Monday, June 4, 2012

Days 10-13 ARMA Conference

The keynote speaker starts at noon so we take the morning to walk the waterfront again. I found orange azaleas.

Our first speaker speaks of trends in e-discovery. Growth continues to astound. I next picked a session on advanced business analytics. Linda brought up the Open Data movement - there is synergy with the big data guys. The idea is novel enough I got in touch with the speaker from IBM and wrote a separate blog page about it. My second session was with Greg Clark, practical governance. His background with the oil industry shows; his talk is lively, sharp, succinct.

We have an ice-breaker that night, wine and cheese. The vendors open their doors. I get back to the room and crash, and I suddenly remember why I took the sage advice to stay a few days before or after. Once I get sucked in to the vortex of conference sessions, any few moments on my own are taken in recovery. My blogging abruptly stopped. So here I am two weeks later, and memories are quickly blurring. I won't detail the rest of the conference, simply give you the highlights.

I met great old friends, made a few new ones, and bounced off the old cronies. Ismat and I had a great time catching up, and Eva and I solidified a friendship. I hope Eva can handle my on-and-off attention, kind of like  a lighthouse lamp. When I'm there, I am all there, listening, attentive. When I'm gone, well, I'm not.

Compared to a few years ago, the conference offerings were nearly exclusively addressing our electronic world. Discovery, governance, and successfully presenting our program to leadership were also covered ... in the context of electronic records. The big scanning and storage services were in evidence at the  vendor booths.

The local aboriginal communities had a strong local presence. I enjoyed comparing their involvement with our local On the last day of the conference I attended a session put on by a BC band and the issues surrounding recording and storing land-based knowledge about their communities. Rather than offering solutions, they looked to us for direction.

I think SharePoint is winning the Electronic Records Management race. There were three vendors showcasing add-ons to SharePoint, and precious few alternatives in the offering. Alfresco might find a niche in schools and non-profits, though the conference did not have any representatives. I've concluded that SharePoint must be working the way business needs it to; collaboratively. The problem with catering to the Records community to satisfy all the record-keeping elements (i.e. DOD 5015.2 or MoReq standards), is that the software loses focus of the ultimate customer; the business user.

Which sadly, leads me to conclude that as a records community, we have lost touch with the business user as well. I will describe this in further detail in a blog, "Death of the File Room".