Tagged: Document Management

IBM Insights highlights

Last week I had the privilege of attending IBM Insight 2014 in Las Vegas. The largest Big Data conference in the world that focuses on Business Analytics, Information Management and Enterprise Content Management. As someone with a keen interest in both Analytics as well as ECM it was the perfect place to learn a bit more of the solutions IBM offers – or is planning to offer – in this space.

Out of the many highlights of this week three stood out for me personally:

1. IBM Watson Analytics: A cloud  based solution that allows you to upload a data set and get an in depth data quality & relationship analysis back in the form of graphs and infographics. Combining cognitive computing & analysis to deliver predictive business analytics.

I was a bit skeptical about all this but had the chance to play around a bit with it in one of the usability sessions and must say I really liked it. It’s currently in Beta status but I can’t wait to see the end result and to use it in my own environment.

2. IBM Navigator:  This one threw me a bit because of the name as there is also the IBM Content Navigator that I was familiar with already. Where Content Navigator is an on-prem user interface & toolkit that allows access into existing CMIS enabled ECM systems and offers a great level of integration with other systems -without being tied into any of them-, IBM Navigator (without the “content”) is a cloud implementation of that same interface but with a fully functional cloud ECM solution already behind it. Allowing organizations the ability to utilize the cloud ECM with user interfaces & mobile applications without having to install or maintain the heavy systems that are required for most enterprise ECM’s themselves. Now I have to admit I don’t know the full extent of what this product is going to offer and what its limitations will be as I’m currently still awaiting access into the IBM Navigator beta to try it all out but what I’ve seen and heard so far is promising. Especially for SMB customers who don’t have the knowledge or capacity to maintain an Enterprise level ECM but do require the functionality.

3. Case Management: This isn’t a new product but simply one I hadn’t been around yet and that really ticks a lot of boxes for me as someone with a strong interest into ECM related business processes.  “Case management is built around the concept of processing a case, which is a collection of information and coordinated activities by knowledge workers or case workers. […] It looks at repeatable business problems from the perspective of the knowledge workers, and empowers the knowledge worker to solve those problems. Bundling the case information, documents, rules, and all the tasks that might be required to solve the business problem into a flexible solution“.

I really enjoyed working with this one in one of the labs. It allows you to quickly create and adjust case oriented applications with workflow, task management and content management by easily configuring properties, forms and process flows. Currently this is not yet available in the cloud but I understand there are plans for it. If it does become available as a cloud solution (perhaps as extension to the IBM Navigator platform?) it will open up a lot of possibilities to the larger SMB market as it provides a single ECM framework that includes case management, content management, processes, records and analytics in a easy to manage way.

There were many more products and announcements there and I’m sure others would have probably named other highlights but for me these are the things that really peaked my interest. Some might have been around for a while now but were simply not on my radar before. Others were entirely new.

Currently I’m signed in and awaiting access to several of the beta’s and reading up on more documentation. I hope to post more about these as I continue learning!

 

Engage user group – session slides

I had the honor of being able to present two sessions earlier this week at the Engage usergroup event in Breda, the Netherlands with two great co-speakers. The slides of both sessions have been published to Slideshare:

Getting to the core, requirements gathering in the wild

Sophie Lavignac-Le Madec & Femke Goedhart

The basis of any good project is good requirements. Knowing what it is you are going to build / get determines whether your project will be a success or a flat out failure. In reality though the requirements phase is often trivialized or even forgotten. This session will give you tips & tricks as well as explain to you the basic techniques on how to effectively get to the core of the requirements, identify ways of prioritizing them and explain some core concepts of Functional and Technical design elements. Coming from a requirement gathering as well as development & customer point of view Femke & Sophie will take you through some of the real life examples they have come across and a lot of do’s & don’ts they have seen (and despaired over)

Social sharing vs. organised structure. Must you select only one?

Stuart McIntyre & Femke Goedhart

So you have connections (or you are thinking about it) and you want to know what it can do for you in the sense of *socialy* managing files but you don’t really know how that concept works or if it would work for your organization.Tags or folders, share or private, community files or personal files, meta-data and document types? What does it mean and where do you start?
Stuart McIntyre and Femke Goedhart will take you through the ups and downs of social file management. When to use it, when not and what you need to know about file and document management to have the discussion if this should replace the department file share.
Coming from two different backgrounds – and often butting heads about this topic – Stuart & Femke will pitch the points and concepts that you need to think about with managing your documents in a social environment and show you examples on how and where to use IBM Connections to do so.

slides: Social Document Management and CCM (BLUG 2013)

BLUG 2013 Leuven (delivered March 22nd 2013)

PDF version for those who prefer that over slideshare: blug2013-Social document mgt

BLUG – speaking of social document management

Yet again Theo Heselmans and team have managed to do the impossible: get an absolutely fantastic line up together for the upcoming BLUG event in Leuven, Belgium on March 21-22.

I’m honered to say my session “Folksonomy versus Taxonomy, Social Document management in IBM Connections” about document management in general and the new integration of libraries in IBM Connections (CCM) in particular was accepted and I look forward to seeing so many from the IBM community in just over a month!

 

Connections Content Manager: Social document management in IBM Connections

One of the more exciting announcements at IBM Connect 2013 to me was, without doubt, the announcement of the enhanced CCM (IBM Connections Content Manager) edition. “Exciting?” you ask? Yes exciting but apparently not to all as I was amazed to find it got quite a lukewarm response from a lot of others around me. Ok, yes, I know, Document Management is my main area of interest so of course it would get me excited but I think a lot of people really didn’t grasp what it meant and what impact it can have and I can’t blame them as it is a difficult topic.

To be honest even I am still struggling to get all the details so to clarify it a bit I made a list of the things I got from all the announcements, sessions and discussions I had in the labs. Hopefully this will help others to better grasp why this is exciting and why it’s worth taking a good look at.

CCM, what is it?

  • CCM integrates Libraries with document management capabilities (Filenet) right into IBM Connections Communities by provisioning them directly from IBM Connections itself;
  • Provisioned libraries don’t have to be pre-created in a separate system but are in fact created right from the community itself when the Community manager (not necessarily an admin!) adds a Library widget, making it as simple as adding a wiki or blog to the community;
  • Security on the library is taken from the community (and updated on change!);
  • Community managers can create not just one but multiple libraries per community;
  • Community managers can set a name and document type to be used for that library (either one specific document type or all available) from the settings section within Connections;
  • Community managers can also set a parallel approval cycle on documents and determine whether users can add approvers to individual documents or not and determine if all or only one needs to approve;
  • Options to edit/add documents on the libraries/folders within the libraries can be restricted (community members will however always have at least read access to released documents);
  • There will be a special licensing model for Connections Content Manager edition (exact numbers haven’t been mentioned yet but indications are that pricing would be comparable to the current IBM Connections + Quickr model)

But what does this mean to the users?

  • Created libraries can hold nested folder structures which means we get actual and functional folders (and sub-folders!) with folder security in communities;
  • Meta data on the documents (determined by the document type) is visible and editable through the connections environment;
  • Check-in and Check-out & robust versioning guarantee single point of truth;
  • Better life-cycle management as authors can limit access to draft documents to themselves and any other editors they would like to include while released documents become available to all;
  • Automatic approval cycles on documents with the option of adding more approvers to individual documents on top of the ones set by the community owner;
  • Full social capabilities on the library documents (e.g. Likes, comments, following, download count, etc);
  • Full activity stream integration so updates and approval actions become visible in the streams as well;
  • Full and integrated Text & Meta-data search from within IBM Connections with the option to refine on Document types and meta-data fields across the community.

Ok. Nice… “but what is the difference between this and what was already there with the linked Library option we had for Filenet?

  • The Library components can now be installed right from the Connections Installer (it’s literally an option in the installer app). They can be added to the existing Connections Websphere Cell or to a separate one. Alternatively an existing Filenet environment can be used to provision the new libraries (teamspaces) but in general you don’t need full Filenet knowledge anymore to set it up;
  • Previously used Linked libraries had to be created and set up in Filenet first and required administrative involvement, the new Libraries don’t. Community managers can set them up and manage them independently. the only administration needed is to initially set up the document types to be used;
  • Multiple libraries can now be added to a single community to address different types of documents;
  • Administration of the new library (name, library/folder/document security, approval workflow settings, etc) are all set and managed from a settings configuration within IBM Connections, limiting the administrative load on the library depository side and allowing Community managers to manage their libraries themselves;
  • The documents in the libraries are fully indexed for searching from IBM Connections, including filtering on document types and meta data, making it a seamless integration instead of a separate container;
  • The library documents get the full social components from IBM Connections;
  • Out-of-the-box and seamless activity stream integration is included so reviews and updates appear in the users activity stream.

But what about….

  • IBM Docs, will it work with that? Well they are looking at that;
  • Document types?: You will still have to set them up through the library repository but once you’ve done that you are free to go and reuse those for any community. It’s just a question of really thinking through your file management requirements and setting it up and you’re all set to go;
  • Windows desktop client / browser plug-in / Microsoft Office plugins? Development of these are in a separate track but already underway. No ETA yet on when though;
  • Offline files like the new option for the personal files? ………. (silence there, still waiting for an answer);
  • Quickr? IBM will provide a migration agent to get documents from Quickr into the new libraries, but keep in mind there are some restrictions on this. I’ll try to write another blog on that;
  • Mobile?? Definitely being worked on and expected not too long after the release of IBM Connections 4.5

So all in all I think there is some neat things in there that are going to help a lot of customers who are currently hitting the limitations of file management in IBM Connections and don’t necessarily require full blown and complex workflow and document management. It brings together both the social as well as basic document management requirements a lot of companies have and in that respect is very exciting news.

It will be intriguing to see how additional requirements like complex workflow or specific meta-data requirements will be met in the future. For now those would still require a separate  license and use of for instance Filenet and the Content Navigator interface but as I understand the open social and CMIS standards that are used throughout Filenet and IBM Connections do mean more integration on these areas could be possible too.

So I’m excited! I can’t wait to get my hands on this and love that this is not something that is far away on some road map but will be released with the IBM Connections 4.5 code stream end of Q1. I think it will be a definite enrichment to IBM Connections and would encourage any customer with file management issues to take a good look at this.