IBM/FileNet went to the extreme of holding a four-hour mock trail here at AIIM in which the fictitious companies Allied Claims Processing and Inland Insurance tried to wriggle out of producing documents or paying fines related to breach of 400,000-plus private customer documents. I didn't stick around to hear the verdict.
Don't get me wrong. As discussed at length in this week's Q&A interview with AIIM president John Mancini, records management and retention and, certainly, information security and access control are hugely important topics and disciplines that must be addressed. Nonetheless, Tony Byrne of CMS Watch helped me put my finger on what I don't like about this style of marketing. Tony recounted a high-level executive at a major ECM vendor boiling the records management pitch down to selling ROI, but in this case the acronym stood for "risk of incarceration." CMS Watch contributor Seth Gottlieb added that "firms don't really want to excel at records management, they merely want to be good enough to avoid getting into trouble." Yes, every firm should become proficient at records retention and management, but it's just not very inspiring, business-driving stuff.
As for SharePoint, Microsoft is attempting to do in the ECM arena that same thing it's doing in Business Intelligence: offering the basics at a low cost so you can expose it to every information worker. And borrowing from the same script used by BI rivals, established ECM players slam Microsoft on its ability to scale, it's ability to deal with heterogeneous environments and its requirements to upgrade to Office 2007 and Vista to get the latest functionality.
Microsoft's Jeff Tepper, corporate VP of the Office Business Platform, delivered a keynote address here on Tuesday in which he laid out Microsoft's vision for a "holistic information management experience." The presentation even broke into a product demo. That's not my idea of a "keynote," but many attendees in the packed ballroom seemed eager to hear and see more about what's billed as easy, low-cost content management.
SharePoint already has some 10,000 corporate customers and more seats than all other ECM vendors combined, by some estimates. So it's not surprising that fresh announcements about SharePoint integrations are a dime a dozen here at AIIM Expo. Executives from EMC and Open Text, to cite just two examples, told me all about their archive links to SharePoint, both of which let you archive content from far-flung, departmental SharePoint instances into their "more robust, secure and centrally administered content repositories and records management regimes" (another shared script). Thankfully, they didn't say a word about the risk of incarceration.Compliance mandates and legal risks are a big focus here at the AIIM show in Boston. Also everywhere - the keynote lineup, the press room, the collateral material, etc. - are presentations, announcements and references to Microsoft SharePoint. I'll get to SharePoint and parallels between BI and content management in a moment, but first a few thoughts on fear mongering.