When attending a show like Info360, I hope to take away a few nuggets that make me reconsider the world I work in. The keynotes and sessions I attended covered a lot of ground, but here are three things that have kept my head spinning. I have to apologize to the people who made these remarks. I took notes, but names and comments are a little disjointed.
“Content Management is Dead – Because it's Largely Solved” – Think about that for a few seconds, and you might start wandering off the old familiar path and onto a few side streets. Sure, we are constantly witnessing new entrants to the ECM market, but they are offering varying levels of the same capabilities. When Laurence Hart, CIO AIIM, said that cloud ECM offerings are less mature than on-premises solutions, I think he was talking about the degree to which cloud vendors meet (or fail to meet) well-established requirements, not that they aren’t keeping up with the features that legacy vendors are adding on a daily basis. As far as I’m concerned, SharePoint closed the critical gap on ECM capabilities with MOSS 2007. In the 2010 release, Microsoft added a few cool features like Managed Metadata and Document Sets, but those are implementation variants, not new concepts. The speaker in this case didn’t specifically use the ‘A’ word, but I think he was pointing out that the unsolved puzzle is adoption.
“Vendors are So Far Ahead of Customers…” – In this case, I’ll extend the word “vendors” to include practitioners. We understand the complete package, but our customers are barely engaged at the periphery. This is a different front in the battle for adoption; even when people like SharePoint, they don’t reach for it as quickly or use it as well as we know they could if they only tried harder. I can’t do justice to the entire message here, but I know that we have to keep reminding ourselves of this fact as we move forward. We have to keep pushing to achieve the ECM goals that we know SharePoint can help us to meet, but we can’t just be the engineer on this train, we also have to be the conductor. We have to engage the passengers, answer their questions, allay their fears and provide the information that they need, when they need it.
"Really Good Demos Might Freak People Out" – Several speakers and a couple audience members talked about demos that you take one look at and form the opinion: “oh my God, we will never get there.” I remember having this experience the first time Marc Anderson spent a couple of days with us teaching us client-side SharePoint development. As I mentioned in my other blog, Marc showed us a very impressive SharePoint site near the start of our conversation. If he had left shortly after showing that site, we would have never pursued the technology he was championing – it was too far ahead of where we were at the time. Fortunately Marc was with us for two full days, and by the time he left, we had met in the middle. Marc pulled back from the amazing heights that he works at comfortably to a level that was within our immediate reach and he pulled us up to that level. Almost a year later, when we were comfortable at that first stage and reaching a little higher, we brought Marc back for more training.
So, while I chose my sessions to learn a little more, I left with a realization that we still need to focus on the ongoing challenge of ECM and SharePoint adoption. I also am beginning to understand that adoption isn’t merely a goal it’s a process that has to be managed.
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This post and comment(s) reflect the personal perspectives of community members, and not necessarily those of their employers or of AIIM International