I had expected that it would take another 3 weeks to release this, but my second book is now available for purchase! As promised, this is more of a business strategy book, and less of a technical book... however, Andy and I did sneak in some good implementation details along the way. We designed this book so every member of your ECM team should get something useful out of it.
The purpose of the book is to present what we call a "pragmatic strategy for content management." For multiple reasons -- both political and technical -- it is rarely feasible for all of your content management products to be from one vendor. Perhaps you just merged with another company and you each have different vendors; perhaps you need blogs and wikis now and cannot wait for your ECM vendor to create a decent offering; perhaps SharePoint has grown like a fungus in your enterprise, and now you need some way to manage the insanity.
Some say the solution is rationalization: consolidate all content into one system... but that's not the whole story. You don't want to wind up like those poor saps running Lotus Notes, do you? Your users will rebel if you take away their nice collaboration tools, or if you tell them they can't have new ones. Entire departments will collapse if you eliminate content silos without any concern for users' productivity.
Instead, the pragmatic approach is to do the following:
- Consolidate content when possible into a "strategic ecm infrastructure." This can -- if desired -- be the single repository that satisfies all your content management needs; however this is not a requirement.
- Federate content services to tactical and legacy applications. This means managing content in other repositories with a combination of enterprise search, universal records management, and enterprise mashups.
- Secure content wherever it lives. Ironically, in most cases your data is only secure when it is not in use! Once you move it from one system to another, it is at risk. Your information should always be secure, whether it is locked down in a database, or in a USB thumb drive at the bottom of your sock drawer.
The book is 250 pages long... but you don't have to read the whole thing. The chapter breakdown is as follows:
- The State of Information Management: a good grounding in what exactly ECM is all about, and why it is important.
- A Pragmatic ECM Architecture: the steps you need to take in order to realize the value of an ECM initiative.
- Assessing Your Environment: make a big list of what needs to be done, and by whom. Which content should be consolidated, and which is best left where it is?
- Strategic ECM Infrastructure and Middleware: this is the "strategic" part of the puzzle. Consolidate to this system whenever cost-effective, and extend it to your portals and enterprise applications with SOAs, ESBs, or ECM standards (WebDAV, CMIS, etc.).
- Managing Legacy and Non-Strategic Content Stores: all the tools for "tactical" integrations with systems that are not (yet) cost effective to consolidate. Your content management strategy should never punish you for failing to consolidate: the goal is to make content manageable.
- Secure Information Wherever It Lives: tools for making sure content is secure, even when it leaves a secure repository.
- Bringing Structured and Unstructured Strategies Together: your ECM initiative should be a part of a broader information management initiative. This chapter presents tools that helps you bridge this gap.
- ECM and Enterprise 2.0: here we present a (better) definition of Enterprise 2.0, and how ECM fits into the ecosystem. It presents a strategy for Pragmatic Enterprise 2.0, and explains how many Enterprise 2.0 initiatives could fail without a comprehensive strategy.
Chapters 1, 2, and 8 are relevant no matter which vendor you use for Enterprise Content Management. We do mention Oracle numerous times, but you can just BLEEEEEEP over that if you use tools from different vendors.
Chapters 3 through 7 show how to implement a "pragmatic ECM strategy" using Oracle tools. Some of this data may or may not be relevant to non-Oracle customers. In most cases, you should find it helpful to see what is possible, so you can determine the distance between where you are now, and where you want to be tomorrow.
I worked pretty hard on this, and I'm relatively pleased with the results... but I'm sure the haters out there will find something to complain about ;-)