Microsoft Content Services Forum

Microsoft Content Services Forum


(upbeat music) – Hi, I’m Chris McNulty,
Senior Product Manager for SharePoint and OneDrive at Microsoft. Over the past decade, as part
of digital transformation, organizations have increasingly
turned to the cloud to help manage their burgeoning
arsenal of digital content. Content has always been
king, but as we’ve seen organizations move from petabytes
to zettabytes and beyond, struggling with this is expected to be a challenge for years to come. However, many organizations
have learned greatly from patterns of the past. That’s why today, Microsoft
is joined by three visionaries from the world of content. Today we have John Mancini,
Chairman Emeritus of AIM, Cheryl McKinnon, Principal
Analyst at Forrester Research, and Ian Story, Principal
Program Manager for Microsoft. So John, welcome. – Good to be here, Chris. – Tell me a little about
how you got started in this wonderful world of content. – I started with AIM about 25 years ago and the focus then, was on documents and workflow and so we migrated the organization to focus
more on web-based technologies and now increasingly on
more technologies focused on what we call intelligent
information management. So it’s been a long
journey, a lot of changes but at the core has always been people, process and technology. – So Cheryl, you’re Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. – I am. – How did you come to be part of this wonderful world of content? – Well I actually started
as a history major. I didn’t come from a
technology background. – Interesting.
– And I started to realize through a series of summer
jobs doing my masters that the world was going digital. So I kind of pivoted
into the technology world just to understand how we’re gonna be able to preserve and protect a
lot of our digital heritage. – So Ian, as Principal
Program Manager at Microsoft, although I know, I’m not
sure everyone understands what that means in your day to day. – Sure, so I sit on the
leadership team for SharePoint and OneDrive, and I have
three primary functions. The first is working with customers, second is working with partners, third is working with
analysts and in my spare time I’m also Microsoft’s representative on the AIM board of directors. – Any history that you
want to share with us? – Well you know I started in
this industry 20 years ago at a manufacturing organization. I was a customer, a warehouser,
and I worked on a tool there called Content Services. From there I went into
banking Washington Mutual and then JPMorgan Chase and
then I spent a few years working for a competitor
of Microsoft’s, IBM also a partner, of course,
and then I joined Microsoft a couple years ago. – So we talked about Enterprise
Content Management, ECM, and that’s traditionally the
name given to this discipline but increasingly we’ve seen
the rise of other terminology. Intelligent Information
Management, Content Services; what do we think is going on there? Is this just a new name
for the same process or is there something really
transformative going on? – Well, I think there’s something really transformative going on here. I think when you go back
to ECM, it was really conceived in the era in
which people were trying to automate very specific
document intensive, very complicated processes,
and that worked well in that environment; things
like new drug application processes and insurance claim processing and things like that. I would never think of
it as a market segment I would think of it as
a description of things that people are trying to do
with content and information. – So I think regardless of
whether we’re talking about this as a process, or as a tool
set, or as an end result I think we all agree we’re
talking about content here. But what’s interesting is
I think there’s also been an evolution in what is
content and what is not. – Well, that’s a good question. It used to be easy. You know, it used to be that,
content was the unstructured documents that were kind of
in contrast to more structured data that was held in rows
and columns of a database. And now two things have occurred; one is that all those
lines that existed between structured and unstructured content, if they ever really
meant anything to users, are all blurred and nobody really cares what the difference is.
And the kinds of content isn’t just document
anymore and it’s not just Office files anymore. It can be video, it can be
audio, it can be all sorts of different things. And
so it has gotten to be, I think actually,
information that encompasses both data and content is
probably a better description of what we’re talking about. – Cheryl, do you think the
document is still going to be as prevalent a format in 20 years? – I think the document
will be a prevalent format, but I think the equivalent
of a document equals a file is the part that is starting to erode. As we see a lot more of
the online and software- as-a-service authoring tools, things that allow a lot of collaboration
and co-creation activities. I mean, these aren’t often files until we choose to export them. – Cheryl, do you think
in 10 years organizations will have more or fewer
repositories than they have now? – So, you know, I actually
wrote a little bit last year about, you know, are we
shifting to this, you know, post repository world. Where
the repository becomes less and less, you know, the
value-add of a content management platform. And what’s really
important is, you know, do we have the connectivity to
federate or inter-operate so we can pull content from
multiple systems, but hide the complexity from the
day-to-day information worker and just present what they
need to complete a task, you know, through their mobile
app or through an alternative line of business application
or in their office productivity tool of choice. – So we know being in the cloud
has been a trend for years. In Office 365 alone, Microsoft
has over 400,000 customers who are using it. Is the cloud truly transformative or is it just another data center? – When we used to survey
people 3, 4 years ago and particularly an AIM audience, which is very focused on
control and access to content and information and records –
– Right. – And we would ask them whether the cloud was part of their strategy,
people wouldn’t, you know, just say, “No,” they would say, “Hell no!” And when we look at it now,
82% say, when they look at the primary direction of their efforts in the next two years, 82%
say it’s in the direction of either the cloud or a
hybrid cloud on-prem strategy. – Don’t you find there were
also some organizations who tried to do exactly the
same things in the cloud that they were doing
on-premises, who’d say the cloud is a big enough change? – I think really what’s going on is that people want choice even organizations that tend to be biased towards
an on-prem approach. They want to have that
as an option out there. So having both sets of
capabilities, I think, becomes really, really
critical moving forward. – So both sets?
– Yeah. – Cheryl, do you agree? – I do actually, and we’ve
got data that shows that the tipping point in terms of having most enterprise content management
deployments on-premises has now shifted to more hybrid and hosted moving toward software as a service. So I think, you know, this
hybrid world is where we’re gonna be living for the next
few years as organizations, you know, are at different
stages of a road map to cloud. – So you mentioned a couple of years. Do you think that it’s a . . . ever a permanent trend to be hybrid? – I think it’s gonna be
here for a few years. Permanent? Not necessarily. I think, you know, as
organizations take a look at, you know, what are their
more complex content or process management workloads, for example, if they have
deep integrations to other on-premises line-of-business applications that’s a lot tougher to just
move into a cloud service overnight where spinning
up a new project team or new, you know, corporate
internet site, that’s much easier to do net-new kinda clean slate in a cloud application. – So Ian, have you run
across any customers who aren’t trying hard enough in
the cloud, I guess I’d say? – You know, I’d say from a
content management point of view most of our customers
are either in the cloud or moving toward the cloud aggressively. But to Cheryl’s point there
are a lot of other systems that they have – their ERP
systems and CRM systems and, you know, custom things
that they’ve built in their organizations and so forth –
that are on-prem and will be on-prem for a long time. And
they’re struggling with how to move those to the cloud as well. The other thing I would
say is the customers that have really heavily
customized their on-prem deployments of content
management tools, you know, ripped out the code that
was provided by the vendor and written their own
code, their own UI’s, their own integration points and so forth, they tend to struggle the most
because, you know, oftentimes moving to the cloud you
can’t necessarily change all the code that’s in the SaaS offering that’s provided by the vendor. – And I think it really goes a long way in terms of helping solve kind
of the perennial challenge in the content management
space around user adoption. Because so many of the
historical deployments have been on-premises, highly customized, they are hard to upgrade. – So we’re talking about
some, you know, fear and reluctance or even fear and
loathing about the cloud. But with that, you know, I
think there still are legitimate reasons why organizations
need to keep some of their uses and some of
their content on-premises. What are some of the good ones
that each of you have heard? – When I talked to some public
sector, you know, government agencies and highly regulated
agencies – especially, you know, if we look
into Europe for example – if they don’t have the
confidence that they’ve got a local vendor that can provide,
you know, in-country data residency requirements for
sensitive information, then they’ll often choose to stay on premises until they have that comfort. – The security kinds of things
that Cheryl talked about, and particularly the data
residency side, you know, as that gets more and
more complex over time and as geographies step in
to, you know, put their brand on where they want data to
be, that becomes another issue why some people say, “Well, in this case we’ll keep it on-prem.” – So, GDPR has recently gone into effect in the European Union, and it reminds me, in many
regards, of some of the focus nearly 20 years ago on
Y2K, that there’s both risk and opportunity with something like GDPR. Cheryl, what do you see
as some of the advantages to the organization of
having to comply with GDPR? – Well I think first
off, it kind of compels organizations to really
understand their end-to-end content and data holdings,
you know, build out that map so they know where any kind
of risky content might reside or any other, you know, employee or customer confidential information – where does it actually reside,
and can we retrieve it, secure it and potentially
even destroy or disclose it depending on the requests? – And it’s not an insignificant
undertaking at scale. The survey that I did – basically
people came back and said, on average, they thought
it would cost 4800 euro to find all the information
about a customer and deliver it in machine readable format back to that customer. Well, you start multiplying
that times the number of requests that people are gonna get, and it really puts an incentive
on people to get serious about how they manage their information. – When you look at the industry, certainly Microsoft is not alone in using AI and cognitive
services to help enrich the entire part of the content experience. Do we think that this is going to become something that is not just
prevalent but pervasive and noticeable or something
that becomes a background service that we just take
for granted like printing? – Even though it seems like
we’ve been doing it forever, when it comes to
sub-processes it’s really in its very early stages.
– Right. – And I think automation
and artificial intelligence is going to pave the way
for that and make those engines much more powerful in the future. – And I think we also are gonna
bump up against, you know, kind of, some of the
contradictions in terms of how we have managed
information over the last couple of decades. I mean, for organizations
with very aggressive retention and disposal
policies, from a records management perspective,
I mean, they’re missing huge swathes of what could
be potential useful signals and sources, to be mined as part of this. So you’re just keeping kind of
a small subset of the records because it’s less expensive
to do e-discovery; you’re also missing a big
chunk of your corporate memory that could actually contribute
to some of the findings and analysis. And think
about organizations with still large paper stores. If you can go back, you know,
10 years in terms of digital contracts for your customers, great. Well, what if you can go back 50 because you’ve actually
been able to digitize and extract information
that can lead to more intelligent decisions, going
back over longer periods of time because you’ve done that conversion. – So compliance and records
management and retention have long been, you know,
pillars of how we manage information at scale,
on-premises or in the cloud. How do you see that as a discipline, evolving over the next 10 years? – Well, I think that there’s
a lot of opportunities as we just talked about
moving into, you know, more of the using the
algorithms, understanding what is the right kind of algorithm
to do different kinds of categorization, classification. I think that these roles,
because they’re often subject matter experts
in their particular lines of businesses, they understand
the corporate taxonomy, you know, how they’ve been
using things like metadata, could be in a very good position
to be, you know, kind of the trainers of the
algorithms going forward rather than just the
retainers of the records. – I think there is an intense need for simplification, as well. You know, I think we over-pivoted,
or the pendulum swung a little too far in
the Sarbanes-Oxley days and, you know, large
organizations that no longer exist because they kept things
longer than they should or what have you, and it
just feels like there’s this need for simplification
and to streamline the process, make it easier. But I
think there’s also a need, just generally speaking,
to say, “Maybe we’ll accept what we think is a little bit
more risk by simplifying this and, you know, doing big
buckets or what have you,” but in reality it’s not more
risk than having something that’s so complicated
that nobody follows it. – So if you think about
what’s going on now with cloud content
management as a second wave or a second opportunity
for records management – how do we as practitioners
and how does the industry as a whole make sure that we don’t repeat the risk that our records archives become the warehouse where documents go to die? – I think one of the challenges
that we at AIM have is – “Okay, how do you take
a lot of those practices that were traditionally
defined in an on-prem world and migrate those into a cloud environment so that people don’t
make the same mistakes they made the first time?”
Because, you’re right, we’ve all seen cloud
implementations that turned into just glorified instances
of the file share. You know, it’s just a horrible
dumping ground of junk and that’s not where you
really want to get to. – I think that, you know,
we didn’t quite get there in the on-premises world
because it was too expensive to go back and index the
billions and tens of billions and hundreds of billions
of documents that I had. I didn’t have the compute
capacity to do that, and so forth. I think the cloud will
open that door up with the scalability and the compute capacity that you have in the cloud. – And I think it also opens the door – in addition to all of the
scale performance advantages, especially at large scale
– the ability to have that information more broadly
accessible, shareable by other parts of the organization, even by members of what I
often have been calling “the extended Enterprise.” So you’ve got critical
suppliers, partners, even customers can benefit
from that information, and, you know, trying to
share that securely in on-prem systems can be much more
difficult than if you can open up a door to certain segments of
your cloud content management. – So looking forward,
there’s obviously been a lot of innovation that’s come
up in the last few years, as well as things that
are likely to come up in the next few years. What’s something that excites
you about the next 10 years? Something you’ve seen or that
you really can’t wait to see that we as an industry get it right? – You know, when you start
to think about five years from now: how are people going
to interface with our content systems? How are they going
to interface with processes? What are millennials going
to expect in terms of an interface? Are they really
going to be sitting there, typing into a laptop? Gonna change a lot, and
I think it’s going to be really exciting to see what happens there. – Yeah, I would agree with that. Just the opening of new
ways of creating and generating that content to begin with, including using AI services
to generate, you know, news articles, summaries – I mean, it sounds a little bit crazy, but this concept of knowledge management has come roaring back with a vengeance in the customer calls
I’ve had over the last few months. And it’s – I’ve
referred to this as kind of “information FOMO,” that fear
of missing out ’cause they know the stuff exists. They
just don’t know how to get to it, where it resides; and I
think the opportunity to kind of mine into multiple systems,
structured or unstructured, it really kind of opens up the door to new ways of
knowledge delivery to people who are really thirsting for insights. The thing that terrifies
me also, is this area of digital preservation.
And, John, I know you’ve been talking about this, but, you
know, I just think that we are underestimating the fragility of a lot of our digital artifacts. Are we gonna be able to
look at this, preserve it, yeah, access it in 10, 15,
50 years down the road? This is my historian hat coming back out. But also even things, you
know, tactical like link rot, right? We rely on online
information so often; we embed links in our
email, and our documents, and, you know, there’s some
data out there that shows if you look at scientific
legal journals, I mean, a third of that is already dead links. So we really need to
think about this stuff. – There was something I read once about – they were predicting 100 years from now there’ll be two kinds of
digital archeologists: hard and soft. The soft will be experts
in missing file formats; the hard ones will tell you how to make that Blackberry work again. (all laugh) – So, when I think 10 years out I’d combine the two things
– John talking about voice and new ways to interact,
and Cheryl talking about knowledge management and
preserving that knowledge. I think we’re quickly heading down a path where you’ve got embedded
and wearable devices, and so forth – not just me
wearing one on my wrist, but much more . . . interesting
use cases they’re, you know, Elon Musk and many of the other leaders in the industry are
looking at brain interfaces to computers, and so forth. So being able to interact in new ways – whether it’s a voice, whether
it’s something wearable, whether it’s something implantable – and then having access
to all that information, I think that’s gonna
just completely change again the way things work. – Well, I just wanted to
say thank you very much for joining us here today. This has been a really
interesting and educational conversation for me and I hope for those of you watching out there. Once again, I’d like to
also thank John Mancini. – Thanks for having me, Chris. – Cheryl McKinnon . . . (soft music) . . . and Ian Story. – Great to be here. – Please keep watching
for more information here from Microsoft. Thank you. (music fades)

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