I have worked for OpenText for the last 10 years and have watched the ECM field evolve, mature and consolidate. My initial interest in it came from efforts to apply knowledge management to pharmaceutical research in the 1990’s, when I founded Base4, a company ultimately acquired by OpenText.While people assume that most documentation is now electronic, in fact paper still plays a huge role in most organizations. This requires systems to manage a combination of electronic and paper records. FAX over IP and scanning are two technologies that play here.It is clear that as ECM becomes more relevant to a wider range of business needs that it is merging with the process management field.
Modern ECM Suites encompass a range of previously disparate technologies. That said, no ECM product does everything effectively, nor do customers want one to do so.
This applies to Content and to modes of Collaboration, especially as the range of Collaboration modes is exploding through Social Media
The latest Gartner MQ for ECM – OpenText is a leader in the company of much larger organizations. The size of a company is a factor in Gartners’ ability to execute dimension. OpenText is by far the largest independent vendor fully focused on ECM.Note: the Gartner MQ is not a measure of product quality but a combination of the completeness of vision and ability to execute.
The relevance of ECM to organizations has often been expressed in the same terms as other information systems, but ‘calling out’ Content as distinct from general Information. The range of Content is far greater today than the document-centric examples in this slide from a few years ago suggest; so really we should be talking about People-Process-Information not People-Process-Content
In reality each of these cover a wide spectrum, much of which is the province of other business support tools like ERP and CRM, but ECM tends to emphasise the ‘unstructured’.
Often ECM is much more critical during the management of exceptions to structured processes. These exceptions can be very expensive, even if they represent on a few percent of all cases. Since organizations have already driven out as much cost from their structured process as possible, exceptions are likely the next target for cost reduction efforts.
ECM (Enterprise Content Management) systems have evolved to take control of more and more of the unstructured content within the enterprise – scanned documents, physical & electronic records, faxes, emails, web pages, messages, images, etc. Some systems are installed as a single enterprise-wide repository; others take a more evolutionary approach, linking existing document and content repositories through information-access portals. Key drivers for the adoption of ECM are: productivity in document-centric processes, improved knowledge-sharing, coordinated customer service, reduced compliance risk and unified legal discovery.Meanwhile, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems have taken control of the structured data content within the enterprise, from finance to service, from CRM to HR. However, within each of the application processes in ERP, there are often textual documents supporting the purely transactional data. Product data sheets, customer correspondence, quality reports, contract proposals, asset drawings and appraisement reports are important parts of their related business processes. Indeed, some paper items such as invoices, remittance notes, delivery notes and claim forms are integral to otherwise heavily transactional processes. In a recent survey conducted by the AIIM organization, a non-profit association that provides research, education, analysis, and best practices to help organizations better find, control and optimize information, to explore the business drivers, the issues faced and the returns being achieved. As we can see here, the most valued links are those involving transaction workflows, with the resultant improvements in productivity. Interestingly, improved customer service and knowledge sharing are rated more highly than consistency of compliance. We also see that the longer-term strategic vision of a joint infrastructure between structured and unstructured data has yet to resonate with users – at least at the practitioner level.
Creativity and value creation typically result from a range of interactions and are conveyed and expressed in forms of rich content
So it is useful to think of three primary dimensions to People-Process-Information. But most business analysis (BPA) has tended to focus on Structured Processes, Structured Information and Formal Organizational units
Understanding knowledge work and how best to support it is a growing challenge to organizations looking to create competitive advantage based on innovation
How is Content relevant to process? Consider any process step (blue chevron). Typically staff responsible for such a step need to be notified that it is ready to be performed and when they have finished they need to notify those responsible for the next step. Increasingly there are a growing number of technologies (see Collaboration/Social Networking) that may be used for notification, and many of these create Content assets. The Context that describes what needs to be done is typically contained in one or many Content objects (e.g. instructions, protocols, SOPs), while work product created in a step is often Content (e.g. report, marketing collateral, invoice)
We have used the term Knowledge Worker, but as Mark McDonald has pointed out, there is a distinction between those who manipulate knowledge, and those who actually create it.
So if we consider the Making of knowledge it typically front-ends the kind of knowledge-based process discussed earlier
In the same manner that we can distinguish between different knowledge roles, we can also see the evolution of specific roles. Most staff are very good at creating content, but they are not as good at making sure it is used by an organization. Increasingly social skills are required to ensure the right people get the necessary information
Recently OpenText acquired Metastorm – a company that has supplied enterprise architecture (EA) and business analysis (BA) tools.Enterprise Architecture seeks to describe the essential elements and structure of an organization. The essential dimensions of People-Process-Information (Rules & Data) are contained within a typical EA framework
There are many EA frameworks. One of the earliest and most widely used is that of Zachman. It consists of a two dimensional classification matrix based on the intersection of six communication questions (What, Where, When, Why, Who and How) with six rows according to reification transformations (i.e. to express them formally and explicitly).
From my personal perspective, the typical mechanistic, engineering approaches of EA are missing several vital perspectives. One gets the sense that they are based on the assumptions that if a description of an organization is complete that it could in principle be used to recreate that organization, potentially even to replace the people by automatons at some point.There is also an implicit assumption that organizations exist to create value and that their effectiveness in doing so in competition with other organizations defines their success. But I think this underestimates what motivates people at all levels of an organization and how this drives what actually gets done and how organizations ‘behave’ as a result.
So coming at this problems as a Biologist, I see too much Engineering and not enough Biology – as well as associated disciplines such as Sociology, Ecology, Psychology, Politics, etc.
Are these factors considered in a typical process flow?
With automation to natural end point might be that there is no work left for anyone – but would people ultimately take a decision to make themselves redundant? What motivates a CEO? Is it the success of their company or their own success as proven by the success of a company. The same question can be applied to many other positions.
So for me Enterprise Architecture is a little like taking a picture of a waterfall. It is only accurate at the moment you take it, and never again. But EA efforts takes a long time to execute (i.e. a long ‘exposure time’ in photographic terms). They miss fast-acting change, have a clearer picture of slow processes and tend to ‘average’ out differnces.
If we accept that different things change at different paces in an enterprise, it is instructive to look at the concept of Pace Layering
Each element in a building has a different life expectancy. The site lasts for ever, the basic structure for 30-300 years. Other elements change more rapidly. The most rapid change is for stuff in a building – it is constantly moving and being replaced.
These concepts were developed earlier in Systems Theory and Ecology (a Biology discipline)
If the natural rate of change for each layer is not accommodated then structures cannot adapt. If building services changes (e.g. a new air conditioner) require the framework of a building be changed, the building itself will likely be demolished.In the same manner, it is essential that some things in an organization be able to change rapidly. It is hardly surprising then that a business may seek a Cloud service to address a need if IT cannot respond on the necessary timescale.
There is another challenge to traditional EA – the discipline may be attempting to solve a Wicked problem that may be difficult or even impossible to solve, or for which the solution may create unanticipated changes because of unknown or uncharacterized dependencies.
ECM systems have traditionally been effective at supporting informal processes by providing a range of Collaborative tools such as Task Lists and Discussion Groups. The range of such processes has increased greatly recently with the development of Social Networking tools.
But not all tasks require group collaboration
You don’t see social network diagrams in most EA frameworks
The elements of an enterprise may very well be like a Ecosystem, much as the Enterprise operate in a business ecosystem.
We can see how organizations resist change
The battle between ‘classic’ Content Search as championed by Google and Social Networking as championed by Facebook has taken a dramatic turn – it has much to teach Enterprises wed to Repositories and Databases. Google has responded with Google+ --- will it succeed?
Early attempts at knowledge management (especially in the 1990’s) attempted to capture Explicit knowledge into repositories, with some provision for Collaboration to exchange knowledge. New Social tools have the potential to better enable the exchange of Tacit knowledge. Organizations are struggling to understand Social Media against a backdrop of the consumer web experience which is changing far more rapidly than their internal systems can change
Of the Primary Barriers, seen in at least 50% or organizations surveyed in this September 2010 McKinsey study, #2 Technical Tools are probably closest to being addressed – at least in terms of availability, if not appreciation of how best to use. The other represent major barriers.Talk about sociology, normal behaviour, biological bandwidth issues
Another McKinsey piece, from February 2010, by Davenport, proposed that there be a better understanding of when structure can be applied. The traditional approach to KM has advanced Free-Access as the best model.
These models of Knowledge management are compared...
Either may be preferred in different situations based on a classic 2x2 of Work Complexity vs. Level of Interdependence
When this article was posted, there was a lot ‘push-back’ from commentators
If we consider another dimension, namely the degree to which the task is undertaken by a computer, it is clear that over time the most Routine Individual tasks will no longer require humans, and that computer-systems will increasingly facilitate and then support business processes.These trends mean that increasingly the remaining jobs require ‘knowledge work’
Users are often far more involved than the classic 90:9:1 rule would suggest. It really depends on their motivation/interest
A personal story about an established community of technically sophisticated people wed to a technology from the 90’s when microblogging and wikis would now work better for some of their activities.
How do social technologies change knowledge worker business processes km methods - toronto july - sumner-smith
Martin Sumner-SmithVice President, Enterprise Architecture, OpenText<br />
Abstract<br />Knowledge workers represent an increasing proportion of staff in many organizations. However, the nature of knowledge work and the best way to support it with appropriate technologies is seldom clear. What is clear is that knowledge work is completely dependent on social interactions during both the creation and deployment phases. New approaches to social networking may prove to be very useful to knowledge workers. Although they have not received much consideration they likely represent one of the keys to competitive differentiation in the marketplace.<br />
Context<br />The Enterprise Content Management (ECM) field has traditionally addressed:<br />Unstructured data = Content<br />Unstructured processes<br />Knowledge Management<br />Is still a hybrid between paper & electronic in many processes<br />It is merging with Process Management<br />
ECM now encompasses previously disparate technologies<br />
Every thing that can be digital, is eventually becoming digital<br />Every thing that can be digital, is eventually becoming digital<br />6<br />
Reduce Compliance Risk</li></ul>Value<br />Business Process centric ECM(Content embedded in business process)<br />ECM Suite (Integrated solution)<br />Best of Breed(Specialized components)<br />Stage of Maturity<br />ECM Solutions Becoming an Integral Part of Core Business Processes<br />
ECM – ERP Priorities<br />Business Processes in Greatest Need of Integration with ECM<br />0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14%<br />Accounts payable (invoices)<br />Project management<br />Legal<br />HR<br />Sales/CRM<br />Maintenance/asset management<br />Customer service<br />Quality control<br />Case management<br />Procurement<br />In your organization, which business process is currently the most in need of integration with content/document management(N=120)<br />0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%<br />Greatest Benefits from Integrating ECM with Business Processes<br />Productivity benefits of linking documents and transaction workflows<br />Customer service improvement from immediate access to all related content<br />Which of the following would you say are the TWO biggest benefits of linking ECM with ERP and CRM(N=296)<br />Knowledge-sharing benefits of universal staff access to information<br />Compliance benefit of consistent records management across all data<br />Higher level of quality, less mistakes from manual cross-reference<br />Improved storage management and resilience<br />Commercial/strategic benefit of combined access to structured and unstructured data<br />Source: AIIM White Paper Connecting ERP and ECM: Measuring the Benefits<br />
The ThreePrimary Dimensions<br />StructuredProcess Unstructured<br />Formal People Org.Informal<br />StructuredInformationUnstructured<br />
“Organizations around the world struggle to crack the code for improving the effectiveness of managers, salespeople, scientists, and others whose jobs consist primarily of interactions—with other employees, customers, and suppliers—and complex decision making based on knowledge and judgment.”<br />15<br />
Human Resources</li></ul>- Complaints Boards<br />Process Step<br />Case Review<br /><ul><li>Task and resource assignment</li></ul>Content<br />- Case files<br /><ul><li>Status tracking</li></ul>- Tasks<br /><ul><li>Event management and scheduling (timetables)</li></ul>- Reference data – may be unstructured and structured i.e. similar files, cases, complaints, model letters, reports, records, correspondence, financial data, academic data, etc)<br />People<br /><ul><li>Administrators
Law Enforcement</li></ul>Process Step<br />Case Processing<br />- Respond<br /><ul><li>Request further documents if necessary</li></ul>- Task and resource assignment<br />Content<br />- Case files<br /><ul><li>Status tracking
Judiciary</li></ul>Process Step<br />Case Completion<br /> - Case may be archived if not completed after predetermined time period – skip step 4.<br />Content<br />Case files:<br /><ul><li>Structured and unstructured
Digital signatures</li></ul>People<br /><ul><li>Records Manager
Knowledge Manager</li></ul>- Web Designer<br />Process Step<br />Case Archiving (and Publishing in Some Cases)<br />Content<br /> - Final document in various formats: PDF, PPT, HTML document; print and paper<br /><ul><li>Case records indexed and full-text search enabled
Records Mgmt and Archiving</li></ul>Non-ECM Components<br /><ul><li>Digital Rights Mgmt</li></ul>ECM Components<br /><ul><li>Imaging</li></ul>Document Management/Repository<br />
Knowledge Maker vs. Knowledge Worker<br />“The transformational nature of classic ‘knowledge work’ rests with knowledge makers rather than knowledge workers. While knowledge workers manipulate knowledge, adding bits here and moving information down a workflow, knowledge makers create the knowledge that we all work with… Knowledge makers are the originating nodes in your social network.”<br /> - Mark P. McDonald, Gartner<br />Examples of Knowledge Makers:<br />Leaders: create context that mobilizes people<br />R&D: develop new ideas, processes and products<br />Factory: New ways of work<br />
Changing roles require different skills<br />Example<br />People tasked with Content Creation are seldom good at Content Promotion<br />But Value depends on use<br />ECM has traditionally consideredmitigation of costs ofProduction & Finding <br />Martin-fulcrum.blogspot.com<br />
Pace Layering<br />Shearing layers is a concept coined by architect Frank Duffy which was later elaborated by Stewart Brand in his book How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built (Brand, 1994), and refers to buildings as composed of several layers of change.<br /> - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shearing_layers<br />
Pace Layering…<br />Shearing layers is a concept coined by architect Frank Duffy which was later elaborated by Stewart Brand in his book How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built (Brand, 1994), and refers to buildings as composed of several layers of change.<br />The concept is based on the work of ecologists (O’Neill et al., 1985) and systems theorists (Salthe, 1993). The idea is that there are processes in nature, which operate in different timescales and as a result there is little or no exchange of energy/mass/information between them. <br /> - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shearing_layers<br />
Pace Layering<br />Brand transferred this intuition to buildings and noticed that traditional buildings were able to adapt because they allowed “slippage” of layers: i.e. faster layers (services) were not obstructed by slower ones (structure).<br />The concept of Shearing Layers leads to an architectural design principle, known as Pace-Layering, which arranges the layers to allow for maximum adaptability.<br /> - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shearing_layers<br />
Wicked/Complex Problems<br />"Wicked problem" is a phrase originally used in social planning to describe a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other problems.<br /> - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_problem<br />
“Many executives have a hazy understanding of what it takes to bolster productivity for knowledge workers<br />...knowledge work involves more diverse and amorphous tasks than do production or clerical positions, where the relatively clear-cut, predictable activities make jobs easier to automate or streamline<br />Likewise, performance metrics are hard to come by in knowledge work, making it challenging to manage improvement efforts”<br />
Primary Barriers<br />Physical<br />Geographic and time separation<br />Technical<br />Lack of necessary tools<br />Social or Cultural<br />Organizational restrictions, opposing incentives and motivations<br />Contextual<br />Not knowing who to consult or to trust<br />Temporal<br />Time, or rather the perceived lack of it, is also a critical factor<br />
“It’s time for companies to develop a strategy for knowledge work—one that not only provides a clearer view of the types of information that workers need to do their jobs but also recognizes that the application of technology across the organization must vary considerably, according to the tasks different knowledge workers perform.”<br />Free access to knowledge vs. Structured provision<br />
Free Access<br />Primary/original approach for:<br />Autonomous workers with high degree of expertise<br />Attorneys, designers, marketers, scientists, senior execs, ...<br />Assumed to be capable & disciplined<br />Technology<br />KM systems, Internet, social media – public and private/corporate<br />Structured Provision<br />Appeared in the 1990’s<br />Technology<br />Content management systems, workflow/BPM, portals, collaboration/social<br />Newest = adaptive case management<br />
Free Access<br />Benefits<br />Enjoyment, positive feeling<br />Best when work is unpredictable<br />Negatives<br />Workers lack skills <br />Metrics not easy<br />Requires discipline<br />Structured Provision<br />Benefits<br />Reduced distraction<br />Load-based routing<br />Embedded rules<br />Negatives<br />User resistance<br />Reduced socialization<br />Reduced agility<br />
Established Community Behaviour<br />90’s style discussion<br />Older but technical users<br />Resistant to social networks<br />Not using the best tool<br />Martin-fulcrum.blogspot.com<br />Post here<br />
Premises Reviewed<br />Enterprise Architecture:<br />Tends to focus on structured information and processes since these are ‘easier’ or more visible than unstructured<br />Tend to miss rapid change, that may be the most important<br />Underestimate the human dimension<br />May be a wicked problem<br />The proportion of knowledge workers in workforces is increasing<br />Some structure is being introduced to knowledge work<br />The relevance of newer social technologies to enterprises is still being determined & developed<br />