Brian M O'Curran


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Lotus Quickr and ECM - Bridging the Gap between Content and Collaboration

Brian M O’Curran  June 22 2009 09:18:07 AM
Why IBM Lotus Quickr and ECM
IBM Lotus and ECM
Bridging the Gap between Content and Collaboration

The IBM vision for a smarter planet also means collaborating smarter Fifteen petabytes of data are created everyday. Every decision depends on information. Creating, managing and effectively and efficiently collaborating on this content includes working smarter and quicker.

Unstructured content such as email, signed documents, media files and Web content will soon account for 85 percent of the content companies must manage. Today an enormous amount of content is being generated in an ad-hoc fashion by employees using Web 2.0 technologies and yet a business must distinguish what is low value and which is the higher value content that an ECM system should manage.

IBM Lotus® Quickr™ is an effective tool for creating and collaborating on ad hoc and formal content at a departmental and extranet level, but often these
documents need to be managed across formal business processes. Lotus® Quickr™ is a powerful companion to a full enterprise content management
solution. The Lotus Quickr connectors to IBM FileNet P8 and IBM Content Manager provide access to Lotus® Quickr™ content without requiring you to
leave your favorite applications with a simplified, collaborative interface. Lotus Quickr and even Microsoft® SharePoint Services (often hyped as a ‘free’ application that can lead to very expensive add-ons) do not scale to truly enterprise magnitudes.

From collaboration to ECM – companies are seeking ways to take back control of content. Customers expect systems to be intuitively integrated and centrally provisioned as part of their broader enterprise content infrastructure --- this is something that directly contributes to reducing costs and increasing organizational productivity. Naturally extending corporate content access to larger groups of knowledge workers is not only a core business requirement, but having the right information at the right time is critical to their success.

Sample deployments
An oil and gas company, to facilitate ad hoc content creation and sharing of documents and ideas, deployed departmental tools with their own document repositories but now manage it with their IBM ECM infrastructure and Lotus Web 2.0 technologies. Lotus Quickr facilitates the ease of sharing with best of breed extranet support. AN IBM ECM ‘back end’ ensures the content has the associated metadata, advanced security, workflow and lifecycle management policies applied to meet the corporations governance and compliance standards.

An insurance company’s adjusters from different regions must collaborate with other adjusters and the lead insurance agent to assimilate images, invoices and other content into a report that is critical to filing an accurate claim. Having a central place for quick and easy collaboration provides an ideal user experience.  However, once the report has reached a certain state, it is then fed through a pre-defined business approval process and placed under central IT governance. This is important as the insurance industry has defined regulations, records management retention rules that must be applied in case of litigation. The Lotus collaboration tools enable the adjusters to get their work done much more easily from within the tools they prefer but the IBM ECM solution triggers the appropriate business processes, and automatically applies a retention policy to a
claim based on the report completing an approval cycle.

A large beverage company operates in just about every country on earth. The introduction of a new brand involves not only involving creative people and lots of meetings, but also a serious amount of patent and trademark research by the company’s formidable patent legal team - and contracted firms in many countries. For years they managed this process within email. Today they use a simple Quickr application based on a tracking form, some placebots for internal notification and posting external status updates effectively halving the time-to trademark process for global brands.

International attorneys and contract firms can submit and review submitted names and designs, then use internal processes to conduct their investigations and searches.  A global insurance and risk management company serving many of the world’s largest companies, had unique extranet collaboration needs to provide clients with the ability to easily retrieve insurance certificates, submit requests, and maintain relationships with account managers. IBM Business Partner SNAPPS developed five custom Lotus Quickr forms, accessed via IBM WebSphere Portal, to manage content with expiration dates, enhance tasks to include multiple assignees and consolidate reminder emails, provide imported PDF and Flash files, and a multiple-PDF import facility. This combination serves the company’s 25,000+ internal and external users, keeping client information readily available to account managers and clients.

One of the world’s best known marketing and advertising firms creates a Lotus Quickr place for each major account they land. The space includes their branding with a twist: The ability to easily import their client’s logo to co-brand the site and impart the sense of collaboration from the start. The firm imports project documents to the shared library or discussion - depending on whether the images and documents need feedback and manages the lifecyle of these documents with their IBM FileNet system. A Department of the US Military contracted SNAPPS, an IBM Business Partner and subject matter expert in the field of collaboration. A place was needed where industry, market, government, and comparative perspectives and analysis
could be shared by a team of experts in security, military operations, intelligence, law and policy, data acquisition, mapping, and more. This extended team had to mesh very well, and the Lotus Quickr place enabled them to work together as a unit, and delivered the analysis and reports on time and in budget.

Key to the success was a consistent style, naming convention, acronym, and language usage. Since not everyone on the team was “a writer” an editing
process including a comment period, versioning, and three edit cycles was appropriate. The design encompassed 11 “phases” of the document lifecycle, from initial draft to final deliverable with the appropriate cover letter for the ultimate customer at the Pentagon. With nearly 100 deliverable documents form the various parties this meant 1,100 combinations of document+phase had to be managed.

The Lotus Quickr application managed the whole process. Each document got a placeholder, and assigned a primary author. When the author was ready to submit the first draft, they simply attached it, chose the team members they wanted comments from, and clicked a checkbox “Move to Phase 2.” Appropriate emails are sent, the team members reviewed and the author moved it forward to the editor for a first pass. While preserving all versions of the deliverable document, it passed through several phases with different actions and emails happening at each stage in the process until, the day before the project was due, all of them were at Phase 11. A multiple view of the data makes the tasks easier to manage – i.e. listings by author, by phase, and by deliverable number.

Lessons learned
No solution is an island and that support for the entire continuum of content is what’s needed. Only IBM offers broad ECM control of business content stored in a multitude of disparate repositories across the enterprise.

Please give me a call and we can explore the options..

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