Christine Musil

Christine Musil
Christine is in Product Marketing for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions.

What Does “Extended ECM” Really Mean?

Extended ECM

I may be in marketing, but I like to think that I am not prone to marketing-speak; however, I was recently giving a presentation when someone stopped me to say that “content in context” and “extended ECM” (Enterprise Content Management) sounded a lot like marketing buzzwords. While I see how someone new to the concepts might think that, they are actually pretty accurate descriptions and, I think, important ones. (Connie Moore at DCG does a good job explaining it in her recent blog post.) Let’s start with “content in context.” This simply means that your unstructured information — documents, images, email, spreadsheets, etc. — is significantly more valuable when it’s viewed within the framework of whatever business process or object it relates to. For example, a contract on my hard drive includes the names of the parties involved, which tells me something, but it can’t tell me if it is the most recent version. Were there later addendums? What if the copy I have only has my signature? Did the other party sign it and I just never received the countersigned PDF? Without that context, the document is of limited value. But if I can view that contract in, say, the context of a CRM application like Salesforce, the picture becomes clearer and that document becomes much more valuable. I can see notes on calls with the customer, who the key contacts are, and metadata like the status of the contract. There’s still a problem, though: If a version of the contract is also stored there, I still can’t tell if it’s the final version. And this leads us to the idea of “extended ECM.” By integrating ECM into the lead applications that across the enterprise, you can bring ALL the relevant information and documents associated with this customer and present it in one convenient view (to use another marketing phrase: a single source of the truth). I finally have the complete picture and can view it all in an interface I’m comfortable working with (like Salesforce). In the screenshot below you can see the ECM content from OpenText™ Content Suite within the context of the Salesforce data. This also works for other customer documents, invoices, correspondence, documents about products or parts, and any other unstructured data that is relevant to the structured data in Salesforce. And Salesforce is just one example of extended ECM (this DCG paper has more information). With OpenText™ Extended ECM Platform, organizations can extend Content Suite to virtually any lead application. I’m sure you can envision scenarios in your world related to BPM, ERP, CEM, HCM, SCM, and other information-generating business processes. Want to learn more? Read the DCG paper.

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Enterprise World 2016 – Learn How to Improve Process Productivity with Extended ECM Platform

Enterprise Content Management

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) was supposed to be a single solution to all of the myriad business problems. It would let the business owners dictate where and how all data would be stored and structured, apply user rights and retention policies, and most importantly, control what happened to that data over its lifetime. But we all know how that story ended. Users felt constrained by all of the new rules that got in the way of their ability to do their job and were baffled by the complex metadata and classification requirements. Sharing information with external resources (gasp!) became a monumental challenge. And most of all, they resented having to do the real work of their job—be it sales, HR, engineering, or virtually anything else—in one application, then switch to the ECM system to (attempt to) file and find documents related to their business processes. So those very employees that were hired to be self-motivated problem solvers and critical thinkers did what they were hired to do—they found alternative solutions so they could do their job more efficiently. Custom add-on applications were built to handle common processes, while whole industries evolved for things like enterprise resource management (ERP) and engineering document management (EDM). Users switched between different applications to perform different aspects of their job, often to complete steps in the same process. The result? An inconsistently used ECM system and unstructured data that is spread across various (largely uncontrolled) silos with no control and poor personal and process productivity. So what if you took the heart of what ECM represents to your business—the backbone for your unstructured information—and integrated it with the leading application where the work actually gets done? You get Extended ECM and an engine for Digital Transformation.   With Release 16 OpenText launched the Extended ECM Platform, which offers unprecedented integration of Content Suite Platform to ANY  other system. OpenText offers out-of-the-box solutions for many leading business applications like SAP® ERP, Oracle® E-Business Suite, and Microsoft® SharePoint®, but Extended ECM Platform allows organizations to connect their ECM system to as many leading applications as they need, even if no pre-packaged offering is available. With Extended ECM, users get to work in the application they know and prefer, while getting effortless access to the right unstructured information. Metadata is automatically applied from the business object, turning unstructured information into structured. No searching, no switching, and no workarounds. Users are more efficient, processes more streamlined, and the holy grail of “a single source of the truth” is achieved. Best of all, it allows organizations to start with one process at a time and to leverage existing ECM efforts. Extended ECM Platform uses a template mechanism to join business processes with information and documents, so you don’t need to start from scratch. It really is time to rethink ECM and achieve a better way to work. OpenText™ Extended ECM Platform will get you there. And best of all, you can come see it in person at Enterprise World in Nashville, Tennessee on July 11 – 14. Join me at these key Extended ECM sessions: ECM-100 ECM Strategy and Product Direction: Re-thinking ECM for the Digital Enterprise ECM-301 How To: Extended ECM Platform Developer Workshop ECM-237 Putting the X in ECM – Extending ECM into Leading Business Applications Plus, the Content Theater in the Enterprise Expo has recurring demos of all the new Content Suite features, Q&A sessions, and the chance to chat with OpenText experts about anything and everything ECM related. Feel free to stop by anytime!

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Key Takeaways from My First Enterprise World

Before Enterprise World 2015, I blogged about the benefits I hoped to achieve by attending the annual OpenText get-together for the first time. My list came down to three priorities: Interaction with colleagues, partners, and customers Putting it all together (in terms of OpenText products and services) Getting energized I’m happy to say I was successful on all three fronts. I was able to connect with many OpenText colleagues from around the world, learned about some exciting technology from key partners, and perhaps most importantly, I had the pleasure of connecting with many Brava! customers about their needs, experiences, and challenges. Product manager Mark Farlin and I gave a session on what’s new in Brava! and what the roadmap holds, and I truly appreciate the fantastic attendance. We had great questions and follow-up from it. I know that many customers weren’t able to attend Enterprise World, so I encourage anyone to email me with questions. or comment below and share how you use Brava!. We need, want, and embrace your valuable feedback. In terms of my second goal of seeing the whole picture, both from an OpenText product standpoint and a larger industry-wide focus, I can honestly say I learned something at every session I attended, but I most enjoyed the sessions where customers talked about their digital transformation journeys. While they spanned a wide range of industries and the “disruptor” event that precipitated their change varied, their goals and the benefits they realized were often surprisingly similar. And, having achieved my first two goals, it naturally ensured the third— getting energized— would fall right in line. When you listen to customers talk enthusiastically about how digital transformation has enhanced their enterprises— how much faster, more efficient, more compliant and more productive their organizations now are, it’s hard not to come away invigorated. To be fair, not every conversation I had was crammed with glowing acclaim, but that’s okay; the beauty of a forum like Enterprise World is that all conversations with customers are motivating. We’re focused on getting to the solution so customers can realize their digital vision. So my first Enterprise World was a resounding success. If you didn’t make it this time, I encourage you to plan on attending Enterprise World 2016 in Nashville this coming July. I look forward to seeing you there.

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My First Enterprise World – Will I See You There?

As a relatively new OpenText employee–my team and I came over in the IGC acquisition–the past few months have been my first exposure to Enterprise World from the host side of the table, and it’s been a real eye-opener. For starters, I just want to say how impressed I am at the energy, care, and creativity invested by all the groups involved in its planning. Kudos to everyone involved! With the event itself rapidly approaching, it also struck me that, although I’ve done extensive planning around Enterprise World for many years while at IGC (remember when it was called LiveLinkUp?), I’ve never actually attended it. I’ve written presentations for it, designed booths, created collateral, and arranged meetings and dinners; but I’ve never had the chance to experience it first-hand. That means I’ve never had the opportunity to share ideas and exchange tips with customers and partners, learn from the wide variety of presentations, or share in the collective energy that happens when people come together for a common purpose. But that’s about to change… Now that I finally have my chance to participate, I decided to really look at what I’m looking forward to and what I hope to get from it, and it came down to three key things: Interact with colleagues, partners, and customers: There is no substitute for actually being at an event and talking to people. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to understand what’s happening in the real world. More than anything, I’m looking forward to connecting with people from different industries and engaging in conversations about challenges, wins, industry trends, and creative solutions. Put it all together: I was able to do some of this at the Innovation Tour events I attended in the spring, but nothing compares to Enterprise World when it comes to seeing all the OpenText products and services showcased together—and this is vitally important—in the context of today’s business landscape. I’m always excited to hear from experts like Forrester’s Cheryl McKinnon and Craig Le Clair and Gartner’s Ken Chin, but I’m also looking forward to learning from our own OpenText industry experts and their extensive experience across a broad set of verticals and segments. Get energized: As an OpenText employee, I’ve had the privilege of getting sneak peaks at a lot of the next-generation product innovations OpenText has cooking. It’s truly amazing stuff, and many of them will be unveiled at Enterprise World. The resulting wave of inspiration and enthusiasm is going to be big, and it’s going to be contagious. Of course, the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is the opportunity to expand the awareness of our solutions now that they’re full-fledged members of the OpenText product line. Be sure to catch my presentation with product manager Mark Farlin on the latest Brava!, Redact-It, and Blazon features and roadmaps. Then, stick around and share your questions, requests, and business problems. We’d love to talk to you. After all, connecting is what Enterprise World is all about!    

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Email is for communication, not collaboration

customer lifecycle value

If I had a nickel for every time someone sent me a document to review in an email, I’d have a closet like Imelda Marcos. My friend in IT often laments that attachments ever became an option for email because it has brought bloated inboxes and increased security risks along with it. But even from a business workflow perspective, email just wasn’t designed to be a collaboration tool. Documents in email are quickly outdated. If someone emails a document to three people for review, once the first person starts to make comments or modify it, the original attachment is out of date. Even if the reviewers are good about taking turns reviewing and using only the most recently emailed version, it will exist in all of their email accounts in up to four different iterations. Ensuring everyone reviews the most recent copy or merging changes and comments from any simultaneous reviews is completely at the discretion of the reviewers. Conversations and resulting decisions are not properly maintained. In a litigation event, proving who said what can be very important. Or maybe you need to prove the customer signed off on a particular change. Calling up the right file version and the right markups can be critical. Document permissions are irrelevant. To me, this is the biggest issue with emailing documents. Once an authorized user downloads a document and puts it in an email, all control over that document—and any intellectual property (IP) or sensitive information it contains—is lost. One click of the Send button can propel that document across a handful of unsecured email servers (hence the concern around Hilary Clinton’s use of her personal email account for classified communications) and to unauthorized recipients outside the organization. Don’t get me wrong, email is an incredibly useful tool, it’s just a misused one. But a combination of ECM and a proper collaboration tool solve this problem nicely. Send links to documents in the ECM system rather than sending the document itself. The Email link button in Content Suite just might be my favorite feature and is certainly one of my most used. If you need to share documents with people that don’t have access to the ECM system, Brava! can publish the file to the secure CSF format. CSF provides more control over what can be done with the file, including restricting printing and re-publishing, and can include password protection and even an expiration date. Use a tool designed for collaboration. With Brava!, markups and conversations are properly stored and managed and IP stays safely inside the firewall, seen only by authorized users. Brava! can even burn the final, approved markups into a PDF version of the document for archiving.

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Bring Your Information Into Focus With PDF Conversion Software

PDF conversion software

Employees spend 1.8 hours a day or 9.3 hours a week searching for and gathering information, according to a McKinsey report. As an Under the Radar blog post suggests, this translates to a business hiring 5 employees “but only 4 show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.” But what if you could provide answers to that “fifth employee” by merging files to bring all the information they need into one file? Or by splitting files to separate out the information they don’t need—so they can focus on the information they do need? We’ve found that people are using OpenText™ Blazon PDF conversion software to do just that, working with Microsoft Office documents, images and CAD drawings to make one file with just the right content—complete with a hyperlinked table of contents. And they’re able to publish that file into one of several formats of choice: PDF, TIFF, JPEG and our secure content sealed format (CSF). And it’s not just helping employees; whole industries are realizing the benefits of increased productivity and faster assembly of transmittals, responses to RFPs and content archives. Look at the examples below: Healthcare. Patient information is easier to find when multiple patient records are combined into one cohesive patient document. Life sciences. Once a pharmaceutical company has a drug at proof-of-concept stage, they need to seek out partners for development and production. Potential partners need to see full documentation in order to perform due diligence before making a commitment. Documents published to CSF can be set to expire (time bombed) when the due diligence period has expired, rendering the content inaccessible. Blazon is also used to apply watermarks and banners to display legal information, helping to help protect IP and providing useful information like life cycle state, approval date or status. Energy and engineering. Blazon is used to generate transmittals of individual or groups of documents. These documents contain various formats and are typically converted to PDF for distribution. Because Blazon can burn in markups made in OpenText™ Brava, this makes it easy to share them with outside reviewers. Other uses. Blazon also is used to put together mortgage packages, marketing rollout communications, project proposals, sales proposals, insurance claim processing and automatically converting Word documents to PDF for archiving.

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Why not go Paper Free for a day?

paper free

As the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) embarks on World Paper Free Day on Thursday, November 6th, here are a few facts about paper for you: The United States produced about 20.7 million tons of paper last year, which can take as many as 55 to 110 million trees to make, according to Sierra magazine Also, as if this wasn’t enough reason for participating, business processes can get stilted by paper use. Hard copies can get misplaced and handwritten notations are often hard to read, as one manufacturer revealed in a recent white paper Becoming paper free has been an enterprise content management mantra since the launch of the first document imaging systems in the 1980s, according to an AIIM blog post. And as AIIM points out, “If you are looking for a benefit, how does improved workflow and operating efficiency work for you? Or how about increased findability and responsiveness?” So why not “test the paper-free waters” by eliminating paper from just one process for World Paper Free Day? Some simple suggestions include: Obtaining signatures digitally Ggetting retail receipts emailed instead of printed Emailing documents to your customers rather than mailing them “The idea is simple,” as AIIM points out. “Pick a process, eliminate a piece of paper from that process by keeping it digital, and work with it that way.” Even if you can’t do it for World Paper Free Day, it seems easy enough and worth looking into for your own paper-reduction initiatives.

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Safely Bring Your Data out of the Dark

dark data

The idea of “dark data” might sound a bit ominous, but it is simply the information “organizations collect, process and store in the course of their regular business activity, but generally fail to use for other purposes,” according to research firms, who also report that up to 90 percent of our “big data” is dark data. The risks of dark data, according to a CIO magazine article, include: Legal and regulatory risk, if the data contains confidential, financial information (credit card or other account data), patient records or other data covered by mandate or regulation Intelligence risk, if it encompasses proprietary or sensitive business information Reputation risk, which applies to any kind of data breaches Opportunity costs from the lack of analysis and mining of the dark data, by definition Open-ended exposure, since it contains unknown (and therefore unevaluated) sources of intelligence that can be exposed to loss or harm To mitigate such risks, the article suggests an ongoing inventory and assessment, using encryption when possible, establishing retention policies and methods for safe disposal and conducting periodic security audits. But dark data isn’t just about risk. A recent CMSWire post points out that it “may also be viewed as an asset when accessed and protected appropriately.” The article goes on to say that by using compliance technology to not only discover dark data for compliance purposes, but also for knowledge management and data discovery purposes, means that organizations can effectively: Lower overall total cost of ownership Enable business self-service Accelerate data access and collaboration capabilities Adhere to compliance policies and mitigate data risks Whether you see dark data as a risk or opportunity, it’s important to know how to make the most of it. Fred Pulzello, president of ARMA International, suggests some best practices in a TechTarget article that I think are worth sharing here: Define and identify it. Pulzello adds that if dark data is employee generated, it is a less likely candidate for repurposing than system-generated data—with employee-generated data often consisting of working drafts and “just-in-case” copies. Perform a cost-benefit analysis of the data’s potential usefulness. Define a specific purpose for keeping it, with a short retention time frame such as six to nine months. Assign the responsibility of follow-up to an individual or group for accountability purposes. Make the business case for keeping any data that can be useful and for deleting any data that has no apparent value. Map data to the retention and disposition schedule to justify deletion. As needed, create new categories on the retention schedule to address data that is not otherwise addressed in a policy statement. Execute your defensible disposition plan. Make sure the data slated for disposition is actually deleted or destroyed. Keep documentation that cites the “why” and the “when” of deletion. Determine annually whether the repurposed data is bringing value. If not, then it is once again dark data and should be deleted in a proper, defensible manner. Pulzello adds that dark data continues to be such a hot topic in information circles because of the “relentless, immeasurable increase in electronically stored information and the places to store it.” He says, “Dark data might seem like a buzzword, but the reality is that it’s here to stay. … An organization’s best response is to implement an information governance program that properly manages all of its data throughout its life cycle, recognizes the probability of dark data and implements measures to repurpose or properly delete it.” Read more here.

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Getting Started With Digital Asset Management

digital asset management

All too often knowledge workers find themselves spending valuable time sifting through poorly organized content on shared network drives to find the assets that they need to do their jobs. An IDC report quantified the problem a couple of years back: Knowledge workers typically waste about 2.3 hours per week fruitlessly searching for information. I’m sure that this problem is not limited to marketing organizations, but I can speak from personal experience here. Without a clear digital asset management (DAM) plan in place, finding that screen shot I took a few months ago, say, or that report I meant to review a while back, is far too difficult—and sometimes impossible. Studies have shown that having a DAM solution can mean an annual savings of close to $40,000 annually. Other benefits include being able to find files quickly, avoiding the interruption of having to ask coworkers for images or documents, being able to reuse and repurpose content rather than redoing projects and providing access to content to offsite partners and teams. It’s time to consider building a DAM. In my quest for practical advice, I found a good overview at CMSWire. According to DAM expert Jeff Lawrence, the steps are fairly straightforward. Step 1, build a team. You’ll want to include stakeholders from IT, Marketing, Art, Records Management, and so on. I especially like his advice to recruit “that person who is the loudest in the crowd.” Step 2, define the vision. Before you roll up your sleeves, you and the team need to establish the project scope and define business goals. Step 3, be a cheerleader—get everyone excited. It makes good sense to get people involved early and keep them engaged so they are invested in the project. Rolling out new policies and procedures is always tough, and getting buy-in from the troops is key. Steps 4 and 5, performing a content inventory and making a migration plan, need no explanation. You need to know what assets you’ve already got on hand and figure out how to move them to the new DAM system before you can move forward. Step 6 moves into information governance territory. It’s essential to establish well-defined governance strategies and policies that define what assets will be moved into the DAM, a metadata policy and more. For an exploration of the relationship between information governance and DAM, read “The Greatness of Information Governance.” Step 7, work with your IT security team to define a secure infrastructure and establish clear policies for use of the system. Step 8, consider employing a content management system. As Lawrence writes, “automation helps.” An enterprise content management (ECM) system can provide useful automation and universal viewing/annotation tools that make it easier to find and collaborate with content. Finally, invest in ongoing maintenance. DAM is not a “set it and forget it” endeavor. And if it saves you time and money in the long run, doesn’t it make sense to have it operating at its best?

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Redaction isn’t a Good Place for a DIY Approach

redaction

I’ve been covering redaction mishaps for a while now, and happily, the number of high profile snafus has really gone down, but they still happen. So I’m not surprised that groups like TransCelerate BioPharma Inc., a nonprofit consortium of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, are offering guidance on ways to keep private information secure. TransCelerate released a document detailing how organizations should protect the personal data of patients and others involved in clinical study reports (CSRs). It advocates that personal information, investigator names, non-sponsor company names, addresses, patient or subject ID numbers and individual outcomes be redacted.  An explanation of why each item has been redacted should also be provided. “Increasing transparency of clinical trial information by making clinical study reports more widely available is a goal we all share,” said Andrew Freeman, Director and Head of Medical Policy at GlaxoSmithKline, and TransCelerate Clinical Data Transparency initiative co-lead in a press release. “This must be done in ways that protect the privacy of those involved, and the adoption of a consistent approach is an important step forward.” Part of that consistent approach includes the use of professional tools, according to the TransCelerate document: “For documents existing in an electronic format, we recommend redaction utilizing a professional redaction tool that prevents the ability to revert content and unmask redacted information.” Open formats, like TIFF and PDF, can make it easy to share data—but there are also many software programs that can edit the files and even open password-protected files. “Quality control measures must be employed before the redactions are applied and the CSR is rendered as a Portable Document Format (PDF) that cannot be edited,” according to the document. Redaction should completely remove, rather than cover, sensitive content so it can’t be copied or compromised. This is actually the most common redaction mistake made, with very costy consequences, including: Identity theft, which affects more than 9 million people and costs more than $56 billion to the economy every year Non-compliance with regulations such as the Freedom of Information Act or Sarbanes-Oxley Loss of competitive advantage Compromised security and loss of intellectual property as vulnerable content leaves your organization Embarrassing press and possible litigation It is easy to see why redaction is so important, but without a “professional redaction tool” as recommended by TransCelerate, the process can be challenging and time consuming. A survey found that more than 25% of respondents were still doing redaction manually, with markers or redaction tape. This generally means printing out the document, using a black marker to block out confidential material, then making a copy (and often a copy of that copy to ensure the text is fully obscured), and then scanning it back to electronic form. Performing electronic redaction can greatly reduce the amount of time (and money) spent redacting. Read more about a solution here.

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Streamlining the Signing Process With Electronic Signatures

electronic signatures

With business stakeholders becoming increasingly mobile, it can be challenging to get a document in front of someone for signature or approval. Many industries are turning to electronic signatures, often building them into their enterprise content management (ECM) systems, as a more efficient and cost-effective way of obtaining those signatures. There are two types of electronic signatures that are currently prevalent: A digital signature, which is a type of electronic signature that incorporates encryption and passwords Electronic or e-signatures, which more broadly includes any “electronic sound, symbol or process” used to sign an electronic transaction, according to The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act Both can save time, money and the resources associated with getting a hard copy of a document in front of someone to sign, but let’s look at what makes them work. Digital Signatures Larry Kluger, marketing manager at CoSign by Arx, explains how organizations are using digital signatures for customers, clients and other external signers. Instead of employing an outside service, they can use their own digital signature systems—as long as a couple of important conditions are met. First, the signer must be properly authenticated. This is most easily accomplished in person, with appropriate identification, but there are some reliable ways to authenticate “remote signers.” Second, there must be a way to certify that the remote signer really is the person who digitally signed the document. Kluger suggests having a staff member digitally sign the document, attesting to the validity of the first signature, or having the external signer use encrypted digital certificate technology (commonly used by third-party services). Electronic signatures The procedures that Kluger outlines, however, can seem cumbersome for frequent signatories. Wouldn’t it be easier to authenticate external signers once and input scanned signatures, official seals and initials into one central repository? External signers could then be provided documents on a secure website and easily sign as required. Enter electronic signatures, which can be as legally binding as digital signatures provided the user is logged into their ECM system (the authentication) and that the ECM system records the signature action. This type of electronic signature even meets the strict requirements of FDA CFR 21 part 11. OpenText™ Brava makes adding electronic signatures easy. Simply set up your signature once using either an image or choosing a script font to type it in electronically. Going forward, you can quickly and easily apply the signature, initials and even professional seals—a particularly useful feature for CAD users. When integrated to an ECM system, it alerts the system that the signing event has been completed so it can record it in the database.

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Using File Transformation Software to Simplify Compliance in Life Sciences

file transformation software

Pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers and other Life Sciences organizations must comply with a barrage of regulations in the U.S. and abroad. One key aspect of compliance involves following strict records management requirements throughout the R&D process, and when submitting new drugs for approval. Documentation for a single research study can run to thousands of pages, and key results might be recorded in various ways, including Microsoft Office documents, digital images and even handwritten notes. In addition, Life Sciences organizations often deal with multiple jurisdictions, patent laws and a dispersed workforce—so it’s no wonder that staying in compliance is complex and time consuming. And as in any other industry, time is money. For example, bringing a drug to market one day earlier can save a pharmaceutical company as much as $37,000 in out-of-pocket development costs and net an additional $1.1 million in daily prescription revenue, according to a Tufts study. To streamline the submission and review process, and reduce time to market, the FDA and other regulatory agencies are encouraging Life Sciences organizations to move to electronic submissions. However, the requirements are daunting. For example, the FDA requires submissions to include PDF versions of case reports that are extensively cross-referenced, hyperlinked and bookmarked. An electronic submission comprises a series of electronic documents, with each document pulling together information that includes forms, reports and data. Specialized content management systems from can help Life Sciences organizations to manage complex workflows and stay in compliance. These systems combine enterprise content management (ECM) features such as shared file repositories and document permissions with workflows that move projects through R&D, clinical trials, regulatory approval and manufacturing. They can also incorporate technologies such as OpenText™ Blazon that make it possible to pull content from many different files and produce merged PDFs for review or inclusion in a submission package. Blazon also automates the file transformation process, allowing organizations to create PDFs from files in many different formats. Life Sciences organizations must also comply with data handling and archiving regulations. Drug development, clinical trial data and documentation pertaining to medical devices must be archived in accordance with very strict rules. For example, FDA 21 CFR Part 11 governs how electronic records are to be managed, while FDA CFR 820 (in the U.S.) and ISO 13485 (in the EU and elsewhere) both require that records pertaining to medical devices be retained for lengthy periods of time. These regulations do not specify the format in which data is to be stored, but our customers tend to use PDF/A for archiving purposes. Batch file transformation software, such as Blazon, can be embedded into workflow processes to ensure that documents are automatically transformed to the required format for archiving or submittal. With Blazon, organizations can ensure adherence to regulatory or internal mandates by using the optimal output format—whether it’s PDF/A for long-term archiving, conventional PDF for distribution or filing with a government agency or TIFF for a widely supported format that doesn’t allow text selection.

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Who Does What in Information Governance?

information governance

Are there weaknesses in your company’s data management strategies? If your information governance roles aren’t clearly defined, then it’s likely there are. According to analysts, information governance is how organizations “enforce desirable behavior in the creation, use, archiving and disposition of corporate information.” Information governance’s goal is to “ensure compliance with laws and regulations, mitigate risks and protect the confidentiality of sensitive company and customer data.” Failure to comply with such regulations can result in significant penalty, legal liability and loss of reputation. Check out Information Governance is Good Business for more information on this big topic. While it’s clear to see why information governance is important, implementing it is not without its challenges. One of the major challenges stems from insufficient collaboration among key stakeholders, according to EDRM’s (Electronic Discovery Reference Model) Information Governance Reference Model (IGRM). IGRM seeks to help stakeholders understand their responsibilities, processes and practices for information governance—as well as understand the importance of collaboration across the enterprise. According to IGRM, the key responsibilities are divided among three key groups: Business users. They need the information to operate the organization and are the primary stakeholders. Their responsibility is to define and declare the specific value of information. Legal, risk and regulatory departments. Once business value has been established, these stakeholders are chartered to manage risk for the company. They define what to put on hold and what and when to collect data for discovery. They also are charged with ensuring regulatory obligations for information are met, including what to retain and archive and for how long. IT organizations. They must manage the information accordingly, ensuring privacy, security and appropriate retention. Without collaboration with the other two sets of stakeholders, IT can’t speak to what information has value or what duties apply to specific information. Once an organization has established these roles, the hope is that the diagram can be used to facilitate better cooperation, cross-functional processes and better information governance. It can be hard work to design an information governance program and then implement it across the enterprise—but establishing who does what and fostering collaboration among the stakeholders can mean a huge payoff in terms of reduced risk and increased data security.

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Are Data Protection Concerns Keeping you From Leveraging Information?

data protection

A recent PwC study suggested that many businesses are so concerned about protecting data from possible theft or misuse that they are not taking full advantage of the value that information represents. “Beyond good intentions: An introduction to the 2014 Information Risk Maturity Index” summarizes results from interviews with 1,800 business leaders in Europe and North America on their “risk maturity,” or the extent to which businesses implement and monitor policies and procedures to protect and manage their information assets. While I don’t think the paper presented evidence to tie together the respondents’ risk maturity level and their ability or willingness to use their data effectively, they bring up a point worth discussing. The PwC study contends that a “company-wide focus on security has kept organizations and their boards from sharing and distributing data and information within the organization to maximize its value.” It goes on to explain: “The big issue facing most businesses … is that their information assets are in the hands of the right people to safeguard them, but the wrong people to manage their exploitation. Organizations continue to believe that the IT manager should have ultimate responsibility for protecting information. … A cultural shift is needed so that information is shared with the people who have the right skills. This will include e.g. [sic] data analysts who can mine it and derive insight from it, as well as business units such as R&D, sales, and customer relationship teams who can determine what the insight means for them.” The challenge here is how to share proprietary information with employees who can create business value from that data without running the risk of having it fall into the wrong hands. Of course most companies have ECM systems that enforce users rights and permissions, but what about users who need access to information without having editing, downloading or printing rights? For example, only authorized users could be given access to certain documents—and that access could be restricted to viewing the content on a server only, not downloading files or copying the content within it. OpenText™ Brava makes this type of secure content viewing possible. With Brava integrated into an ECM system, organizations can maintain full control over their content while ensuring that authorized users can view the information they need.

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eDiscovery Costs Keep Rising: It’s Time for Software to Come to the Rescue

I read the recent 2014 Norton Rose Fulbright Annual Litigation Trends survey, which (rather unsurprisingly) shows that corporate lawsuits continue to rise. What did surprise me was how big a jump 2013 showed: “Litigation spending rose once again in 2013, with 71 percent of U.S. companies reporting an average spend of $1 million or more, up sharply from 53 percent reported in both 2011 and 2012.” Why this jump in costs? eDiscovery. According to the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for eDiscovery Software, eDiscovery is feeling the pain of the data explosion, fueled by “increasing volumes of litigation and regulatory investigation, and the ever-expanding amount of ESI [electronically stored information] that must be searched in support of these activities.” Drilling down further, a 2013 Rand study found that 73% of eDiscovery costs are spent in the document review stage, where ESI is evaluated for relevance and privilege. If an organization can streamline and simplify content viewing and particularly redaction, it can help reduce the expense involved in eDiscovery. When I first ventured into the eDiscovery market seven years ago, I was truly astonished to find that companies and law firms took perfectly good electronic documents and printed them to perform review and redaction. They would often use interns, college students, or outside paralegal firms to comb through all the printed material and manually redact information with markers or tape, then scan everything back in. To make the now flat scanned documents text-searchable again, they would undergo optical character recognition (OCR). I can’t imagine doing that on hundreds of documents, let alone millions. Using the original, electronic version of data is—and must be—the trend in eDiscovery. According to forecasts, enterprise eDiscovery software revenues are expected to nearly double over the next few years, from $1.8 billion today to $3.1 billion in 2018. This entertaining—and informative—video shows how software can be used effectively to help speed the review and redaction of data. They use OpenText™ Brava to provide multi-format viewing and redaction in a single interface.

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An Inside Look at Information Governance in Healthcare IT

information governance healthcare

The American Hospital Association recently posted an interesting interview with AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon on information governance. According to Gordon, “a grounding in information governance is crucial in today’s hospital C-suite. As electronic health records proliferate, the amount of patient data a typical hospital collects, stores and shares doubles every day by some estimates.” She makes a great point: Healthcare organizations are not immune to the data explosion. To grow and thrive, they need to deal with data just like every organization, and information governance is a critical piece of that solution. In fact, AHIMA recently published an interesting series of case studies profiling four healthcare organizations with active information governance programs. Because the organizations are not identified, they are candid in describing the challenges—and rewards—involved in implementing an information governance program. Although the organizations range from a four-hospital system to a huge nationwide provider network, they shared the common difficulty of getting all parties to consistently implement information governance strategies, including assigning approved metadata values and ensuring that the information input into medical records is accurate. Gordon noted a similar observation: “We’ve slammed in these electronic health records; we now have a lot of information. A lot of it is wrong, so now we just have faster incorrect information.” To help, Gordon recommends starting small. Pick a single pain point or data need and just tackle that. When you can show clear metrics about how you have the lowest infection rate in the state or the shortest wait times, people (especially executives) can get excited about the benefits of information governance. And there are some great benefits, as demonstrated in the four case studies, including: Reduced costs Improved coordination of patient care Streamlined electronic medical record system More accurate data Easier access to data for decision making It may be a huge task to implement information governance across the healthcare enterprise, but it is clearly vital to do so. As Gordon concludes, “You’re going to start seeing a big divide between the haves and the have-nots in terms of data. I don’t think hospitals want to be left behind. If they don’t have that information, they’re not going to be as agile and be able to adapt to all the changes.” Read more about information governance and compliance here.

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Simplifying Workflows and Sharing Resources in Enterprise IT

Not long ago I had the opportunity to hear how consultants at IBM Global Business Services analyze and optimize business processes in large enterprises such as major national banks and insurance companies. Although every case study presented had its own unique challenges, two themes emerged: simplifying workflows and sharing services. Large corporations that organize themselves around lines of business—each operating independently—often end up duplicating resources. Each line of business has its own data repository, enterprise software and IT services, which all adds up to a lot of redundancy and a lot of money. Reducing costs and operational complexity requires organizations to reach across siloed business units and share enterprise IT resources. A recent InformationWeek article reminded me of what the consultants brought up during our discussions. In “What Enterprise IT Can Learn from Industrial Engineering,” Lockheed Martin’s Stephanie C. Hill explores how IT organizations can improve efficiencies across the enterprise. She advocates applying industrial engineering principles to IT product and service delivery, including: Achieving cost savings through process improvement Automating time-consuming processes with software tools Sharing expertise and resources across the enterprise Sharing resources across teams in large IT organizations allow efficiencies developed in one program to be implemented within similar programs across the enterprise. Hill highlights the importance of horizontal communications and the sharing of expertise across diverse program environments. This maps to business processes as well: the IBM consultants pointed out that scaling horizontally and sharing IT resources across lines of business resulted in substantial savings. Hill also highlights the importance of using automation to streamline IT processes. In enterprise IT this can involve setting up a self-service system that allows employees to request computer upgrades and automates fulfillment. Across the business, this principle could translate to using an enterprise content management (ECM) system to facilitate workflows that streamline business processes. For example, an ECM system could include a workflow that allows the legal department to request signatures on a contract, then automatically routes the documents to signatories for approval and finally produces a signed PDF. To improve efficiencies in enterprise IT—and in business processes across the enterprise as a whole—we need to collaborate and share resources across programs and lines of business. I agree with Hill completely when she writes, “The most effective way to achieve those goals is to strive for efficiencies across enterprise operations, not within discrete activities or tasks alone.” Read more about ECM here.

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Tips for Harnessing Document Metadata to Improve Productivity

As CMSWire writer David Lavenda observed in “What the NSA Can Teach Us about Finding Documents: 6 Tips on Metadata,” the recent news on how much information the NSA collects about US citizen’s phone calls has made metadata “a dirty word” to some. Many companies and their law firms take a similarly negative view during eDiscovery, where the fear of accidental disclosure through the potentially overlooked details in metadata drive companies to print and rescan all documents just to ensure its complete obliteration. What exactly is metadata? Generally described as “data about data,” metadata is information about a document (or phone call, or recording, or any other digital file or asset). It includes information like: who created the document and when, where it is stored, when it was printed or modified and what version it is all represent metadata. In the case of the NSA, the metadata they collect includes the phone numbers of both parties, the call duration and when it was made. While many of us may be reminded of Orwell’s Big Brother in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, Lavenda’s real point is that metadata actually can be a very useful tool and one all companies can use to improve efficiency. Specifically, it is invaluable for cataloging content so that it can quickly be found when needed—and that is key to improving productivity. A uSamp survey found that knowledge workers waste up to 30 minutes each day searching for documents in email inboxes, desktop computers and file servers. This hunt for content adds up to a cost of approximately $3,900 per employee per year in lost productivity. But, of course, the key to getting the most out of metadata is ensuring that it is complete and correct. Keep the rules simple and train users on how to properly specify metadata on document check-in. The benefits of a well-organized system that is easy to search will quickly become apparent to everyone, and all thanks to the very useful metadata.

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Best Practices for Securely Sharing Healthcare Documents While Mobile

I recently read an article discussing best practices for securing mobile healthcare devices. This got me thinking about the larger set of issues surrounding information security, HIPAA compliance, Meaningful Use and the potential for personal data leakage when accessing healthcare content on laptops, tablets and smartphones. Over recent years we have seen three healthcare trends converge, making the ability to view documents on mobile devices an imperative: The increased use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets across healthcare stakeholders, including providers, payers and patients The growing amount of unstructured data, such as PDFs of ECG results, radiology images, photos, transcription documents and more The expanding use of Health Information Exchange (HIE) systems, including the release of medical information to patients With up to 80 percent of a typical healthcare institution’s data being traditional documents or other such “unstructured” content, the challenge arises when an authorized stakeholder (e.g., a provider, the patient, a case manager or care-giver) needs to access health information from their tablet or smartphone. How can healthcare organizations be sure that the information is viewable by authorized individuals, yet protected from prying eyes? A typical set of best practices surrounding content protection include: Ensure that users access and view information using only trusted apps Protect content, ensuring that it can only be viewed by a designated individual and for a defined period Secure stored data in a protected or encrypted format to ensure that it can not be accessed should a device be the subject of theft or other malicious activities Prevent the use of untrusted file-sharing apps for accessing secure documents Record all viewing, printing and sharing actions into an audit log Ensure that sensitive, personal information contained within documents is only available to verified individuals To me, this last point stands out with the looming deadline for meeting Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements demanding both broader access to electronic records and protection of personal information. This makes including a comprehensive redaction (removal of sensitive content) strategy essential, especially when sharing healthcare records to mobile devices. This will help protect against bad habits of well-intended users as well as the actions of users with more malicious intentions.

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Are we Moving Toward Information Chaos or Information Opportunity?

information governance

In a recent AIIM survey of 500 business leaders, only 10% of them said that their companies had a workable information governance policy. Another survey finding is just as disturbing: “Just 19 per cent of the companies that have a policy in place regularly audit for compliance.” The actual number of companies with a viable information governance policy could actually be far lower. Why does this matter? According to AIIM President John Mancini, we’re moving into an era of “Information Chaos”: even as the amount of data is steadily increasing, corporate America’s ability to effectively manage all that data is being stretched. Businesses complain about unmanageable repositories that make finding information difficult and the challenge of securing data on mobile devices. For a good overview of where we are, why we got here—and a hopeful look at how we can turn chaos into business opportunities—take a look at Mancini’s interesting Slideshare on information governance. Convinced that you need to set up an information governance program? Read this top-level look at how to get started or visit this site to learn more on the basics of information governance.

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