3rd Platform and ECM for Government

The “Third Platform” and ECM for Government

Government agencies are adopting a range of new technologies—from mobile and cloud computing to big data analytics—in an effort to boost worker productivity, improve the quality of services they provide to citizens and reduce costs. This collection of new technologies, called the “third platform” by IDC, reflects a significant shift in IT from the first two platforms of mainframes and personal computers.

There’s little doubt that the third platform has the potential to provide significant benefits for governments and their citizens. But for many government IT groups, supporting these technologies will require a careful reassessment of enterprise content management (ECM) strategies and practices. Here are some things to consider when prepping for ECM use on the third platform.

Mobile computing
By enabling mobile computing and supporting the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend (sometimes called “bring-your-own-disaster”), government agencies open new possibilities for remote work and anytime, anywhere access to information—while also cutting the capital costs of buying PCs. A court system could allow judges to access and mark up cloud-based case documents from a personal tablet at home, and then pick up their work on the same documents at the office the next day. Citizens could access up-to-the-minute public safety information from their smartphones.

To support these and other mobile computing scenarios, though, IT groups must find ways to manage the lifecycle of information across a wide variety of sources, and deliver trusted, up-to-date information to users’ preferred mobile devices. IT groups also need policies to help them maintain privacy, security and compliance while supporting greater user mobility. All of these practices must be coordinated in a data and content governance strategy—which as I talk to governments worldwide, is not being done.

Cloud computing
Whether on-premise, off-premise, private or public, governments are assessing or planning on using cloud computing to host information and applications. This approach does resolve some governance issues with interoperability, because with mobile computing in the cloud, it’s the data—not the device—that is king.

As public-sector organizations move to the cloud, they acquire the ability to consolidate metadata or classification requirements, which reduces the chance of duplication or loss of information. However, if proper metadata, classification or file plans are not enforced in the cloud, then departments or users risk losing information. A badly planned cloud deployment in content management will turn out to be just another shared drive that no one has control over.
Finally, if government departments use public cloud infrastructures, who will ensure the enforcement of policy and compliance requirements for records management or content management?

Big data analytics
To capitalize on the full potential of big data, government agencies need new ways to efficiently extract and analyze data from unstructured sources. Up to 80 percent of information exists in unstructured form within case files, fraud investigation notes, historical contracts, social media feeds and other sources. Natural-language processing technologies and classification engines help agencies extract valuable information from those sources, which they can then feed into analytics systems to substantially enhance the value of analyses.

Analyzing unstructured data from social media can help intelligence agencies identify trends that might signal future hate crimes or terrorist acts. Caseworkers can draw on information previously buried in handwritten notes to make better-informed and more dynamic decisions.

The third platform of computing holds a lot of promise for improving productivity, service quality and efficiency. Better ways to capture, analyze, manage and govern content—supported by ECM strategies and best practices—will enable government agencies and their citizens to take full advantage of what these new technologies can offer. But don’t underestimate the importance of a strong governance strategy and plan, as well as a solid information lifecycle infrastructure.
What this means for ECM platforms or technology is that greater interoperability and functionality ( Text Analytics, Storage visualizations, Smart Archiving etc) will be needed to support the 3rd Platform

Bottom line: these new computing platforms and use cases create different modes of delivery of service and value which means again that policy and process in a government program needs tighter alignment

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