Information Faster Blog

HP TRIM for SharePoint and the Enterprise – Launch vs. Reality

By Kris Brown 


We launched HP TRIM 7 last week, and for the most part the press coverage was about the new SharePoint integration. Now don’t get me wrong, as one of the team that is responsible for the product and the launch, I would say we accomplished what we set out to achieve regarding our SharePoint support. But what we actually set out to achieve beyond that, may not necessarily be as apparent from what you read in the media.


In the press last week we saw a lot of this…


“The fact that a large company like HP recognizes the need for this type of management in the enterprise is significant. Companies are being flooded with information, while at the same time, they come under increasing pressure to monitor and in some instances, control this information.”    Fierce Content Management


 “Given the number of organizations that are now using SharePoint and are considering SharePoint 2010, the new HP TRIM modules are quite timely and probably not the last module we are likely to see for TRIM.”   CMSWire


And yes, HP TRIM 7 can seamlessly manage SharePoint content, not just documents.  Yes, it can help an organization archive information based on our lifetime management policies.  And yes, I think that we are extending SharePoint to a place where almost any organization could consider it for their frontline information collaboration platform.  But that’s not all we introduced in this launch!



HP TRIM also introduced a range of other new product features and enhancements. So here is a laundry list of highlights that hopefully will put some of the constabulary at rest… for now...



ThatTRIMGuy’s Top Ten HP TRIM 7 Enhancements (sans the SharePoint Integration):




10. A brand new SDK set, including SDK.NET and SDKUI.NET.  Separating our user interface components from our standard SDK, enables our partner and developer community to build even more extensible add-ons for HP TRIM 7;



9.   While this isn’t necessarily a functional enhancement, the acquisition of TOWER by HP, has meant that HP TRIM now has access to all the power of the testing and performance tools that HP development teams have. Which only means good things for the customer base!



8.   Full DoD 5015 v3 certification including all chapters Baseline, Classified, FOI and Privacy, ensuring HP TRIM continues its tradition of being one of the most certified products on the market. For the record, SharePoint 2007’s certification has expired and SharePoint 2010 doesn’t have DoD certification at the writing of this blog;



7.   Unicode support, ensuring our ability to move towards providing access to HP TRIM in all markets around the world;



6.   New search engine improvements, including parametric searching, and the ability to provide effective filtering by a search;



5.   User settings that follow the user through all of the HP TRIM 7 interfaces, such as favorites, recent documents, saved searches and even labels (which are now hierarchical);



4.   New Mini Crash Dump facilities to help you and the help desk provide detailed error information;



3.   New architectural features, like providing more efficient transport of database requests in WAN environments, for even faster search results;



2.   New workgroup features including distributed event processing, allowing multiple workgroup services process a single event type for an even more scalable solution; and



…. the # 1 HP TRIM 7 enhancement…. a brand new Web Client!


But this is only a short highlights reel, there are many other significant improvements, including 64-bit support, improved record type scalability, new email drag and drop functions, schema report and repair, and updated platform support.


So don’t judge a launch by its press coverage alone… If you’re reading this… then the coverage did its job. But as you can see above, HP TRIM 7 has introduced significant new features and improvements for all of our customers!


If you are in Australia in late March, be sure you register for TUF 23, our annual user forum.  If not, look out for HP TRIM 7 at an industry event near you!


Follow me on Twitter @thattrimguy


And become a fan of TRIM on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/HPTRIM-7-Facebook  


 

What would you say if... An HP TRIM for SharePoint Primer – Part 2

By Kris Brown 


What would you say if I told you, you can have fully compliant records management for SharePoint, without the hassle of doing records management (RM).  You’d probably say I’ve already read that blog, and it's time you told me something else.



Then what would you say if I told you that you can archive SharePoint sites, using automated rules to a Department-of-Defense-compliant Records Management platform.



HP TRIM 7 has recently introduced a new module that does just that.



In conjunction with the new HP TRIM for SharePoint Records Management module, HP is proud to announce the HP TRIM for SharePoint Archive module.



This module makes use of the same set of functions provided to the RM module, including Lifetime Management Policies, but allows organizations to manage, finalize, relocate and archive information from the site level and above.



Have you ever been involved in a project team that utilized a team site for collaboration?  How many times did you revisit that site after the project ended?  Probably not very many, if at all.  However, I’d be almost certain in saying that this team site still exists, is still being crawled by SharePoint, and is still returning results for searches.  While that might be important for a short time after the project ends, it is likely that a lot of the information created on that site will become stale, and perhaps even inaccurate.  Returning results from this site, could lead to an incorrect decision in the future.



SharePoint performance will also be affected by this continued growth of team sites. This is one of a  number reasons for CIO’s not formally deploying SharePoint across their entire organization.  The lack of control of the growth of SharePoint or put another way, the success of SharePoint to capture the users' information, is a key reason to put in place a records management system.



I hear you say is that you don’t want your users to be burdened with Records Management.  Well, HP TRIM 7’s Archive Module utilizes Lifetime Management Policies to seamlessly transfer information from SharePoint in the form of entire sites, and site collections to HP TRIM.  No user interaction is required, other than to use SharePoint in the way it was designed.  The records management burden is removed from the user while records management rigor is applied to important information as deemed so by the Records Manager.



And let’s be honest…  90% (or maybe even higher) of any given user base cares very little for the regulatory needs of an organization… But the organization still has those needs. HP TRIM 7 can meet you in the middle, allowing the experts in records to manage the information, and the experts in their fields, HR, Finance, Operations etc etc, get on with using SharePoint as a tool to get their work done.



Watch for more HP TRIM 7 updates…  including all things NOT related to SharePoint.



Follow me on Twitter @thattrimguy


And become a fan of TRIM on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/HPTRIMFacebook

What would you say if... An HP TRIM for SharePoint Primer – Part 1

By Kris Brown


What would you say if I told you that you can have fully compliant records management for SharePoint, without the hassle of actually doing records management (RM)?


Or if I told you that you can let your user base collaborate freely in SharePoint, without the fear of losing control of the critical business information?


I suspect you’d say:  GREAT, but what’s the catch?


There is no catch. HP TRIM 7 has recently introduced a pair of new modules that do just that.


And this solution is coming not a day too soon. SharePoint sites the world over are housing more and more business sensitive and business critical information, and CIOs, IT and Storage Managers are constantly asking how are they going to control not only the growth of their SharePoint environment, but also the records that are contained within SharePoint.


So here we go...  The HP TRIM for SharePoint Records Management module introduces four new features to the RM space in SharePoint.



  • Manage

  • Finalize

  • Relocate

  • Archive


These four features provide the capability to capture and manage any SharePoint content. Not just documents, and definitely not just things in a specific web part!



  • Manage – This feature allows you to take a copy of the object and put it in HP TRIM, where metadata, retention, classification and security are all applied automatically, according to rules set in SharePoint.

  • Finalize – This feature allows you to take a copy of the object and put it in HP TRIM, where metadata, retention, classification and security are all applied automatically, according to rules set in SharePoint and mark it Final. So no further edits can be made.

  • Relocate – This feature allows you to move the object and put it in HP TRIM, where metadata, retention, classification and security are all applied automatically, according to rules set in SharePoint, and still allow it to be edited from HP TRIM.

  • Archive – This feature allows you to move the object and put it in HP TRIM, where metadata, retention, classification and security are all applied automatically, according to rules set in SharePoint, and mark it Final, so it cannot be edited.


The powerful Lifetime Management Policies in HP TRIM 7 are a key enabler for these new capabilities. They are built into SharePoint, and provide a Records Manager or SharePoint Administrator with the ability to set rules around ALL different types of SharePoint content (not just documents!).


For example:


On a SharePoint HR team site, the HR users might go through an employee on-boarding process, with applications for jobs, interviews and the like. This type of information would require all sorts of different retention, classification and security. Based on SharePoint Content Types, user names and the metadata required by the SharePoint team site, HP TRIM’s Lifetime Management Policies can automatically place those objects including calendar items, announcements, and discussion items directly into the HP TRIM Records Management platform.  Once there, they will be managed according to the rules set by the administrators -- all without the need for the user to interact with TRIM.


In fact, users will not need to see HP TRIM or even have it installed on their desktop. They can continue to work in the SharePoint environment they are familiar with and the organization can feel safe in the knowledge that the information created is managed in the way that the Information Management policies of the business dictate.


It certainly doesn’t get any easier, or more transparent than that !!


Check back for Part 2 – HP TRIM for SharePoint – Archive Module.


 


Follow me on Twitter @ thattrimguy
And become a fan of HP TRIM on Facebook http://tinyurl.com/HPTRIMFacebook

HP TRIM 7… How we got here?

By Kris Brown


With today’s launch of HP TRIM 7, I thought it might be time to reflect on how we got here. So for effect, blink your eyes very quickly alternating from left to right, to have us fade into a dream sequence.


The year is 1985. Ronald Reagan is sworn into a second term as US President.  “We are the world” is released to raise funds for the famine in Ethiopia. Mike Tyson wins his first professional fight, and Michael J Fox stars in “Back to the Future”. Norway wins the Eurovision song contest, and Australia pulls out of the MX Missile project.


Here in Australia, 1985 is the year that a gentleman by the name of Brand Hoff and his partner Peta Hoff founded a small business called TOWER Software, in a garage in Canberra – Australia’s capital. The purpose of the business was to develop tools to help with the recently created Australian Standard for Records Management, the AS 4390. The first series of these tools were a card based system, for want of a better explanation, like a Dewey Decimal library system that allowed organizations (mainly Australian Government departments) to meet their compliance requirement forced upon them under the newly created standard.


Times changed, and so did the government… slowly… but TOWER Software and the IT industry in general ploughed forward. TOWER Software then released its first computer based product, a physical records management system for the VAX. Then came early Windows versions of the software, and in 2002 TOWER Software released TRIM Context v5, a platform for Document and Records management. It was this year that I joined the fray.


I had no prior experience with records management, and it didn’t really matter all that much as I was only a part of the team responsible for the TOWER Software office network. But it wasn’t long before I gained a strong appreciation of what the team around me was so passionate about. Joining the sales team, in a series of technical roles over the coming years, I got to know the customers and the challenges faced by these same organizations that Brand and Peta had endeavored to help some 20 years back.


TOWER’s records products were seen as one of the best in the market, but analysts were forced to comment that the reach of a small Australian company meant that it was going to be hard to break into the bigger markets, like the US and Europe. Hard… but not impossible, as TOWER successfully implemented some of the largest and most awarded implementations of information management software on the planet.


Market consolidation meant that lots of little players were gobbled up, as the larger vendors strived to meet the ever challenging demands of the marketplace, picking up technology from these smaller companies and making them a part of their overall product line. Hewlett-Packard, one of the largest IT companies in the world, did the same, acquiring TOWER Software in 2008, but with one subtle difference. Rather than cannibalize the technology and abandon the product, they kept almost all of the staff from the TOWER acquisition and told them to build the next version of what is now known as HP TRIM.


And - there were no other products that HP TRIM had to compete with internally unlike a lot of the other acquisitions: IBM/FileNet, Opentext/Hummingbird/Vignette, and Autonomy/Zantaz/Interwoven/Meridio. HP wanted to concentrate on the product that was HP TRIM, and add the backing that only a company like HP can bring to a product.  And so, HP TRIM 7 was born.


With a series of new innovative features such as transparent records management for SharePoint, backed by the 25+ years of information management industry expertise, HP TRIM 7 is a firm commitment to its current and future customers. We’re confident we have a product that not only can compete on the big stage, but can continue to do what it has always done: Provide excellent solutions to information management problems.


This all started in 1985… Old Coke, became New Coke and then very quickly became Old Coke again. Records Management was a requirement back then, and while document management has been the flavor of the month for a while, the world has changed and information management is now more important than ever. And just like Wrestlemania, HP TRIM is still here to help!


Check out some of the new stuff at www.hp.com/go/imhub/hptrim!


I personally was lucky enough to be a part of this ride for many years and while I am still waiting to buy my first Hoverboard, I can’t wait to see what we do next with this product.


That TRIM guy

Developing the Framework for Smart Customer Communications

By Scott Braynard


With the rapidly approaching integration of smart grid technology utility companies are faced with a new challenge -- managing the explosion of data that will soon bombard them.  With this increase in data, companies will have to focus on developing a strategy to manage and effectively utilize the influx of information provided by the new smart meters. This increase in data provides a unique opportunity for utility companies to enhance customer service through more transparent billing. 


Just imagine tailoring communications to each customer based on their specific needs. An informative webinar explores how utility companies can ensure they are prepared to capitalize on the new smart meter movement, delivering personalized communications to customers so that they can make informed choices about energy consumption, and ultimately, drive consumer behavior.


Join the discussion webinar:


— What: HP Exstream webinar: Developing the Framework for Smart Customer Communications


— When: Wednesday, January 27th, 2:00p.m. EST


— Where: Click here to register


 

Tags: Exstream

How Gore Mutual uses document automation...


By Scott Draegar


It’s often been said that some lessons just have to be learned the hard way, but I’m not convinced that’s always true.  Sure, you don’t really know just how hot the stove is until you burn your hand but when it comes to implementing new software – well; don’t we all have a pretty good idea of just how painful that can be if you don’t have a plan? At HP Exstream, we are often lucky to be able to share some success stories about our customers and their software implementations. We have a new one that we are proud to share. 
 
Working for a technology company that provides software and hardware solutions, I know I’ve spent a good portion of my career counseling clients on the best migration path from legacy systems and/or how to efficiently bring new systems online.  While nothing can replace the actual customer experience, it’s a smart move to listen to someone else share success and pass along some of their hard earned lessons.
 
Gore Mutual Insurance Company, Canada’s oldest property and casualty insurance companies, recently presented an informative webinar about how document automation technology is helping them drive their business to the next level.  They also shared lessons learned along the way, including how their phased approach eliminated many of the common pitfalls associated with implementing a new software solution. 
 
View the webcast here: https://h30406.www3.hp.com/campaigns/2009/events/CorrespondenceSolutions/index.php
 
So whether you are concerned with gaining efficiencies, growing your business or enhancing customer satisfaction, this webinar guarantees to provide valuable insight on the right steps to get you there. 

Tags: Exstream

When the sun sets... and... when a vendor obsoletes your solution...

By Scott Draeger, HP Exstream Product Manager


Last night as I sat at my desk working later than usual, I couldn’t help but notice the sun has already begun to set much earlier than it did even a couple of weeks ago.  And that got me to thinking about the downside to “sunsets”. 


Now don’t get me wrong, I love sunsets as much as the next person.  But if we’re being honest, sunsets aren’t always good thing.  Case in point, working in the technology industry I’ve seen plenty of mergers and acquisitions which have left countless solutions and services “sunset” – meaning the newly formed company would no longer support or invest in these products/services.   As a point of practice and in the interest of the existing customer base, many of these companies will then offer an “upgrade” path to another solution – but is it a good idea to take it?


A former colleague of mine recently moderated a very informative podcast on the subject of “sunsetting” lead by a couple of industry-leading document composition experts who provided great insight into what companies can/should do in the face of product “sunsetting”.  Among some of their recommendations:



  • Use this as an opportunity to evaluate what else is on the market.  After all, if a solution/service is being sunset, then it probably means there are other solutions with more robust capabilities – just don’t assume the upgrade your vendor is touting is the best one. 

  • Take time to perform due diligence and see what other offerings are available.  It’s important not only to evaluate functionality, but also look for a solution that can consolidate disparate systems and establishes a solid enterprise platform for your future business needs.

  • Look for a technology partner who is reliable and committed to continued innovation – that’s the only way to know you won’t find yourself in the same situation later down the road. HP Exstream has a nearly 10 year track record of continued support of our customers' business investments. In almost all cases, version 1.0 applications from 2000 can run on 2009's Version 7.0 engines with no modifications at all. We are the only ones out there who have respected business investiments and have delivered innovations for a decade.


So if you’ve been informed that the sun will soon go down on your beloved solution, do not fret – help is just a click away.  You can hear the podcast in its entirety at www.hp.com/go/exstreamfreedom.  And here’s hoping you emerge from the darkness to face a brighter day. 

Tags: Exstream

DoD 5015.2 Version 3 includes Freedom of Information and Data Protection process management

Three of my colleagues just returned from the certification testing of TRIM against the latest version of the DoD 5015.2 standard, and once again TRIM has been certified against all chapters, which gives us an unbroken certification since the standard exists.  This time around the certification was interesting because version 3 of the standard introduces some new functional modules including Web client, XML import and export, and the new FOI and DP chapters.


The FOI and DP chapters contain requirements to enable the processing of Freedom of Information and Data Protection requests. As such they move into a new field of business process management, albeit records related.  The document and workflow management features of TRIM, as well as the reporting module came in handy. Naturally, all of this TRIM functionality can also be used for other document automation processes, such as application processing, complaints handling, contract management etc. From that point of view I think that certification against these chapters is valuable not just for records managers, but for any business manager who wants to streamline document processes with the added benefit of having the documents managed as records at the same time, without any additional effort.


Once again it leads me to make the point that records management needs to be an integral part of all processes, rather than being looked at as a separate discipline that can be added "after the fact". (I know, I keep going on about this, but it is important...) 

TRIM Web Content and Records Management

There is no doubt that a lot of  web content constitutes business records and must be managed. The question is which is the easiest way to achieve this?


If the Web Content Management (WCM) system is the main tool for the creation of the web content, then it should provide an integration with the records management system, consistent with the integrations with other authoring applications. The HP TRIM WCM system allows you to configure rules that automatically capture web pages as records when they are published. The rules can vary between different sections on the web site, so that you can exclude non-records content. If you want to capture regular snapshots of the whole site, you can use the site capture scheduler.  This will automatically render the whole site into static HTML pages, zip it up, and store it as a permanent record in the HP TRIM repository.


If the Web site is used for the publication of content created from other systems, then it makes sense to use the records management repository as a source for that content. Use the integrations of the authoring applications with HP TRIM  to capture the version that you want to publish as a record, and then publish it from there. The WCM module allows you to publish records in three ways, all of which interactively extract the record from the central repository:




  • Hyperlink to a single record


  • Fixed list of links to selected records


  • Dynamic list of links based on search criteria

If you use HP TRIM for document management, you can define at what point a new version of a document gets published, based on rules.  This allows you to automatically publish a new major version of a document as soon as it is declared; or you can make the process manual by the users assigning a publish date in the document management client.


If the Web site is used to publish interactive forms, it becomes part of a communications process with your customers. You will want to capture the submitted forms into the records management system to bring them into context with related correspondence and transactions. The WCM module allows you to capture forms as a combination of metadata and rendered form in various formats.  It even allows you to automatically start off a HP TRIM workflow process when a form is submitted, allowing you to automate your business processes.


Because the HP TRIM WCM module is based on standard technology such as XML, XSLT and CSS, it can be configured or customized to publish data from other applications as well.  Whether you want to capture records as part of these integrations or whether you want to capture the records as part of an integration between the source application and HP TRIM records management directly, varies from case to case. Our professional services specialists can help you analyze the requirements and figure out the most effective approach. The high level of out of the box integration between HP TRIM WCM and HP TRIM records management not only gives you a head start, it also means that you are dealing with people who have the integration experience, both at a technical and at a conceptual level.


 

Demystifying HP TRIM's integration tools

Recently I have been providing quite a lot of advice to customers who want to embed TRIM tightly within their enterprise information topology and automate their information flow as much as possible.  I think it would help many of you to understand what tools are available to create a truly unified information management experience.


For the technically minded among you, HP TRIM provides a software development kit (SDK) which allows integration from COM based legacy applications, .NET languages, and through a Web Service in service oriented architectures (SOA).


And now I try to use a few less three letter acronyms (TLAs). Basically these integration tools allow your programmers to write software code to automate the same functions that your users perform in the HP TRIM interface.  This way you can reduce the impact of recordkeeping on your users as much as possible. I have seen many customers who have integrated HP TRIM with line of business applications to automatically capture or present documents and records at defined points in a process. I have also seen extreme cases where independent software vendors have created completely new line of business applications on top of the HP TRIM platform. Because all the business rules of HP TRIM are inherent in the integration tools, these applications are automatically compliant with corporate records management policies.


In addition to making the HP TRIM functionality available to programmers, the SDK also provides the ability to reach out to other applications and to extend the existing HP TRIM functionality through the following mechanisms:


External Link - This mechanism is the easiest way to call an external application and doesn't even require you to write code.  You simply define the path to the external application and what command line parameters you want to pass to it. The command line parameters can be dynamically extracted on execution based on metadata from any selected HP TRIM object. A example use case is where a planning authority stores the map coordinates of building applications against the property record in HP TRIM and uses them as command line parameters for an External Link to a geographical information system.  The users can view a property record in HP TRIM and press a button to start the GIS system and show the property on the map.


Field Add-In - This mechanism allows you to write code to query external systems or databases during record cretion in HP TRIM. You can use it to validate entries of metadata or automatically populate metadata in HP TRIM record profiles. An example use case of this is where an organization uses a field add-in to retrieve the staff ID from an HR application when they profile personnel files in HP TRIM.


Records/Base Object Add-in - This mechanism allows you to execute your own code when your users create or modify records or other objects in TRIM. You got different events at which you can execute your code, such as object initialization, pre-save, post-save, delete. A use case of this is where an organization wants to update a customer relationship management system whenever a customer correspondence is filed in HP TRIM.


Custom Event Processor - This mechanism allows your code to be notified of every single audit event in HP TRIM and to execute functionality accordingly. I have used this mechanism myself to remove copies of records in external systems whenever the original record in TRIM was destroyed.


Now that you are aware of the possibilities, you can let your creativity run wild!  HP TRIM makes sure that you can't break the records management rules when you use the tools. 


If you want assistance with your integrations, our professional services organization has some very creative and proficient HP TRIM SDK specialists. 

Help cutting down on information duplication - send pointers rather than documents

Many people are very helpful and attach documents to e-mails.  This is convenient for the recipient who needs them to complete the task the e-mail asks for. However, for many other people and for the organization, every document attached to an e-mail can have negative effects.


For people who aren't so lucky to have an e-mail archiving system the documents help reach their inbox quota much more quickly. Many times users put emails in which they were cc'ed into a low priority pst file, where they can read them at a later point without losing valuable server space.


For the organization, any document attachment that gets downloaded into a pst file means another uncontrolled copy of the original. If the e-mail was seen as low priority initially, it is highly likely that the recipient forgets about it altogether, or doesn't get around to it until a really quiet time sometime around the holiday season. That means that thousands of uncontrolled copies of documents float around the organization at any particular time - a nightmare for anyone thinking about e-discovery and records management.


To solve that problem we need to start right at the beginning.  Why did the sender attach the document in the first instance? Documents are usually sent by email because it is easier than sharing them by another means. This is commonly the case where a document crosses the boundary and firewalls between two businesses, but there should be no reason for this to be the case inside an organization, where it is much easier to set up document management systems that allow all staff to access a shared copy of a document. Of course, it must be easier to save a document to the shared system than it is to save the document to "My Documents" and email it from there. This is why we integrated HP TRIM very tightly into the Office applications.


Once the document is available in a shared system, we then need a means to let everyone else know that it has been added.  In HP TRIM we provide an alert function that notifies users when new documents or versions that meet their alert criteria have been added to the system. In cases where the author still wants to send an e-mail, they can use HP TRIM's "send to e-mail recipient" function.  This function sends a pointer to the recipients that allows them to access the document directly from the shared area, preventing copies of the document from being sent around. In the case where the author uses the function to send a document to a whole list of recipients, some of which are HP TRIM users and some of which are not, HP TRIM intelligently sends a pointer to users and the actual document to non-users. 


Aside from cutting down on uncontrolled copies, sending pointers instead of documents has additional benefits: 




  • The document is protected with HP TRIM's extensive security features at all times


  • The HP TRIM audit trails log exactly which recipient has accessed the document


  • The recipient are guaranteed to be aware of all versions and know which one is the authoritative one


  • The recipients can easily navigate to related material inside HP TRIM

The sending of pointers can also be used by HP TRIM's workflow module to deliver the right information to the right person at the right time, without having to create unnecessary copies.


 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! - What is your resolution?

And so we start another year of blogging, emailing, instant messaging, powerpointing, and whatever other means we have to contribute to the information explosion. During the holiday break we had time to reflect on our life and most of us have come up with ambitious resolutions for 2009, mine are fairly mundane and mainly waistline and fitness related...


There is a group of records managers in the UK who not only took the time to come up with resolutions, but went to the extent of laying them down in a Records Manager 2.0 Manifesto. You can find the full text on Steve Bailey's records management futurewatch blog. I like the manifesto because it encourages progressive thinking about employing new technologies to manage information, but with a clear focus on the user and enough pragmatism to recognize organizations need to be able to cope with change and implementation.


It looks like change in the role of records managers is accelerating. In the world of paper records management the records management department took almost full ownership of the task of filing, classifying, storing, maintaining, and disposing records. Then, around the change of the millennium, came a big change - information started to take on volumes and distribution that made it impossible to print it all for the purpose of record keeping. The reaction was to create electronic records management systems that allowed the classification of electronically stored information into predefined structures to apply the necessary rules and context to electronic records. The records management department's role changed from being the provider of physical records management services to becoming the administrators and support department of a system that had to be used by other employees in the organization. Not only did records managers have to come to grips with that change themselves, they also had to learn about how to encourage change to work practices in other departments.


What becomes clear from reading the Records Management 2.0 Manifesto is that the role of records management now needs to extend its focus from compliance and regulation to include the exploitation of information. We have always seen that the user uptake of TRIM was much higher in organizations that used it to improve information sharing and collaboration, and to streamline document workflow processes, i.e. embed it into their business processes rather than just implement it as an "after the fact"  compliance regime. Users react more positive to the carrot than the stick and we are always looking for opportunities to embed records management technology even more into their line of business applications and automate the compliance aspect. New technologies in data-link visualization, mash-ups, user defined folksonomies, data-push etc. can all be used to go to the next level and turn a collection of records into an active business asset by providing the right information to the right user at the right time. While it is up to us technology providers to bundle these tools into useful applications, I see that records managers will be the ones who need to work with their organization to analyze what information is the right information to provide in which place.


I think that the key to success is that technologists and records managers work closely together and my resolution is to encourage and facilitate this dialog wherever I find an opportunity. I look forward to talking to you!

What's in your closet?

If you are anything like me it is mostly filled with clothes you haven't worn for the last five years. You often think about the need to have a sort out but you don't get around to it. And then when you eventually resign yourself to it you can't bear to throw anything away, so you move the older clothes to the closet in the spare bedroom.


 And then ....  you remember the white tee shirt with the blue stripes which is just perfect for the barbeque you are going to this weekend - where is it?  After searching thorough the racks in all the closets in your house you can't find it.


Well paper documents are pretty much like that - we fill filing cabinets with them. Then we move the older documents to archive boxes and store them in warehouses. Most companies have many warehouses filled  with archived paper documents, some use external vendors as off site storage.


And what happens when a particular piece of correspondence is needed - perhaps for legal reasons,  to resolve a customer issue, or in the case of oil exploration to find the documents relating to the oil field that is now worth drilling twenty years later. You guessed it - major cost and time spent searching. 


A much better alternative would be to digitize all new paper documents as soon as they come into, or are generated by, your company. You can then keep them in a unified records management system that combines all related documents and records into an easily searchable and accessible repository.


And what about the old paper documents? Well, you will need to have a sort out - sorry! But, as you work out what needs to be kept, you can tag it and manage it from within the same unified records management system - HP TRIM. A bit like having your own wardrobe authority to bring you just the right clothes for that barbeque after all.


 

Tell the truth about your IT projects

Apparently some people fib about the purpose of their IT projects. 


Earlier this week I attended a briefing by a company who runs web surveys on IT spending. The briefing covered a survey about IT spending on compliance. The gist of it was that compliance is seen as very important even during a recession.  Over 60% of the respondents said that it was easier to get budget for IT projects that involved compliance than for those who don't.  According to the presenter this trend has led to some projects being misrepresented as compliance projects, where their purpose was really something else.


In HP IM we have been working hard to ensure that our customers can implement productivity improvement projects that deliver compliance at the same time. Our tools in the document workflow transformation solution incorporate the same compliance rules as our tools in the governance and e-discovery solution. This is based on the full recognition that compliance is not a separate discipline or project, but needs to be built into all processes and daily work practices of an organization. The many success stories that we get from our customers are testament to the fact that this approach works.


So if you need to fund a productivity project and you feel that a compliance angle will help you get the funding, here is a solution set that allows you to implement both at once.

Penny wise, Pound foolish?

Did you know:




  • A US bank does 11 round trips to the moon a year. This is the result of daily courier runs delivering paper from their branches to their back office operations center.


  • Many mortgage lenders in the US cannot produce the original loan document demanded by the courts to enable foreclosure - they can't prove they own the loan. This has led to some judges suspending foreclosure proceedings.

Why is this? Is it the case of "penny wise, pound foolish" - not investing enough to integrate paper-based tasks and processes with digital workflows? Or is it a case of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - nothing is done until the business pain gets really intense. Like the company that spent $6M to find the single email they needed to prove regulatory compliance.

Have you had an information nightmare?

By Rhys Jones


To celebrate Halloween and the nightmare season we are offering a US $1,000 shopping spree at the HP online store to the person that tells us the best story of an information disaster. We are interested in hearing about disasters that impacted – or could have impacted – your backup and recovery, challenged your records management or compliance and e-discovery practices. What went wrong and why? How did you recover the situation? What lessons did you learn? Could it happen again?


So what are you waiting for? Submit your story here!


 

Your reporter on the ground :Gartner IT symposium

This week over 6000 people converged at the 2008 symposium. For those not lucky enough to attend here are a few snippets that I picked up relating to transforming document intensive workflows and information. What do you think? Do you have any best practices or maybe pitfalls that you can share?


1. For the last 3 years the top CIO business priority has been to improve business processes and this shows no sign of changing. In fact, with today's economic situation, it is more important than ever - to improve productivity and cut costs. For example, do you know how much it costs your company to manage each invoice? If not, find out - and then look at ways to significantly bring that cost down. Get those paper and manual processes out of there!


2. There are always warning signs when any major business disruption occurs, it is just that we may not have been looking in the right place. A submarine commander doesn't use a periscope to look inside the submarine - so make sure that your company has the tools and ability to find the information it needs including emails, customer letters, im's, paper documents etc.


3. Executives all say they want to use information as a strategic asset -  but this is easier said than done. In most companies, information is one of three things - an asset, a liability (think of those lost emails that have cost companies millions in court, or that customer letter you know was in that filing cabinet somewhere) or a distraction ( think of all those old versions of draft documents that still exist and you can't remember which was the final one).


So, start by removing the biggest distractions, the ones that cause the most problems, then you can free up resources to reduce your information liabilities and maximize your information assets. And save your company money while helping them to grow. 


4. Finally a couple of new "buzz words" for you -


* Context Aware Computing ( give people what they need when they need it)


* Frictionless Networks (for global, transparent business collaboration),

Are we moving into the Collaboration Age?

Over the last 200 years we moved from the agricultural age to the industrial age, and then on to the information age. Many of us now believe we are on the cusp of a new age - the Collaboration Age. Driven by the need for global operations but local, personalized products; driven by the need to vastly speed up innovation and yet reduce costs dramatically.


Here's an interesting article I recently came across that discusses the need for an electronic collaboration strategy within today's pharmaceutical companies, and goes on to highlight some tools that can be used to speed up time to business benefit. In my mind it applies to all companies that want to survive and flourish:


http://www.worldpharmaceuticals.net/editorials/014_sept08/WPF014_electronic.pdf


 What do you think? Is the collaboration age here or is it still on its way? What are your companies doing to make sure they are leaders and not followers? And how are they transforming their business operations and processes to meet this challenge? Let's get some great dialogue going and collaborate!


 

Sell more and improve customer experience - personalized marketing

Today, more than ever, it is important to retain your existing customers and increase what they buy from you. Competition is fierce and the cost of acquiring new customers continues to grow. At the same time companies are looking for the best ROI on their marketing investments. How can IT help?


What is it that we all read? What lies around on our desk - in front of us - until we pay? Yes: statements and invoices. So, what an opportunity to get relevant targeted messages to your customer base! But notice the words relevant and targeted – success lies in targeting me, sending me information that I want and will act on. I want a personal experience tailored to me and my lifestyle. So it is very important to:




  •  Remove irrelevant information from the statement - material that I don’t need 


  •  Use data mining to extract information about me and target my needs. For example, a credit card company can analyze what I buy over time and incorporate offers specific to my buying patterns.

And it doesn't stop with statements. What about shipping notices, event tickets, explanation of benefits?


Your customers will be happier when the amount of unpersonalized direct mail from you reduces and, if they are like me, those inserts do go straight into the trash unread. Your direct mail printing and mailing costs will decrease – impacting your bottom line. And response to your offers will increase – improving revenue.


As you plan your next steps, here are some key technology success factors.  You will need the ability:




  • To include transactional variable data


  • To create personalized documents with rules-based messages


  • For end users to be able to design and create documents, and collaborate on content, design and rules creation across the extended enterprise


  • To deliver through high-volume or on demand printing 


  • To keep an easily findable record of every customer communication  – for case management, governance and potential re-use.

 

To split or not to split - How many HP TRIM datasets do I want?

By Urs Raas - Market consolidation creates ever larger, more diverse customers for HP TRIM. I often get asked whether to implement a single HP TRIM dataset across the whole enterprise, or create multiple datasets at a departmental level.  My answer is "it depends".


As a document and records management system HP TRIM can be used to manage information through all stages of its life. The emphasis on any particular stage will affect how you configure your implementation. You will find that HP TRIM scales to virtually any size of organization, but you need to consider the amount of detailed processes that you are going to implement and their effect on your users. 


If there are too many different content types, options, and workflow processes available to the users, the system can look complex, unless you pay careful attention to hide irrelevant data by means of security and access controls.  While this is absolutely possible, you need to consider the administrative overhead against the alternative of creating separate datasets. Separate datasets have the advantage that they are easier to administer because contol data, such as workflow templates, contact types, lookup values etc.can be configured from the view point of a single business purpose, rather than having to consider the needs of many business units with different interpretations of the same terminology.


Mapping your processes to show the departments involved will give you a clearer picture of your information flow through the organization, showing some natural boundaries to use in the planning of the deployment. I have seen customers with a few hundred users implement multiple datasets because some of their active document workflow automation processes worked in complete isolation. On the other hand I have seen customers with tens of thousands of users implement a single dataset because they used HP TRIM purely for records management of inactive documents, with one generic process across all their departments.


HP TRIM does not require a single dataset to be deployed, just to share a common infrastructure.  Multiple datasets can be run on a single server. HP TRIM manages the data tier to ensure clear separation of metadata as well as document storage between datasets.

Disaster Recovery and Paper don't mix

This week on TV we sadly saw what damage mother nature can bring as Hurricane Ike hit Texas. The newscasters repeatedly showed us the 75-story JPMorgan Chase Tower in Houston where Ike's winds shattered most of the windows on the eastern side of the building and sent furniture and files hurtling onto the streets below. And blowing around in the street were masses of paper documents - many marked confidential.

 

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago, one major oil company was not able to start pumping for several weeks after it repaired its oil rigs - as vital regulatory and environmental compliance paperwork had been lost in the wind and rain.  They lost over $2B in revenue.

 

A major international telecommunications provider stores its small business customer records as paper folders in a single paper filing office - which is not fireproofed. If that room and those records are damaged they will lose all knowledge of their customers - including their installation configurations and what equipment they have. The impact on customer service and revenue would be huge.

 

As well as disaster recovery plans for your technical infrastructure,  you need to consider the impact that the loss of paper records and documents can have on your business. By digitizing them and storing them in a record management system that is protected under your IT business continuity plan you can help minimize those risks to your business.

 

Save money through scanning on demand

By Urs Raas


After I talked about storing records in boxes on shelves I had a lot of questions from my colleagues in HP why our customers wouldn’t just scan all of their records and throw away the paper?  Aside from the fact that some of the records may not be in a format that can be scanned, such as prototype samples of manufacturing products, or chemical samples from clinical trial, the cost of digitization can be forbidding.  This is not the cost of the scanning equipment or its operation, but the preparation of the material, such as retrieval of the files from storage, removal of staples and other binding material etc. I just recently heard of a customer importing a catalog of 490 million paper records into HP TRIM, a staggering number for which digitization would not be a viable option.


And this is where the concept of “scan on demand” or “scan on request” comes in.  As described in my last post, HP TRIM allows users to search the catalog of paper files on-line, through their Web browser and place requests on any of the material that is of interest to them.  Traditionally these requests were printed as a “pick-list” for warehouse staff to retrieve the items and courier them back to the user.  In a scan on demand environment the file is picked of the shelf, but rather than couriered to the user it is scanned by a scanning office in the storage location. 


HP TRIM can automatically assign the scanned image with the catalog entry for the paper record and from that point onward the users can read the file on-line, rather than having to request it.  The whole approach makes sense because it prevents money from being spent on digitizing records that are never looked at again.  Once a user has requested a file and it has been scanned, it remains available until its retention period expires and  any user with the appropriate access rights can read it online, which will cut down on future courier cost. If you are still delivering paper files to your users, you may want to contact us, we happen to have some excellent scanning solutions…


 

Document Workflow Transformation - What's in it for me?

By Suzanne Prince


Let's take a quick look at some tangible business results achieved by our customers:



  • Reduced response time for customer inquiries from 24 hours to under 3 seconds

  • Loan processing time reduced by over 60%

  • Order fulfillment reduced from up to 2 weeks to 15 mins

  • Reduced office space by 20%

  • Reduced staff costs by 25-30%

  • Saved 1,000 lawyers 8-10 hours a week

Why not be the hero in your company and help achieve results like this?  Or are we missing something - what's getting in the way? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

The "Age of Innovation" meets the "Paper-Digital Divide" -- aka Document Workflow Transformation

By Suzanne Prince


Thirty three years ago Business Week magazine predicted the "Paperless Office" - so why isn't it here yet?  And if that truly is an impossible dream, then why can't we at least reduce paper by digitizing externally received documents on their arrival into our companies and then process them throughout their lifecycle as digital documents? Why can't we bridge the paper-digital divide?
 
Just think about buying a house without having to sign all that paperwork - couldn't we just do it once? Why do our doctors store our medical records in paper folders that can get lost, destroyed and can't be shared quickly with hospitals in an emergency?
 
Why worry about this? Apart from my personal frustrations ....  when I bought my house, drowned in paper work, and had to sign a very long name over and over again. Because it is impacting each of our companies' ability to compete in the global world we live in.  It impacts productivity, profitability and ability to change quickly to new market demands. And we all want our companies to be the winners, don't we?
 
We read books such as the current hot shot "New Age of Innovation: Driving CoCreated Value through Global Networks"  where the authors say that the biggest winners will be those that build a global ecosystem of partners with flexible access to materials, products and expertise.  How can we do this when we are bogged down with inflexible, paper-based business processes such as my frustrating mortgage application?
 
The top business priority for CIO's around the world is to improve business operations and processes (HP 2008/2009 CIO agenda study). In the next few blogs we will explore how our Document Workfow Transformation solutions help do this, but for now we'd really like to hear from you ... what is stopping the Paperless Office in your company?


 

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  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • For years I've been doing video and music production back and forth between Boston MA and New Orleans LA. Starting in 2010, I've began working with Vertica (now HP Vertica) in the marketing team, doing customer testimonials, product release videos, and website management. I'm fascinated by Big Data and the amazing things my badass team at HP Vertica has done and continues to do in the industry every day.
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