AIIM Trendscape: Content and the Cloud - The Forecast is Decidedly Cloudy

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1 By John Mancini, President, AIIM International AIIM Executive Leadership Council

2 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with Table of Contents Introduction...3 Foreward by Thornton May...3 AIIM Trendscape: Content & the Cloud...6 Foreward by John Mancini...6 Part 1: AIIM Trendscape...7 Part 2: The Trendscape Context...9 Part 3: Recommendations for Action...15 AIIM Training Course: Managing Content in the Cloud...16 Course Benefits and Objectives...16 Your Learning Options...16 About the Authors...17 About Thornton May...17 About John Mancini...18 About the Research...19 About AIIM s Executive Leadership Council...19 Thank You to our US Executive Leadership Council Companies...20 Thank You to our EU Executive Leadership Council Companies...21 Thank You to our Additional Participating Organizations

3 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with Introduction Foreward by Thornton May, Futurist & Executive Director, IT Leadership Academy EVERY day we are told that we live in a knowledge economy, society and age. Big picture historians remind us that, in truth, EVERY age has been a knowledge age of sorts [i.e., in every age there were specific things you needed to know]. In the early days of the walking erect era our various Homo precursors were expected to know how to hunt and how to gather. In the agricultural age our ancestors were expected to know how to grow things. In the knowledge age we are expected to know how to know and know what we are supposed to know. Cloud computing is one of the things information professionals are going to have to know about moving forward. The AIIM Executive Leadership Council has determined that four disruptive technologies, mnemonically labeled the S.M.A.C. Stack [Social, Mobile, Analytics/Big Data, and the Cloud] will shape the next competitive cycle. These technologies need to be understood, mastered and deployed to maximum effect. In this White Paper we synthesize the discussions and conclusions emerging from AIIM Executive Leadership Council deliberations about cloud computing - what it is and what information managers need to know about it. About ten years ago, while conducting a scan of ahead-of-the-curve IT practices I was fortunate to intersect with Bernardo Huberman, a Hewlett-Packard [HP] fellow and director of the systems research center at HP Labs. At the time Dr. Huberman and his team were experimenting with a new unit-of-computing metric called a computon. [The word is a cross between computation and photon, the name for a packet of electromagnetic energy.] The HP futures team, charged with thinking ten to fifteen years down the road, envisioned a future world of computing where customers would be charged for computer use the same way utilities charge for electrical use today. The computon it was hoped would be to the information age what the kilowatt-hour was to the industrial age. While the computon metric did not catch on, the idea of pay-per-use, scale-asyou-go, global class computing did. Cloud computing is a fascinating case study of how change [first perceptual and later operational] evolves in the information management industry. Cloud computing has a lot to do with location where computing happens and where data resides. Historically, computing location has essentially been driven by the economics of computing [i.e., how much computer processing costs, how much storage costs, how much bandwidth costs, and how much software costs]. As the relationship between these cost elements changed, so too did the optimal architecture. One always architected to optimize use of the most expensive computer resource. 3

4 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with Technology advances [e.g., broadband Internet, optical networking, and exponential advances in computing power and storage] have expanded a technology architect s choice set. Organizations with secure access to the Internet can locate computational resources pretty much anywhere they want. We live in a world where any application can run or be caused to run - on any piece of hardware. Computationally we are now living in a location-independent world. Technically, you can compute and store data pretty much anywhere you want. You have options for how you deliver computing infrastructure. Cloud computing is not just hype. It is not science fair technology. Cloud computing has been operationalized, at scale, at ahead-of-the-curve enterprises for five plus years. At the same time, cloud computing has emerged as the next big thing on the technology horizon. Cloud computing is one of the known knowns in information technology. If you are to be taken seriously, if you are going to be considered a viable and desired partner for future information intense collaboration you are going to have to know about cloud computing. WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT CLOUD COMPUTING? At the end of 2008, David Cearley, vice president and analyst at Gartner, called cloud computing, the most over-hyped term I can think of as long as I have been covering the industry. The vendor messaging regarding cloud computing is considered by anthropologists and objective marketers alike a low point in the use of language by our species. A review of the infosphere [i.e., what is being written, blogged and videoed about] reveals a shockingly value-challenged current state of thinking [or lack thereof] regarding the cluster of technologies, techniques and tactics collectively known as cloud computing. Cloud computing materially expands the production possibility frontier [economicspeak for it lets us do more stuff ]. This expanded capability to do more stuff needs to be understood and interrogated by senior executives. Cloud computing should not be a black box, or just something that IT does. Cloud computing badly needs senior management attention. If you say cloud computing in most gatherings of C-Suiters [including CIOs] you will evoke a gag-reflex and end up standing alone in a corner. The conventional wisdom is that real executives don t waste their time talking about cloud computing. Your job as a leader is to release this potentially game-changing technology-enabled strategic opportunity from its narrative ghetto. 4

5 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with STEP ONE: It s NOT the TECHNOLOGY, STUPID Ted Levitt, the revered marketing professor at the Harvard Business School counseled generations of executives that people don t purchase products, they buy the benefits the products deliver. In a similar fashion, organizations need to focus not on the technology but rather on the benefits that cloud technology can deliver. And yet the cloud conversation is dominated by feeds and speeds geek speak. CEOs/Managing Directors do not care let me repeat DO NOT CARE what technology is used to create the four critical value buckets: Differentiation Distance between what their company can do and what the competitor can do. Neutralization Quick time to eliminate any distance between what their company can do and what the competitor can do. Optimization Ability to perform existing operations faster, cheaper and better than competitors. Actionable Insight ability to observe, orient, decide and act faster than competitors. Focus on the benefits that cloud computing can deliver to YOUR organization. STEP TWO: Create an Organization Specific Map Just about every vendor in the business has a Road Map. Unfortunately most vendor-generated Road Maps leave out two critical variables benefits and the traveler. Do vendor mapmakers actually believe that all users are the same? That they will journey the same path forward? A critical cartographic truth - technology maps should start with the traveler NOT the technology. Organizations need maps to move forward. Most organizations do not have a map in place guiding their cloud behaviors. Mapping organizes relevant bits of information into some kind of structure, creating a synthesis that carries understanding. Maps have the capacity to stir the imagination of others. Everything on a map signifies and points out a direction and an intent. The maps we generate are like eyes. They give us perspective. The intention of this paper is to provide that collective set of eyes a map if you will to the kinds of issues that organizations must consider as they ponder the benefits of the cloud. 5

6 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with AIIM Trendscape: Content and the Cloud John Mancini, President, AIIM International This report is a summary of two sets of deliberations one in the United States and another in London of leading content and information management executives and CIOs around the central question of the role that cloud-based technologies will play in the future. For those unfamiliar with the AIIM Executive Leadership Council process, let me explain how the Council works. The meetings of the ELC are facilitated by Thornton May. Thornton s job is to bring together the smartest people he can find to lead the Council in discussing the implications of an issue whose impact is not immediately clear. The act of faith inherent in these meetings is the assumption that the collective discussion will lead to insights, observations, and conclusions that were not readily apparent at the beginning of the discussions. This report is divided into three sections. The Trendscape: In the first section, we share data on opinions about the cloud, drawn from 29 senior end-user and industry executives in the US and 18 senior executives from Europe. Our intention was to understand what is both likely and critical for end-users to know about the role of the cloud in the next 18 to 24 months. The Context: In the second section, we share a series of comments and conclusions about the role of the cloud moving forward that provide the context for the Trendscape. Our focus was on the next 18 to 24 months, and our objective was to surface issues and concerns that are not readily apparent in most of the existing coverage about the cloud. Like most technologies on the edge, there is far more hype than light surrounding the cloud, and that became very clear during our deliberations. We have structured each of the items in this context section as a sample quotation from one of the participants in the ELC meeting. Recommendations for Action: What are the key issues that users should consider in contemplating the role of the cloud in their organization? Enjoy the paper. Let us know what you think. If you are interested in connecting with the Council, let us know that too. And a big thank you to Thornton May, all of our speakers, our Executive Leadership Council members, and all of the senior endusers and CIOs that participated in the generation of this paper. The responsibility for the final compilation is AIIM s, but the output would not have been possible without the generous contributions of the participants. 6

7 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with Part 1: AIIM Trendscape All of the ELC participants were asked to review a series of statements regarding the cloud. They were asked to think about each of the statements and rank them according to 1) how critical they were to an end-user; and 2) how likely they were to occur. The timeframe was the next 18 to 24 months. Here are the statements we examined: The dominant or preferred method of content management deployment will be in the cloud. Users will demand that enterprise applications be delivered in a modular fashion through some sort of enterprise app store. Platform as a Service providers like Amazon, Google and SalesForce will change the marketplace for content management apps. Organizations will implement new cloud solutions instead of upgrading on-prem solutions. Cloud computing will be seen as best way to provide mobile apps and support BYOD. Take a test drive (Freemium) will become the leading business model. A major cloud company will have a significant breach, causing significant reconsideration of the cloud for critical information. Providers of cloud content management systems will figure out a way to convince IT managers not to worry about document security. The results are reflected in the following AIIM Trendscape. The quadrants can be interpreted as follows: High criticality, high likelihood = A priority; must address this issue. High criticality, low likelihood = Wishful thinking. Low criticality, high likelihood = Not absolutely critical, but need to prepare. Low criticality, low likelihood = Noise. Need to prepare for it. A major cloud company will have significant breach. Organiza ons will implement new cloud solu ons Instead of upgrading on-prem solu ons. Pla orm as a Service providers like Amazon, Google and SalesForce will change the marketplace for content management apps. Take a test drive (Freemium) becomes the leading business model. Cloud compu ng will be seen as the best way to provide mobile apps and support BYOD. The dominant or preferred method of content management deployment will be in the cloud. Users will demand that enterprise applica ons be delivered in a modular fashion through some sort of enterprise app store. A priority Likelihood. AIIM Trendscape 7 Providers of cloud content management systems will figure out a way to convince IT managers not to worry about document security. Noise Cri cality. Wishful thinking.

8 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with In thinking about this AIIM Trendscape, a number of conclusions can be drawn. Organizations clearly need to view cloud computing as a means to link mobile applications and mobile devices with back-end content repositories. The dominant model of deployment of content management in the past has been on-premise solutions. Organizations need to quickly prepare for models that are based in the cloud, and vendors need to reposition their offerings to meet this need. Vendors need to begin to split their offerings into more modular applications that can be consumed by the drink rather than by the gallon. As organizations move processes to the cloud (e.g., SalesForce.com, Workday), they need to understand whether they want the content tied to these processes stored within the application or stored separately in a consistent way and accessed by the application. There are some especially on the cloud-vendor side who feel that concerns about document and process security in the cloud are overstated and that ultimately these concerns will go away. In the short-term, this appears to be wishful thinking. The recent revelations about NSA surveillance have reinforced user concerns about privacy and security. While the premium to freemium model of deployment has been successful for some companies looking to enter the enterprise content and process market, for most companies this is just noise. It is likely that in the near future there will be a significant cloud security breach, and organizations need to help their customers understand the relative risks of these breaches and how they will address them. Organizations are questioning their legacy content applications, and increasingly are looking to cloud solutions as an alternative to these applications. Major cloud platform providers such as Amazon and Google and Salesforce will directly influence the manner and means by which content management applications are deployed. 8

9 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with Part 2: The Trendscape Context [Note: In this section, we use quotations from the participants in the meetings to illustrate the broader context in which cloud decisions are being made.] Quotation #1: CEOs only know what they read in the Wall Street Journal. Quotation #1a: Let s not once again descend into the world of IT Hype and NaÏve Technological Utopias. One thing is clear. And that is that everything is unclear. The byproduct of hundreds of corporate marketing hype engines spinning into action and positioning everything imaginable into the cloud is a huge information gap in the executive suite. We have entered the Cloud Jabberwocky. There is a clear lack of knowledge about the cloud among senior executives and a crying need for business-centric, not technology-centric, education. Most senior executives have a sense of the cloud as something that must be part of their technology equation, and a belief that this will lead to a dramatic reduction of IT costs. When asked what messages are being carried by the vendor community into his company regarding cloud technologies, one CIO responded with the following: All is wonderful, everything is cheaper, there are no problems, and a it s mature technology. Everybody s doing it. Of course, the reality is much more complex than this. There are business advantages to be gained by moving to the cloud. But not everything should be in the cloud. And the cloud does not necessarily mean lower costs. And a hybrid onpremises/cloud strategy does create information governance challenges that are often neglected or under-estimated by those eager to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the cloud. And And. The collective experience of the senior executives on both the sell side and the buy side in the ELC discussions is that senior executives are somewhat afraid of the cloud, but also extraordinarily eager to embrace it. And therein lies the challenge that we face moving forward. Dennis Flanagan, long-time editor of Scientific American, tells of once meeting the famous New Yorker movie critic, Pauline Kael. After introducing themselves, Ms. Kael admitted to Flanagan that she knew Absolutely nothing about science. Flanagan responded: Whatever became of the idea that an educated person is supposed to know a little something about everything? In today s world, every executive needs to know a little something about information technology. As Thornton May phrased it, We need to stop the gagging reflex of Suits when they hear the phrase cloud computing. 9

10 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with CEOs will view the cloud through the same kind of lens as they view any other business decision: Is this going to save me money? Is this going to increase risk? Who should I yell at if it doesn t work? Will we have the same kind of leverage with a big cloud vendor that we have with our current vendor if things go wrong? Who is the right person to delegate this to? A core point raised in the ELC discussions is that the degree of hype associated with the cloud obscures a fundamental point at its core, the cloud is just another media we need to manage. That does not mean the task is easy. But as one ELC participant noted, Let s not once again descend into the world of IT Hype and Naïve Technological Utopias. A central challenge in moving forward is the growing set of hyperbolic expectations about the cloud and how to match those expectations with the short-term reality of actual implementation. Quotation #2: Scottish comedian Billy Connolly tells me all I need to know about the rising gap between the expectations of the CEO and the performance of the CIO. Scottish comedian Billy Connolly has a routine in which he talks about his perception of the demands women are placing upon men. Paraphrasing this a bit, (and also editing for language!) one CIO in the ELC felt that the following Billy Connolly quote also sounds like the list of cloud-driven demands that the business is now placing upon IT. We want this. And that. We demand a share of this and most of that. Some of this, and all of that. Less of that, and more of this, and plenty of this. And another thing. We want it now. We want it yesterday, and more tomorrow. And the demands will all be changed then. Stay awake. In the world of systems of engagement, the business is making increasing demands on the IT function. IT is expected to embrace all of the new technologies being created by consumerization, while simultaneously maintaining all of the old records and audit and accountability standards that are characteristic of the world of systems of record. And IT is expected to do all of the above while spending less money than they are currently spending. The cloud is one element in creating new value while simultaneously performing the neat trick of controlling cost and sustaining our legacy systems. A key output of the ELC discussions is that there is a great deal of industry-specific variance about the importance of sustaining the audit and control concerns that dominated our thinking in the world of systems of record. For example, the concerns of CIOs from the higher education community clearly centered around the importance of staying ahead of their end users, while those of many in the financial community focused on how to maintain accountability for audit and regulatory and legal concerns. 10

11 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with Quotation #3: Do you know what CIO really means? It means your Career Is Over. Cloud technologies often enter organizations through a stealth strategy that begins with business users. The consumerization of technologies means that powerful tools are now in the hands of end users. And that means that tools and products with enterprise implications often enter the organization through individual users clicking through to a product deployment, and then engaging their peers through the same process. This ease of deployment creates both opportunities and dangers for the enterprise. It also creates a dynamic tension between cloud providers and CIOs that has wrecked the career of many a CIO. One CIO recalled a warning from a colleague upon becoming CIO: You know what becoming a CIO means? It means your Career Is Over. Here s the tension. Business software that can be deployed with the ease of a clickthrough puts power in the hands of individual users to end-run their own IT departments. Often the CIO does not even know this is going on. Fast forward a few months, and the cloud vendor meets with the CIO and reports that 427 end users in the organization are customers, and notes, You should really upgrade from the free level to the enterprise level so that you at least have administrative privileges and controls. Voila, the CIO either agrees or is hoisted on his or her own petard. The increased dynamic tension between the business and IT is reflected in these data points from a recent survey by the Harvard Business Review and The Economist about what CEOs think about their own CIOs: Almost half of CEOs feel IT should be a commodity service purchased only as needed. Only a quarter of CEOs feel that their CIO is performing above his or her peers. Almost half of CEOs rate their CIOs negatively in terms of understanding the business and understanding how to apply IT in new ways to the business. 57% of CEOs expect their IT function to change significantly over the next three years and 12% predict the complete overhaul of IT. CIOs from higher education at the ELC meeting posed a unique challenge in that their IT structures and strategy tended to operate in a confederated environment individual schools within a university usually have their own IT structures and their own sources of funds and their own power structures. In this environment, persuasive ability was critical in maintaining consistency rather than a more traditional command-and-control approach. Consider the following two statements: 1) We would never put critical business information in the cloud and 2) We are a Salesforce.com user. Most organizations in AIIM surveys will respond affirmatively to both these assertions. Quotation #4: It s just travel information for crying out loud, relax. 11

12 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with This raises a couple of thoughts. First, there continues to be widely varying set of assumptions about exactly what the cloud means (see Cloud Jabberwocky above). Secondly, organizations really need to think about what critical business information actually means in the era of social, mobile, and cloud computing. At the ELC meeting, a senior executive from a Fortune 100 company described the difficulties he had in convincing the company to move off its Rube Goldberg-esque home-grown antiquated travel management and reimbursement system. Traditional IT stood at the gate, unwilling to let critical travel information move outside the firewall to a SaaS application. In desperation, he finally said, It s just travel information, for crying out loud, relax. I will take responsibility. The lesson? Traditional and inviolable rules about what must be controlled onpremise need a re-look for what truly is critical. In the old world, travel information might have been considered mission-critical information that needed to operate within a tightly controlled environment. In the cloud world, the need to quickly deploy solutions, keep them current, and focus on what is truly of strategic importance necessitates a different attitude toward this type of information. We need to assess information with an eye to its actual content and base our conclusions about whether it belongs on-premise or in the cloud on that assessment. Quotation #5: The NSA revelations have created something I thought I would never hear: A mainstream news person using the word metadata. The recent revelations by Edward Snowden about the NSA s data gathering efforts and the PRISM program clearly change the context in which we need to view cloud efforts moving forward. Even though it can be argued that much of the analytic effort involved in this program is no different than putting a contextually-relevant advertisement in the middle of the Gmail message, the realization that this kind of analysis is being done not only by individual companies but also comprehensively by the federal government has changed the game. For the first time ever, we are in the rather strange new world in which mainstream newscasters actually use the word metadata in their reports. The importance of this to the cloud is that end-users are going to face an increasing array of nationally-specific rules and requirements related to where cloud-based information can be physically stored. Many cloud vendors are reverting to their usual justifications that they maintain better and tighter controls at scale then any individual organization can likely do within their own organization in response to this dynamic. But this misses the central point. The central point is that a core premise of the cloud was its potential to free us from geographically based concerns about where data is stored. The reality of the regulatory and legal world that we are now entering is that users are going to have to be concerned about where information in the cloud is physically stored. This means that organizations will need to be well-versed in the reality of their own information management requirements and opportunities and be realistic in how they choose to leverage the cloud. Quotation #5a Country-specific cloud requirements are no different technically than stating that the cleaning contractor should wash the toilet floors twice a day. 12

13 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with One implication of the emergence of new requirements related to the physical location of cloud repositories is that smaller cloud providers without this kind of infrastructure will be at a competitive disadvantage. As customers demand that providers meet new geographically defined requirements, providers will respond. As one ELC participant noted, My regulator says I can t have personal data stored outside the country. So? That becomes an explicit contractual requirement, a focus of due diligence and then on-going monitoring. It is no different technically than stating the cleaning contractor should wash the toilet floors twice a day.. Quotation #6: Ahhh, Silos. We meet again. We spent a great deal of time and effort in the content management industry during the 1990s and 2000s first creating departmentally-specific content silos tied to business processes, and then trying to help users figure out how they overcome the limitations of these very silos through a more federated approach to information management. The world is about to become a great deal more challenging from a governance perspective. The cloud both in terms of repository management as well process management creates a host of new challenges related to the central question of information governance: As I deploy cloud-based SaaS business process solutions, do I want the content that is tied to those processes housed within those processes, or housed centrally and accessed by those processes? How do I want disparate cloud-based processes to interact with each other? How do I create governance initiatives that span on-premise repositories, private cloud repositories, hybrid repositories, and public cloud repositories? Is clear that a new skill set is needed in organizations in order to manage the challenges posed by the cloud. One CIO indicated, We no longer need dedicated people to maintain power plants and phone systems in our companies. The cloud is causing the same kind of rethinking about our core IT capabilities. Quotation #7: We no longer need dedicated people to maintain power plants and phone systems. Here are some of the core questions on the mind of CIO that require a different skill set than found in most traditional IT departments: Many Saas (Software as a Service) vendors relying on infrastructure support from IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) vendors. How should we manage this interdependency? 13

14 I m reading Content and the Cloud. Share it with Where exactly is my data? Who really controls my data? What happens if we end our relationship with the cloud provider? What s the exit strategy? What happens to my data when I no longer need it? Is it deleted? If the cloud supplier needs to deploy complicated cross-national hosting solutions to respond to post-nsa information sovereignty concerns, how will this ultimately impact the cost of extraction? If I am going to be dependent on the network how do I put in place backup systems to ensure that there are multiple connections to the Internet and I m sure of reliability of service? How do we handle supplier management issue? The old models simply don t seem to work. Our IT people now need to act more like engineers. How do I help them make this transition? 14

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