AIIM: Perna: Content management is at turning point

The technology industry is at a significant turning point in moving from data management to the broader content management and information integration, said Janet Perna, IBM Corp.’s general manager of data management solutions.

Speaking in New York at the AIIM 2003 Conference, Perna said that as technology moves toward managing content and integration, it holds the potential to usher in the next wave of e-business.

“We’re at an important juncture in the evolution of information management: the era of e-business on demand. Today’s challenge and leverage point is in managing content,” Perna said.

The main thrust of this evolution, according to Perna, is the shift away from historical content management solutions, typically designed to solve one specific problem and resulting in stovepipe scenarios, toward environments where information is integrated so it can be personalized and easily accessed.

Brett MacIntyre, vice-president of content management and information integration at IBM, explained that the inflection point is the result of several converging factors: the tidal wave of information growth, increased digitization of information, regulatory compliance, business continuance, need for faster return on investment (ROI), and the price of online storage becoming less expensive than physical real estate.

Perna said this transformation is necessary because information is continuing to grow to the point that it is becoming overwhelming.

“The information explosion is causing a problem, this suffocating (feeling) that there is so much out there, but it’s not personalized. We are buried in information,” she said.

But there are benefits to this evolution, namely better access to information, faster ROI, the ability to do more with less, and the enabling of on-demand services.

“The fuel for an on-demand business is information. This information is not just in databases, it’s all over,” Perna said.

She added that the end result of the next wave is that companies will be able to do more with less and be better positioned to change as the marketplace requires it.

While touting the benefits, Perna admitted that the move to integrated information infrastructures will not be easy. “As technologists know, this isn’t magic. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of software,” Perna said.