The Force – that mystical energy that unifies all life in the universe of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker – can be both good and evil. And over time it can transform individuals and set the very course of the galaxy.
That galaxy is far, far away, and in another time altogether. But here on Earth, circa 2015, we’re experiencing an awakening of our own – one of information and of technology. It may not be metaphysical in nature, but it’s as transformative for business as the Force was for the Imperial Senate.
ECM systems are well into an evolution from static infrastructures that simply preserve data for organizations to systems that dynamically enable and curate content for users, businesses, and things in context. The consumerization of IT is leading users to engage with their information on desktops and in the palm of their hands, and interoperability advancements in well-designed systems now extend ECM to the realm of the Internet of Things. People, businesses, things and information are rapidly combining in a dynamic, digital information mesh.
To be sure, this mesh will transform industries across vertical models. But the mesh – this binding force – will extend beyond our individual firewalls. And it will extend beyond business models of today to weave together the very information fabric of tomorrow’s digital businesses algorithms.
Leaving known boundaries behind
With the growing mesh of digital business, companies are struggling to keep up. The massive jumps in the volume, velocity, and variety of information – created by systems, businesses, things and people both far and wide – are overwhelming. Business struggle to make sense of the information required for conducting business. Systems now are tasked with elegantly orchestrating how information is created, curated and secured, then accessed and shared by people all over our business ecosystems.
Just as information is no longer confined to the walls of our business, our systems must be capable of traversing beyond traditional organization boundaries. The transformation of ECM, therefore, is beyond verticals and beyond firewalls. Our infrastructure, processes and content have to cohesively interconnect with all those different things, people and businesses seamlessly – without jeopardizing the security of all that information.
ECM isn’t just about the infrastructure that is focused on the day-to-day management of data. It’s about facilitating your organization’s business strategies and processes. And like the Force, the digital information mesh will bring cohesion and harmony to businesses who channel it for good – or chaos to those who do not.
Use the force – but wisely
Will your ECM solution harness the mesh for good? Or is it too firmly rooted in the past?
The mesh is a major evolution in information handling and business process control. But because information must be widely distributed to so many different audiences, the demarcation lines of traditional info sharing no longer apply. If your vendor is not actively evolving to take advantage of the mesh, your business strategies can’t compete with those who do.
Evaluate your vendor’s ability to:
- Broker information and content outside of traditional boundaries.
- Facilitate hybrid cloud models so you can determine which computing and storage models make the most sense for your solution.
- Interoperate with both existing and future content sources – as opposed to locking you into a closed solution.
- Engage and enable end users with curated information where they work.
- Architect a future-driven solution – instead of just hacking on yesterday’s technology.
- Work with you to define a roadmap for success – instead of pushing a one-size-fits-all solution.
Then, be objective: Can your current vendor really enable your future initiatives? Or will they eventually abandon you to the dark side?
Do or do not, there is no ‘try’
In the end, the evolution of ECM isn’t about how we share information now. It’s about brokering that information in the future and realizing true Value – the fourth “V”. To do that, we have to reach outside our traditional information spheres, and re-evaluate our existing processes and solutions.
Hanging on to an aging, bandaged ECM solution can limit the future success of our business strategies. Sometimes – like Young Skywalker – we have to let go of our past experiences and embrace the future if we’re to fulfill our destinies.
The digital mesh brings with it new opportunity and new hope for ECM. Let go. Feel the Force. And unleash the Value of your Information.