Features: November 26th, 2018

Information management expert David Jones
discusses why digital transformation may be being held back

For some it’s an overused phrase, but every
organisation really is on some kind of a Digital Transformation journey. The
heart of such a journey: understanding, anticipating, and redefining internal
and external customer experiences.

The problem: digital transformation is being
hampered by a rising tide of information that is overwhelming organisations.
According to The State of Intelligent
Information Management
report published earlier this year
by AIIM, the leading association representing the information management
profession, while most organisations continue to increase the number of content
systems they use, the majority of critical business content (54%) remains
outside of these content management systems — making them increasingly hard to
find and manage.

Progress is being made when it comes to managing
specific types of information and processes, but clearly organisations face an
increasing volume, variety, and size of content assets that must be managed.
The increasing volume of incoming
information, and the speed at which we must ingest this information is plain to
see — and legacy/manual approaches to this are struggling to keep pace. But
it’s often under-appreciated how the sheer size
of the files that must be managed is also a factor. There are more digital file
types (videos, images, audio files) that organisations must manage today than
ever before. This creates ongoing information governance challenges, especially
for assets that must be managed over long retention periods.

These new kind of  ‘rich media’ challenges are becoming an
increasing issue in the public sector. For instance, more and more law
enforcement agencies such as the Police are using CCTV and body-worn cameras on
officers as a means to gather evidence, and these rich media files need to be
effectively managed. And it’s not just law enforcement firms — NHS Trusts
struggle with CT/MRI scans, X-rays, photographic records of patient injuries
and progress of conditions, etc. Meanwhile, local authorities are dealing with
the rise of photographic-based citizen records. All of this is contributing to
Information Chaos, and none of the traditional enterprise content management
(ECM) systems were originally designed to properly work with these types of

The Scope and Scale of the Information Chaos Dilemma

Public servants working under these conditions
are struggling, particularly when it comes to information), access and
retrieval. Finding the right information in a timely way is a big problem
identified in the aforementioned AIIM study by three out of every four  (76%) of respondents. Other big issues
identified in the AIIM survey was information overload by (75%) and the cost
and/or difficulty of managing legacy applications by (65%). Keeping up with
compliance regulation (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA) features as a problem for nearly
two-thirds of respondents (64%).

AIIM also asked how easily practitioners could
integrate information across systems:

  • The ‘Inability to connect information from
    different systems’ was an issue for 79% of respondents
  • ‘Scaling our information management systems to
    other processes beyond the original deployment’ is recorded as an issue by 71%
  • Meanwhile, a lack of integration between content
    management system and core business applications is acknowledged as a headache
    by over three quarters (74%) of those polled.

The scale and
nature of information management has changed, and legacy document document
management (DM) systems and  ECM
solutions no longer cut it  in today’s
fast-paced digital world. The good news is that a successor technology, the
Content Services Platform (CSP), is emerging to help, and can deliver real
benefits to the public sector.

The Content Services Platform – a Modern Approach to Information Management

provides  the foundation for a modern
approach to information management because it’s built using modern technology —
not technology that was  built 10 (or
more) years ago, in a time before mobile and cloud had taken off. That means it
can natively manage all of today’s data and content types — video, audio,
social media, etc.— not just scanned documents and Word files.

Plus, CSPs can
act as an organisational information hub
— not just for data and content stored within the CSP itself, but by connecting
to information stored in the multiple (legacy) systems deployed throughout the
organisation. This is key, as a CSP can provide a Police Force, NHS Trust or
Town Hall users with a single place to go to in order to store and retrieve
information, reducing time wasted searching for files across multiple systems.

By connecting
disparate information systems, the actual value of what lies in those legacy
systems can be unlocked, and the many data-driven applications and potential
analytic-led digital public services many of us would like to see can finally
start to be delivered.

No need for rip and replace

Many public
organisations are now realising how they can  deliver significant cost-savings by reducing
search time, increasing access to information, and enabling information sharing
via the cloud and mobile devices. This, in turn, results in higher productivity
and rapid return on investment (ROI).

So as a sector
let’s consider the future of information management. While modernisation has
pushed many organisations to update their IT infrastructure, many aren’t ready
to take the full leap yet. However, CSPs can actually help with IT
modernisation by preparing organisations to move towards new systems at their
own pace — and in turn, to better serve their employees and service

Rather than using
a ‘rip-and-replace’ strategy, with a CSP connecting systems together, migration
becomes  an ongoing process towards
legacy system retirement, done over a more relaxed timescale that a rip and
replace project. This reduces the impact and disruption on the users and  ultimately delivers a long term reduced cost
of ownership. Indeed, without a CSP — or technology like it — the British
public sector will continue to struggle along, never truly boarding the train
to start the Digital Transformation journey. It will persist with solutions
that were fine for yesterday’s problems, but not for today’s challenges, let
alone tomorrow’s.

The author is VP
of product marketing at