Today we make a travel to Germany.
Today, I have the great honor to interview Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer, Managing Director and Founder of PROJECT CONSULT in Hamburg, Germany. He is as well a member of the Board of Managers of the DLM Network EEIG, the organization which administers the new records management standard MoReq2, published by the European Commission. He was also founder and chair oft he German association VOI and held different positions within the international association AIIM. In other words, he know the meaning of content and information.
Guten Tag Dr. Ulrich !
First of all, let me thank you for the time you take to make this interview reality and to share your knowledge about ECM.
So Ulrich, as usual I read information about my interviewee and I find a number : 30. You have been in the document, content and knowledge management industry now for over 30 years... For a young happy-go-lucky ecm consultant like me it's "Woooowww". Could you present yourself and main facts of your experience ?
And now what's your work day after day ?Well JM, it is not „in the industry“ because we both know that our industry, described as document management or enterprise content management, is not that old. Since 1976 I have been working with software in the field of analysis and documentation. My first computer projects were in the archaeology and soil sciences domain. I developed software for cartography, automatic classification of objects, statistics, video acquisition, documentation, classification and reconstruction system for archaeological findings. So my first document management projects were for museums and research institutes.
Later on, I was working for scientific research institutions, document management vendors, universities and consulting companies. This led me to combine theoretical academic, programming and system design skills with project management, business process analysis, moderation and solution design advising. July 1st, 1992, I founded my own consulting company, which is working in Enterprise Content, Records, and Knowledge Management field for end user organizations only. Beside that I was active in associations like AIIM, VOI, DLM Forum and others, and wrote some books, studies, lots of articles and other publications like our PROJECT CONSULT Newsletter.
Part of the day – when I am not under a tone of our customers sites – is filled with administrative work. I have to perform as Managing Director. In regard to projects I have to control quality of final versions of documents where I have the role of quality manager in the project. A lot of time is taken by email correspondence and phoning with prospects, customers, staff, freelance consultants, journalists and so. I try to reserve blocks of hours for writing reports for my customers, research or just contemplation. Some hours a day, when I'm in the office, I go to the internet – communities like XING, Informationzen.org, facebook, bloglines, publishing sites, industry portals a.s.o. When I'm travelling for seminare, customer workshops, or congresses, most of this work is delegated to the traveling and waiting hours. But most important of my time is spent with my customers in workshops, discussions, or meetings. It's not only to give advice but also to learn each day as well.
PROJECT CONSULT Unternehmensberatung GmbH works in the field of archive, document, content, records, business process, information lifecycle, and knowledge management only. With my colleagues at PROJECT CONSULT we have been running more than 200 projects designing information management strategies, carrying out analysis and design of organisation and processes, writing tenders, selecting products, solutions and system integrators, running projects as project managers or as quality control managers, conducting workshops, writing policies and legal expertises and so on...Let's back to future, I know it will be quite long but is it possible to summarize the computerization and dematerialization of information since you started your experience ?
We are small company combining hired staff with speciliazed free lance consulters. Our customers mainly come from Germany and Switzerland, but we have as well worked for supra-international organizations like UNEP or ESA, international companies in Europe and other clients from abroad. Clients come from all industries and our main task is to help them to solve organisational problems related to documents.
Beside projects work, we were engaged in the creation of standards like GEVER in Switzerland, the electronic archiving standards for the Federal Savings Banks Group, and the ECM standards for the Social Insurance Group in Germany, we engaged in MoReq2, ISO 15489 and ISO 19005, and more.
In the last 30 years I faced a lot of changes from host computers with character-only display, the first PCs, early networks, evolving internet and now all this 2.0 stuff. I looked on all the short-sighted developments of the hardware and software industry in the early years.
Imaging was born because host and early PCs could not display and handle images.Document management was born due to the restrictions of hierarchical file manager.Workflow was born to support collaboration and to conncect the users.
Our industry in the past lived by the errors and niches created by the IT mainstream vendors. This time is gone and our industry is loosing its USPs, Unique Selling Propositions. Document and enterprise content management is becoming IT infrastructure, dissolving at the middleware layer, becoming services, being no longer visible at the user desktop. Modern clients and web interfaces are enabled with the capabilities to handle documents, processes and other information assets.
We are living in a digital world and I sometimes suffer as digital native. Especially the last ten years have changed the perception of how we handle and how we use information. With 2.0 it is beyond everything our industry had developed as assets in the past. Document related technologies become integral part of every software application.
The worst idea in the CMS arena was to re-develop everything which had already been developed in the document management arena. The web guys often re-invented the wheel and created solutions, which didn't take care about compliance, documentation, consistency, authenticity, persistance and other issues. The web generated more problems for document management, records management and electronic archival than we had before and these problems are not solved today.
The best idea of content management was lately skipping the barriers between structured and unstructured information. The key is, to look at digital information as an integrative concept – data in an database is just information, content in an WCM is just another form of digital information, and records and documents are as well only different by format, legal or business value, it is all digital information, that may become - combined with logic, context and meaning - even knowledge. Modern information and content management solutions must and can handle any type and format of information. This is the important step to overcome the differences in systems and concepts of the past, which will lead to the development, that ECM and WCM will disappear inside the IT infrastructure. Their functionality will become part of standard software and operating systems, and will be a commodity in the near future
In functional domain is there the same or have you noticed an evolution? Is it possible to illustrate it with your own project experience?
Now let's talk about ECM, do you have your personal ECM definition?Yes ! There have been some interesting developments in the past years. On the one hand vendors add more and more functionality to their products or their products suite. End users often get overwhelmed with un-needed functionality. The big shots are offering suites which include almost every function somebody wants. Smaller vendors have been moving towards integrated solutions which special applications for certain industries.
There's some kind of special markets like the capture industry, compliance software offerings, email-management or archiving solutions for certain standard ERP or CRM products, and others, which are common to most vendors. And there's another trend in functionality to cover the gap in big software vendors product offerings like Microsoft with Exchange and Sharepoint, IBM, SAP or others. Business process management developed to an industry of its own like output management always has been – both are major components of the overall ECM concept. Although Enterprise Content Management has something like an universal approach, a lot of vendors focus on „filling-the-gap“ of Microsoft. If we look on all of these developments – standalone products, complete suites, “Gap”-solutions and new functionality entering from the Web 2.0 world, a lot of mid size vendors are in the danger of overstretching their resources. And even the big players do not manage to get their product offerings consolidated.
Today the most important applications in Europe are
• electronic virtual folders,
• “in-bound” capture systems for unified acquisition and distribution of information,
• automated classification and categorization,
• electronic long term archival (call it digital preservation in the archivists realm),
• Web-2.0-functionality inside traditional document management solutions,
• standardised records management for paper and electronic records combined,
• enhanced business process management including business intelligence,
• ediscovery and auditings solutions,
• portals with integrated document management and similar advanced ECM solutions.
Yes and no, I have a definition for ECM. I'm supporting the definition of AIIM international now for nearly a decade. It changed a little bit over time, but the message and the core ideas are still the same. You will find some books I wrote (for example the synchronized-three-lingual publication ECM Enterprise Content Management), lots of articles (even the entries in the German and English Wikipedia) lots of seminars and lots of presentation about this definition.
It is important that the industry sticks to one definition. A lot of vendors, analysts and consultants came up with definitions of their own – no better, no worse. But to help the market to identify itself with this complex software and technology environment, to position ECM besides other IT topics like ERP, CRM, Enterprise 2.0, and to help the end users finding the right solutions, to make them familiar with ECM, it is important, that we all tell the same story, have the same definition, and here it goes: „Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is the strategies, methods and tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization's unstructured information, wherever that information exists.“
I had the opportunity to read one of your report on ECM and I learned many good things about content management. Does your work participate to the elaboration of ECM Definition ? Do you work for a standardization of ECM with AIIM ?
I was fortunate to be one of the members of the AIIM Europe and the AIIM international boards of directors when AIIM developed ECM as new strategy for the future. So I had the chance to discuss issues of re-positioning the industry in 1999 (after the first internet wave) with AIIM officials and other industry peers. My first presentations about the new vision of the market where already in 2000 in London and Berlin. The roadmap was always developed by AIIM but it took the liberty to add some features and create my own image of the ECM message.
Today there are a lot of discussions if we should stick to ECM or if the community should move on the EIM Enterprise Information Management or Enterprise 2.0. The image of ECM is blurring at the edges as the big vendors like Oracle or Microsoft introduced their own interpretation of ECM (based on what their products do). So we might stick for a while to the current idea of ECM, but this will change within this decade and ECM will become history like microforms – still surving in niches, but no longer mainstream.
Do you make other contribution (Animation, articles, posts, forums ...) ?
Thank you for this question – the answer is YES! I wrote some books and studies – have a look on Amazon.de (German Amazon!). I was editor for a whitepaper series by AIIM with seven booklets. I have been member of the editorial board of MoReq2 standard. I am editor of the PROJECT CONSULT Newsletter, which covers the ECM industry in middle Europe since 1999. The newsletter is as well available as fill text database and on several social publishing platforms. There are lots of white papers I wrote for vendors like IBM, EMC, SER, HP and more.
And there lots of presentations including the slides, videos, multimedia and handouts. Most of the material can be accessed using our website http://www.PROJECT-CONSULT.com (in German), but I published as well quite a lot on www.scribd.com, www.slideshare.net, www.doxtop.com and other platforms (look for „DrUKff“ …).
I am running a discussion group about information & document management in four languages and with around 6.000 members on www.XING.com. Sorry, most of the material is only available in German language, but I have as well some whitepapers and presentations in English and French.
Do you have an explanation of ECM needs ? Is it normal the way of consolidation in content management (Document management, Web Content Management, Records Management, Information management...) into one system ?
It's not only about the integration of different components into one suite or system. The real challenge is, to make ECM known with the decision makers in the companies, who should by ECM solutions. I believe that quite a lot of components may be used as well stand alone in the future because ECM, as a whole, might be too complex for the users within a “normal” business organisation. And I already mentioned that ECM will become infrastructure/services. It will be important to avoid islands of information and to create universal federated repositories which can be used by every application, not only by ECM applications. To get a grip on information, to control information, to assure quality and correctness, to implement transparency, to support end-to-end processes, to bridge the existing applications and to help the organisation to be compliant – these are true ECM needs and ECM assets.
OpenSource has been playing a very important role in the WCM (Web Content Management) market from the beginning. It took some time before the first ECM open source products appeared. People find the interesting especially because there is a mix up of the terms freeware and opensource. Open source can be free ware, but it must. The market thinks of Open Source ECM products being cheap, being publicly available, being easy to adopt. This is not always true and I remember projects where the open source implementation was more expensive than a standard product solution!In 2009, can you advise us on public meeting/ event or conference we must not miss ? Will you be present ?
In middle Europe most people think of Alfresco when considering an open source product. Other solutions like Knowledgetree etc. are not much known. I think open source will gain a little more importance in the ECM market in the near future, but the real thread for the traditional industry is SaaS, software as a service. We see the first ECM SaaS solutions on the market and more and more applications are moving into the cloud. Google is adding pressure and Microsoft is starting as well. So records management, long term digital preservation, document management, workflow, colloboration and other tools will be offered as well via the web. This will change the market in the next ten years because ECM installations at the customer site are known to be complex : you have to care for migration on your own, you hardly can afford a redundant backup solution, a.s.o. The same way project management and CRM customer relationship management is moving to web today, we will see all the ECM components and applications move into the cloud tomorrow.
The most important fair with a congress on site is the DMS EXPO in Cologne, Germany, September 15th to 17th, 2009. Nearly all vendors (IBM; Open Text, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Alfresco, Optimal Systems, Iron Mountain, ELO, Docuware, Ceyoniq, ITESOFT, COI, windream, Readsoft, Autonomy, Docuportal, Coremedia ...and integrators are present. ). There will be about 400 exhibitors and the KoelnMesse expects about 20.000 visitors. In the exhibition hall and as well in seminar rooms there are conferences and free presentations. The entrance and the catalogue is free of charge if you register in advance : www.DMSEXPO.com
What would you say to conclude this interview?First of all – internationally – there is www.AIIM.org. I am as well a member of the AIIM community www.informationzen.org. Most of my activities ist he the group on XING https://www.xing.com/net/informationlifecyclemanagement both communities are free.
There are a lot of blogs about ECM and related topics, so for consolidation and overview I use Bloglines and Delicious (you can subscribe to http://www.bloglines.com/public/DrUKff and http://delicious.com/DruKff).
If you are looking for sources in Germany and in German language, check on www.ECMGUIDE.de, www.ContentManager.de, or www.Documanager.de.
If you are looking for new records management standards and archiving practices, have a look at the DLM Forum www.dlm-network.org.
Groups on publishing sites with ECM related content are http://www.doxtop.com/groups/view/feb95ada/ecm-enterprise-content-management.aspx or http://www.slideshare.net/group/ecm.
And not to forget my own sites www.PROJECT-CONSULT.com, http://pcnewsletter.coextant.info/ and www.MoReq2.de.
First of all – thank you for giving me the chance to participate in your series of interviews. To conclude this interview – the growth of information, the speed of development in the ITC industry and restrictions of human nature and brain capacity create together one of the most interesting mass experiments in mankinds existance. We moved in one generation from an analogue world of information management to a digital world of information management with new rules, new behaviours, new visions. I am glad living in this interesting era and being able to contribute a little bit to solve the big challenge to save the memory of the information society - in this early, still dark age.Many thanks, Ulrich, for this interview. We wish you a nice and exciting journey on Open Source (or not) ECM Road!
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