It’s critical that business do a better job of inspiring information professionals in an increasingly social and mobile era, the overriding theme of AIIM Conference 2012 in San Francisco.
That goal is reachable by engaging IT and content managers with a combination of new enterprise social media technologies, a number of speakers and session leaders at the conference said. Additionally, there are lessons to be learned from organizations that have excelled at engaging customers outside the company firewall.
“Social, local and mobile technologies are shifting information management and driving organizations to create new systems of engagement,” John Mancini, president of AIIM (Association of Information and Image Management) said during his opening keynote. “My belief is that employee and customer engagement are key to leveraging technology.” That, in turn, he told the 670 attendees, leads to business success.
New systems of engagement
Mancini’s keynote opened two and a half days of often animated addresses and breakout sessions described as valuable by many attendees, and for different reasons.
“This conference was definitely relevant,” said Bob Malloy, a senior information officer for the World Bank. Malloy, who is new to the field of information management, said he picked up some valuable insights to share with his organization, which has about 18,000 staff, consultants and contractors in 126 countries.
“We need to look at reducing some existing offerings [and] be more persistent at attempting to close some of our network drives,” Malloy said, noting that was one valuable takeaway from the conference. “The other,” he said, “was to not be so scared of entering the cloud.”
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Some attendees found useful information where they didn’t expect it. The QR Code seminar led by Billy Cripe, principal at Bloom Think, a mobile and social technology consultancy, was one such example for San Diego County IT Program Manager Steve Durham. One of Durham’s business managers asked him to attend the seminar because the county is preparing to implement QR codes to be displayed at 15,000 restaurants so patrons with smartphones can instantly call up a specific eatery’s latest heath inspection results.
“Had I not gone,” said Durham, “I probably would have implemented three of the five things they said not to do with QR Codes.”
Among those, said Durham, was an admonishment from Cripe, to make sure QR codes point to a dynamic, mobile-enabled website, not a static page as San Diego County had envisioned.
In his presentation, “To Make Sense of Data, First Make Sense of People,” New York University Adjunct Professor Clay Shirky talked about the buildup of commercial and organizational intelligence. There is a “cognitive surplus” among a large group of people who previously were not networked. It was up to business to figure out how to use that “messy human aggregate,” he said.
Durham saw some opportunity for that in Sand Diego County’s public health and environmental health departments.
“We can use social media and not have to worry about the scientific accuracy or the scientific experience of the people we ask for the information,” Durham said.
Michael Chui senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute talked about organizations that should facilitate enterprise adoption of social technologies to enable faster access to expertise, reduced costs and other business benefits. He said that while “there’s lots more work to do to help higher-level knowledge workers greatly improve their effectiveness and efficiency,” the transformation to a bottom-up culture that enables enterprise collaboration requires help from the top.
R. “Ray” Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research Group presented “How Mobile and Location Convergence Will Drive Context in the Future of Apps.” He pointed out that the “five forces of consumerization” – mobility, social media, cloud services, big data and video – are being pulled together to deliver a connected experience with great efficiencies.
He described an app that enables users to use their smartphones to, for example, view a street in Amsterdam that can identify which apartments are for rent and at what prices. If such a tool was modified for a utility service technician to pinpoint houses without power or inefficient or inoperable appliances, he said, it could mean “massive cost savings” by simply speeding up the process of making diagnoses.
Ultimately, how big data will be mined and how organizations curate the information will divide the digital haves and digital have-nots, he said.
At the end of the conference AIIM COO Atle Skjekkeland said organizations must empower staff with mobile technology and mobile-enabled information management processes, provide better technology than workers have at home, make business truly social mine big data and commit to the cloud. Anything else, he noted, would be costly.