going to be the forces driving our IT decisions. David Kellogg, Chief Information Officer, Council on Foreign Relations summed it up during a panel discussion on the Consumerization of IT (ugh, buzzword) when he said: “why would you force people to use something they don’t want to use?” The answer used to be “because we can”, but we can’t get away with that attitude today.
Sticking with the theme: “you might need to embrace a mix of technologies”, a collection of speakers combined to convince me to leave the door only half closed toward the Cloud. Laurence Hart, CIO, AIIM, opened the conference with an updated practical view of ECM in the cloud. @Piewords, as he is better known, allayed my fears about security by pointing out that “…security is relative. They may get more attacks but they have full-fledged staff and big resources to deal with those threats” – a point echoed by several other speakers during the day. On the other hand, his comments about how cloud-based ECM solutions are at the low end of the maturity scale, gave me reason to enjoy my connection to SharePoint. I don’t remember if he used the word “legacy” when describing SharePoint, but other speakers did. It’s still hard for me to consider SharePoint a legacy system, but I guess that’s the price you pay for having mature ECM capabilities. I really liked the way Laurence illustrated one to five 9’s in a graph of downtime decreasing from one month to 5 minutes while the costs of achieving those levels of reliability soar up the Y-axis. By the way, “Three 9’s”, the advertised rate of reliability from most cloud ECM providers, equals 3.5 days of downtime; slightly less than the total time our building was without power in 2011 due to weather.
The best part of the week occurred after the show in the best Irish bar in New York, The Molly Wee. I finally heard the story behind the name of “The Word of Pie”, one of the most interesting and informative ECM blogs on Earth, and theTwitter handle @piewords. Of course, I can’t share that story here.