June 18, 2014

A Wish List for Amazing Archive Technology at AIIM Forum UK

An Archiving Specialist’s Wish List

We’re in the week before AIIM Forum UK 2014 and for Crawford Technologies that means a frenzy of activity preparing our booth, press releases, product launch materials, meeting with customers, presentations and the like. In the whirlwind of everyday activity it’s easy to lose sight of why we go to events like AIIM Forum UK and what we’re looking forward to see. As an archiving specialist for CrawfordTech, I have some very particular things that I’m interested in and hope to find out more about at AIIM Forum.

Wish #1- Next Generation Information Archiving

Having worked in the content management and archiving market place for the best part of 20 years I am familiar with the current products and the way that they work. The current generation of products sit squarely in the relational world; that is to say they all sit upon a relational database and are subject to the restrictions of the relational model. Now the relational model is not bad, its just that it it lacks the flexibility necessary for dealing with constantly evolving data models and XML driven data in particular. My prediction is that the relational model as an underpinning for content management and archiving systems is about to be overtaken by XML and we are just starting to see this trend in some of the new products in the market like InfoArchive from EMC.

I’m looking forward to seeing what new XML content management and archiving platforms are coming to the fore at AIIM Forum UK.

Wish #2 - PDF and PDF/A Take Over the World

CrawfordTech has been working with AIIM over the last three months to put together a global survey about print-stream archiving. The results of the survey are due to be published shortly but there were some fascinating statistics we gathered about the market; one of the more interesting is that only 39% of respondents actively archive outbound correspondence and of those that do over 70% are currently using PDF for long term archiving with 33% actively using PDF/A.

The message seems from this survey seems clear - not enough companies are capitalizing on benefits to customer services and operational costs to be gained from archiving customer correspondence and presenting this information online. This combined with the use of PDF at minimum, or PDF/A and PDF/UA as the preferred for long-term preservation, ensures customer and employees will be able to access customer correspondence in an approved and supported internationally accepted standard format for years to come.

I’m looking forward to seeing if the trends we established in this survey will carry through in my conversation with customers at AIIM Forum.

Wish #3 - User Interfaces for Archiving and ECM Systems Start to Look Good

Now it is fair to say the two words ‘user interface’ and ‘good design’ have not always been happy bedfellows when it comes to archiving and ECM systems. Over the years we have seen countless user interfaces that have struggled to be mutually supportive and relevant to customer’s needs. But, things have improved a lot. I always look forward to seeing the current state of user interface design from vendors at AIIM and its great to see so many large archiving and ECM vendors choose to adopt a user interface strategy rather than happenstance.

I will come back to you after AIIM to let you know whether any of my wishes have been granted. But until then goodbye.

Actually, one last thing; if you are attending AIIM Forum UK, I will be presenting a case study to discuss how EMC and Crawford Technologies helped British Gas reduce costs, improve customer service and leverage already invested in technology to make valueable and significant change within the organization. I will be speaking at 12:00-12:30 p.m. and invite you personally to stop by and here this industry case study.