John Mancini – President AIIM

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Mancini, President of AIIM, the community of information management professionals. Discover how content management is shifting towards customer experiences and engagement in a world of social, mobile, Big Data and the cloud.

The interview with John Mancini took place at the occasion of the Global Directions 2013 event, starting Monday, where John talks about intelligent information management, one of the key topics of the conference. AIIM, the leading information management professionals community, recently looked at the evolutions in this area and found several challenges regarding strategy and integration.

In the research and white paper, in collaboration with Kodak alaris, AIIM found that the main factors for the future success of their business, according to the respondents, were 1) accurate, consistent and compliant customer communication, 2) fast response to customers on all fronts and 3) providing a customer experience to match the best in their industry. Other key success factors include connecting with customers on ther device and at their location of choice and coordinated customer response across all channels.

Customer experiences first, intelligent information management as one of the ways to make it happen, data, speed and coordination for a multi-channel consumer, regardless of device. Indeed, the right information at the righ time, another link with content marketing. They are all recurring topics in the other interviews at the occasion of the event as well. As Ovum’s Richard Edwards put it: Today’s fast-moving business environments presents major opportunities for enterprises that have the vision to raise their sights and their games to become “customer-adaptive”. Time for that full interview with John Mancini.

Content management is changing and the “ECM” term is feeling strained

The Global Directions 2013 overarching theme is ‘Fast Data for Fast Business: Intelligent Information Management Across the Enterprise’. What, in your view, is intelligent information management all about?

John Mancini: Intelligent information management combines analytics, collaboration, organizational processes and mobility to create systems that better engage customers, employees, and partners.

Since a few years, it seems content management is once again hot. But now we’re confronted with the disconnect between IT and the rest of the business. Digital has become so pervasive across the enterprise and its’ ecosystem that we need to connect the silos we created. What is the big picture here, according to you? How can IT and the business connect again? And how is the traditionally still more IT-oriented world of ECM evolving under changing business and customer demands?

John Mancini: Driven both by the mainstreaming of content technologies and the entry of consumer technologies into the enterprise, there has been a dramatic evolution in who buys content management and how they approach the content management buy decision.

In the recent past, much of the following was/is true…

  • The focus of IT was on cost reduction.
  • Senior executives were largely technology oblivious (one CEO recently told me, “I viewed IT as a big hairball I just hoped would go away.”)
  • Job security was found in system complexity.
  • As mobile and social entered the world of systems of record, initially just their sheer existence was a source of competitive differentiation.
  • System implementations were long and paid for by capital expenditures (CAPEX).
  • Technical skills in and of themselves had value.

Businesses start putting the customers and their experiences first and start dropping the channel first mentality. The content management industry starts using new terms and talks about experience management, customer engagement, etc. instead of content management. Where do you see the major underlying shifts happening in these efforts on a product level. How are ECM solutions changing?

John Mancini: Content management is certainly changing and the “ECM” term is feeling strained:

  • The lines blur between structured and unstructured information.
  • Processes begin to replace content at the core.
  • The convergence of Social, Mobile and the Cloud are creating a “content” value proposition in consumer markets.
  • It is increasingly difficult to determine where “industry” ends and where it begins.

Content management has always been viewed through the prism of technologies — what it IS. I think increasingly content management will be viewed through the prism of what it DOES.

Making business sense of big data: where content comes in

What, according to you, are the main challenges for the ECM and collaboration industry today? In your analysis keynote at Global Directions you’re talking about intelligent information management and the customer experience. Is this where the major challenges are? The famous maybe somewhat black and white migration from systems of record to systems of engagement? More focus on the customer experience?

John Mancini: Forrester talks about how the combination of cloud, SaaS, mobile, social, and analytics dramatically changes the nature of collaboration, making it possible for the first time to truly address all of the grey areas of our business processes.  They call this opportunity “Smart Process Applications,” and I think there is a great deal to this line of thought.  Every industry has processes that at first glance seem automated.  And at the surface level they are.  But the reality beneath the surface is that most processes have countless branches and outcroppings where right now lots of manual and ad hoc collaboration occurs.  It is in the automation of these “exceptions” that enormous opportunity lies.

Big data, big content, fast data, you name it. Even if big data is probably hyped a bit, it’s clear that we’re living in a world of data, connected with information, people and business goals. What is the major impact and role of big data according to you?

John Mancini: As businesses try to make sense of big data, I’m reminded of how contradictory forces – like the yin and yang principle of Chinese philosophy – can bring balance to a situation in order to move it forward.  In my opinion, there is an over-emphasis on big data technology and a need for a balancing focused on the business side of the big data equation. Lots of new data scientists will be needed in the years ahead to interpret all of the data we are generating today. However, we also need a new set of talents and strategies that allow us to act upon these insights. To exploit big data, the interdependency between technology and business must be addressed so business managers can minimize risk to focus on the benefits.  And at the center of how we will ACT upon the INSIGHTS gathered by big data will be content. And lots of it.

More trends and evolutions

Winning the Paper Wars – report by AIIM

Winning the Paper Wars – report by AIIM

AIIM recently looked at how we still use so much paper. It seems that the paperless office is far away. Yet, at the same time IDC says the market of document capturing and management solutions is booming. What trends do you see there and how can we reduced the paper mountains?

John Mancini: Conversations about the paperless office have been floating around the industry longer than I have been President of AIIM, and that’s a long time. A couple of things seem obvious to me.  Will there be less paper than before?  Yes.  Will there be more digital assets to manage than before?  Yes, exponentially more. Is capture being driven closer and closer to the point of document creation?  Yes.  Is paper going away? Not anytime soon. Thus organizations have to build strategies that recognize that we will be in a hybrid world for the foreseeable future.

You know the industry inside-out and understand where the dots are getting connected. What major evolutions and trends do you see in the market the coming years? What should an organization start doing right now from the content and information perspective to be ready for those evolutions?

John Mancini: In the new world we are moving into, much of the following is/will be true and organizations need to align their strategies with these changes:

  • The central mission of IT is morphing toward value creation.
  • Senior executives are much more technology aware than they once were.
  • The coin of the realm is now simplicity rather than complexity.
  • We have quickly moved into an environment in which mobile and social are becoming table stakes rather than differentiators in an enterprise IT strategy.
  • The desired purchase mode is by the drink rather than by the gallon — in other words, operating expenditures instead of capital expenditures.

A final question: what key areas is AIIM working on now for its’ members?

John Mancini: Underlying all of our services is a commitment to delivering services that are impartial, independent, and based on standards and best-practices drawn from our 80,000+ member community.  This community – drawn from the buy side of the industry, the sell side of the industry, and everything in between – is the core of our value.  We focus on 1) developing awareness among executives of the role content plays in reducing cost, engaging customers, managing risk, and transforming work; and 2) helping build the skills and careers of those trusted with implementing these key content initiatives.