Configuration and Information Technology Portfolio Management Discussion
Directions: Answer should be in short essay, read the content given and answer the question. For each of the questions below, provide an answer of 80 – 100 words using complete sentences. (No bullet statements). Each question is worth 10 points.Scoring Rubric for each Question: 5 – Answers the question and does so accurately, 3 – Shows an overall understanding of the subject, 2 – Uses correct spelling and grammar, and follows the requested answer formatChapter 14 – IT Configuration and IT Portfolio ManagementIn the first part of this chapter the author lists and defines the four elements of IT configuration management. Imagine that one of your job duties is to keep track of all the company laptop computers that are signed-out to various employees. Summarize how you would apply each of the four elements to the job of tracking the location of the laptop computers, their status, and who has them.Content: IT CONFIGURATION MANAGEMENT CONCEPTSThere are multiple hardware, software, and IT infrastructure components in any enterprise IT system, ranging from a database server with attached terminals serving a small business unit to a large, corporate-wide set of IT operations serving worldwide facilities. Some of these are interconnected, while others are freestanding but separate from the others. An enterprise’s IT configuration is much more than just a list of installed software components and hardware devices. Configuration records must keep track of such matters as interface connections, component version identifications, installed features, and all other matters that describe these IT configuration elements or items in their installed states.We first encountered IT configuration management concepts in Chapter 6 on ITIL and IT Service Management Forum concepts. There, IT configuration management was only one element of a series of ITIL’s best practices. This chapter looks a bit deeper into IT configuration management tools and processes and will emphasize why IT configuration management is an important component of good IT governance processes.While there is no one standard definition of an IT configuration management system and a Web search will provide multiple variations as well, the U.S.-based standards-setting technical organization, the IEEE, is a good source for such a definition. Once known as the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineering, it is currently referenced by just its initials and is popularly called the “I-Triple-E.” Not even its Web site, at www.ieee.org, mentions the organization’s original full name. The IEEE defines IT configuration management as an enterprise or IT organization process containing the following elements:Identification. An IT configuration management process includes a strong identification scheme; reflects the structure of all IT resources; and identifies their components, revision history, and their type, making them unique and accessible in some form.Control. The IT configuration management system should control the release of all products and changes to the configuration resources throughout their life cycle by having controls in place that ensure consistent IT component resources via the creation of baseline products.Status accounting. An IT configuration management system should record and report on the status of all configuration components and change requests, while gathering vital statistics about these components in configuration products.Audit and review. An IT configuration management review process should be in place to validate the completeness of all configuration items and to maintain their consistency among the related configuration components by ensuring that these products are a well-defined collection of components.The paragraphs following will discuss these elements of IT configuration management and a CMS in greater detail. In order to achieve effective IT configuration management, an enterprise and its IT function should (1) have processes in place to uniquely identify all of the hardware, software, and infrastructure components that are part of their IT resources; (2) have controls in place to keep track of all changes or revisions to these configuration components; (3) maintain a configuration management reporting system such that the IT function, general management, and financial resources understand the present status of an enterprise’s IT resources; and (4) monitor and manage the status of these IT resources to determine that they are current and cost-effective.Effective IT configuration management is much more than just controlling IT program versions through a single, all-inclusive CMDB, and may even include other related resources at one facility, such as the headquarters IT function. IT configuration management processes should encompass the total enterprise, including any facility where there will be a need to communicate or share data and information.We introduced IT configuration management practices that are part of ITIL in Chapter 6. ITIL best practices cover a wide set of areas, and expanded attention should be given to their guidance for IT configuration management. The sections following in this chapter provide further guidance on establishing IT configuration processes. Exhibit 14.1 describes this CMS concept and the need for IT configuration controls. The chart shows enterprise business systems users in its outer ring, where all need to develop relationships and connections with each other and through their systems resources. These systems users are concerned with the following IT configuration issues:EXHIBIT 14.1 IT Configuration Management System ConceptsIT asset controls. Differing user groups and IT functions may purchase and install slightly different versions of software and other tools. Sometimes the differences are generally minor such that an overseas unit will have a slightly different version because of language differences. However, the way the software interprets commands and interacts with other-language versions may differ. How an enterprise and its operating units purchase and install software and other IT assets may raise configuration issues.Incident management. The first goal of the incident management process is to restore normal service operation as quickly as possible and to minimize the impact on business operations, thus ensuring that the best possible levels of service quality and availability are maintained. However, “emergency” incident correction activities may miss configuration connections with other units, causing overall longer-run problems.IT problem management. ITIL defines a problem as a condition often identified as a result of multiple incidents that exhibit common symptoms. When multiple systems or user groups encounter the same IT problem, there is a need to get to the root causes of the problem and identify a solution. In a large, complex IT environment, this can become a major configuration problem.Overall IT governance issues. Chapters in this book have covered a wide range of governance issues, including IT security policies, project management issues, benchmarking metrics, and others. These all should be implemented and managed consistently across an enterprise to ensure consistent and effective configuration management.IT capacity management. An enterprise needs to install and implement the right levels and loads of IT resources. Processing service needs and volumes need to be monitored and adjusted across all enterprise IT resources.Service level agreements (SLAs). Introduced with IT governance issues discussed in Chapter 17, SLAs are informal agreements that an IT function makes both with its user communities as well as with outside vendors. In its simplest fashion, an IT function will develop an SLA with the controller’s department, where the accounting users promise to deliver all month-end close general ledger system transactions according to an agreed schedule and IT promises to complete and deliver the monthly close reports by a certain date. However, when various user departments and IT facilities all have a need for their own SLAs, there can be CMS problems.The concept here is that we must think of IT configuration management as a series of often separate but interrelated concepts (see Exhibit 14.1). This is particularly important today where we have moved away from the centralized mainframe of past years and have installed many formats and types of IT resources in the typical multi-unit, multilocation enterprise. While a classic IT function should establish standards over its own as well as headquarters’ IT systems and processes, configuration controls can become lost in our world of wireless systems connected to a cloud system.Chapter 15 – Application Systems Implementations and IT GovernanceIn the last part of this chapter the author talks about an ERP system. Summarize what an ERP system is, how a company acquires one, and why they need to have one.Content: ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING AND IT GOVERNANCE PROCESSESTypically employing a comprehensive database as an information repository, ERP systems integrate internal and external management information across an entire enterprise, embracing their finance/accounting, manufacturing when appropriate, sales and service, customer relationship management, and so on. ERP systems are complex databases that automate this activity through an integrated software application. Their purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders. The goal of ERP is to improve and streamline internal business processes, which typically requires reengineering of current business processes.We can think of the functions of an ERP system through the process of manufacturing where some product part needs to be designed, resources ordered to build the part, part costing and marketing processes established for the part, material orders placed, and production started, and then the entire stream of production and operational processes for receiving a customer order, shipping, and billing for the item. These processes and others involve a series of separate but interrelated activities that were once managed by a series of separate IT applications such as receiving, inventory control, production scheduling, shipping, accounts receivable, and more. An ERP system ties together all of these activities and more into a tightly linked series of database functions.An ERP system attempts to integrate all departments and functions across a company onto a single computer system that can serve all its different departments’ particular needs. This can be a tall order to build a single software program that serves the needs of people in finance as well as the people in human resources and in the warehouse. Prior to ERP, each of those departments typically would have its own computer system optimized for the particular ways that the department does its work. But ERP combines them all together into a single, integrated software system that runs off a single database, allowing the various departments to easily share information and communicate with each other. That integrated approach can have a tremendous payback if companies install the software correctly.There are many ways to describe an ERP system, but Exhibit 15.5 shows basic accounting data flows for an enterprise business, including purchase orders, accounts payable, and other typical business systems processes that would be part of an ERP system. These are the elements of the systems requirements to build a manufacturing part, described previously, and were traditionally separate systems processes with key data and transaction files for each as well as links to other key applications, such as the general ledger system. While this exhibit shows a series of manufacturing distribution processes, such as traditional accounts receivable and accounts payable functions, a complete ERP application for an enterprise would include a much larger array of systems, such as marketing and human resources. They would all be tied together through common data descriptions and links.EXHIBIT 15.5 ERP System Example ConfigurationThe senior manager might wonder why it takes so long to get customer complaint data from the product returns system. Other staff members may grouse that they have to reenter similar transactions into different but related applications. A common combined database—an ERP system—often appears to be the easy solution. However, the implementation of an ERP system into an enterprise is no small step. Even with the best of conditions, such a system will take considerable amounts of enterprise time and resources, with the active participation of key managers, IT staff, and even other stakeholders who have interests or concerns.From an IT governance perspective, there are some key points to consider when implementing an ERP database for an enterprise:Define ERP objectives and requirements. This is a relatively new IT systems concept; there is much published hype about what a comprehensive ERP database might accomplish. However, based on their knowledge of what a comprehensive ERP database might accomplish, project initiators should develop strong objectives and requirements for a new ERP implementation project.Build a cross-functional project team. An ERP database is more than just a new IT system but will involve many members of an enterprise. A cross-functional team of IT and members of the user community should be appointed to lead the upcoming ERP project.Recognize the costs and time requirements to implement ERP. For a single-unit enterprise with 25 to 1,000 employees, a smaller ERP database software package can cost up to $250,000, while for a larger multi-unit enterprise with up to 5,000 users, the basic ERP software may cost up to $2 million. An enterprise should develop realistic expectations of the time requirements for this level of project and assume that such a major IT project will require at least one year.Select an ERP software product. There are a large number of vendors offering ERP software, with major providers such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, as well as less familiar vendors such as Epicor. To avoid an endless stream of vendor meetings and glossy promotional materials, the selections team should stand firm on their defined requirements and budget objectives as well as the enterprise’s current software environment. Any viable ERP software vendor should be able to supply a representative test version of their ERP product.Apply formal project management techniques to the ERP implementation. Chapter 16 outlines formal project and program planning techniques. Since an ERP is a major undertaking, an enterprise should develop and follow formal project planning methodologies for a major ERP endeavor.Establish a test database for the ERP and begin phased implementation. Once it is up and running, the enterprise ERP application will impact a large number of regular applications. However, care should be given to launching a phased implementation on an application-by-application basis, using the test database in the earlier stages of the project.Provide extensive user training. The new ERP application may involve new transaction formats and other sometimes small but subtle systems changes. As part of the project plan and as a responsibility for the ERP implementation team members, there should be a strong user training program.Establish project budgets and closely monitor ERP system costs. Beyond the license fees for the selected database software, an ERP project can be an expensive undertaking for an enterprise. Project team members as well as others involved with the effort should be required to log their hours as well as charging any direct expenses to the ERP project. These charged expenses should be closely monitored and questioned when appropriate, however. As a really fundamental IT governance concern, it can sometimes be a problem when staff members charge their hours to a project even though they are not really performing direct project activities.Establish an exit strategy, if necessary. A well-planned and well-executed ERP implementation can yield some major tangible and intangible advantages to an enterprise, but things can sometimes go wrong. For example, some of the ERP database vendor’s software features may not quite work as promised or expected, there may be technical problems with systems interfaces, or any of a host of other potential problems. As the old expression goes, rather than throwing good money after bad, the ERP team should develop an exit strategy to gracefully end project efforts and return to normal IT and business operations.Despite the previous cautionary comments, a successful ERP implementation can bring some strong tangible and intangible benefits to an enterprise, as outlined in Exhibit 15.6. An ERP implementation can be a major project for an enterprise that can yield many benefits. Just as we have discussed the importance of strong IT governance processes in SDLC processes as well as for RAD work, these issues are extremely important when launching an ERP database for an enterprise.Chapter 16 – IT Governance Issues: Project and Program ManagementIn the last part of this chapter the author talks about a program management office (PMO). Summarize what a PMO is, why a company needs one, and what functions it performs.Content: THE PROGRAM MANAGEMENT OFFICE (PMO), A STRONG GOVERNANCE RESOURCEAs discussed previously, a program is a senior-level project that serves as a vehicle to manage and supervise other, subordinate projects. This concept got started in IT, where for years IT departments struggled to deliver projects on time and within budget. A solution was to rein in projects more closely through the establishment of program management offices (PMOs) as a way to boost IT efficiency, cut costs, and improve on project delivery in terms of time and budget. What has worked for IT projects can work equally well for all projects in an enterprise.The PMO may provide standards, an approval authority for all projects, or even project management skills from the staff of certified project management professionals. A PMO function can instill much-needed project management discipline in IT departments and all other groups involved with project management. PMOs can help by providing the structure needed to both standardize project management practices and facilitate project portfolio management, as well as determine methodologies for repeatable processes. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act—which requires companies to disclose investments, such as large projects, that may affect a company’s operating performance—is also a driver, since it forces companies to keep a closer watch on project expenses and progress.There are two basic models of PMOs: One acts in a consulting capacity, providing project managers in business units with training, guidance, and best practices; the other is a centralized version, with project managers on staff who are loaned out to business units to work on projects. How a PMO is organized and staffed depends on myriad organizational factors, including targeted goals, traditional strengths, and cultural imperatives. When deployed in line with an IT organization’s culture, a PMO can help the enterprise to deliver strategic projects that satisfy both the internal and external customers. Over time, a PMO should be able to provide savings to the enterprise by enabling better resource management, reducing project failures, and supporting those projects that offer the biggest payback.PMOs are usually administrative functions supporting IT management and can vary in terms of their size, structure, and responsibilities. They provide project management guidance to project managers in business units and often function in the following support areas:Project management process/methodology. Whether the enterprise IT function uses PMBOK or PRINCE2, the PMO can provide guidance to develop and implement consistent and standardized project management processes.Project management training. This is often an effective area where the PMO can conduct project-related training programs or collect requirements for an outside company.Home for project managers. With the PMO as a central source for project management knowledge and support, it can maintain a centralized office from which project managers are loaned out when a designated project ends.Internal consulting and mentoring. With a goal to promote project management excellence, the PMO can advise other employees about best practices with an emphasis on PMBOK.Project management software tools. Project management tools can be selected and maintained for use by all project participants. Many software tools are available to support project management activities. A PMO can act as a clearinghouse on the use of these tools.Portfolio management. Establish a staff of program managers who can manage multiple related projects, such as infrastructure technologies, desktop applications, and so on, and allocate resources accordingly.There may different approaches for an organization to manage a PMO function, but a centralized approach, typically marked by hands-on control over projects, often is most effective at organizations where the PMO regularly interacts with senior executives and has the power to cancel and prioritize projects. Using well-defined project management methodologies, the PMO often works with business units on every aspect of project management—from defining initial requirements to post-implementation audits. Maintaining consistent processes across the organization enables an organization to break down projects into manageable components and thereby minimize failures.The responsibilities of PMOs range widely, from providing a clearinghouse of project management best practices to conducting formal portfolio management reviews. A PMO’s oversight need not be limited to just project development and may include the coordination and tracking of both projects and services. Coming up with a PMO that works for any given organization is an exercise in both customization and patience. When it comes to establishing a PMO, there are limited roadmaps to follow, benchmarks to shoot for, or metrics against which to measure. The most effective PMOs are those that reap improvements over time and continuously push the organization to improve on its performance.Chapter 17 – Service Level Agreements, itSMF, Val IT and Maximizing IT InvestmentsAt the end of this chapter the author introduces Val IT. Summarize what Val IT is and why a company needs to do it.Content : VAL IT: ENHANCING THE VALUE OF IT INVESTMENTSAll enterprises, large or small, exist to deliver value to their stakeholders. These enterprises face a critical challenge in ensuring that they realize value from their increasingly large-scale and complex investments in IT resources. The IT Governance Institute (ITGI), first introduced in Chapter 5, has released a set of best practices materials called Val IT1 to help enterprises address this challenge and realize value from these IT-related investments.Val IT attempts to address IT management and governance problems faced by management at all levels. IT technologies and practices are always changing and adapting to new business practices. Enterprises frequently invest in new and revised systems and procedures with little additional planning or study, soon to find that their new initiative does not work as well as promised or requires a much larger investment than anticipated. We frequently encounter this situation when, for example, an enterprise chief financial officer is frustrated by some shortcoming in the enterprise’s financial systems, personally sees a potential better solution at a vendor-sponsored trade show, and then encourages the IT function to adopt that solution. With such pressure from a member of senior management but little detailed investigation beyond that, enterprises sometimes embark on new IT investments at significant cost and without really getting much value from those investments. Val IT is a best practices governance framework that is closely aligned with the Control Objectives for Information and related Technology (COBIT) framework (discussed in Chapter 5). COBIT consists of a set of guiding principles and a number of recommended IT-related processes that conform to those principles and key management practices. Val IT encompasses a comprehensive set of research activities, publications, and auxiliary services supporting the core Val IT framework, as illustrated in Exhibit 17.3. Although COBIT sets good practices for the means of contributing to the process of value creation, Val IT defines good practices for the ends, by providing enterprises with the structure they require to measure, monitor, and optimize the realization of business value from their investments in IT.EXHIBIT 17.3 Val IT FrameworkMany enterprises today, regardless of their size, revenue, industry, region, or business activity, make large-scale investments in IT systems and related information technology resources. However, in far too many cases, this IT value simply is not realized. For example, a 2007 survey by the IT research firm Gartner found that 20 percent of all expenditures on IT are wasted2—a finding that represents, on a global basis, an annual destruction of value totaling about $600 billion. Similarly, a 2009 survey of Fortune 1000 chief information officers by Goldman Sachs found that, on average, 40 percent of all IT spending brought no return to the enterprise.3 The point here is that many enterprises do not measure the value of or assess their ongoing IT investments. This is a significant loss from an IT governance perspective.The ITGI’s Val IT materials4 provide guidance for assessing the value of IT investments. Creating IT-enabled values, however, is not easy. Most enterprises commonly exhibit one or more of the following symptoms, which have been summarized adapted from the published Val IT guidance materials:Problems in delivering technical capabilities. Many enterprises have IT functions that are not mature enough to effectively and efficiently deliver the technology capabilities needed to both support business operations and enable business change. This challenge highlights the need to improve IT governance and management processes either before or in conjunction with the introduction of value management practices.Limited or no understanding of IT expenditures. Senior enterprise managers frequently do not have a sufficiently transparent view of their IT expenditures and IT-enabled investments across all IT services, assets, and other resources. Often decision makers can only estimate how much they are investing in IT, what benefits they are gaining for the expense, and what the full business rationale for the commitment might be. Expenditures frequently are sourced from many different uncoordinated budgets, resulting in significant duplication and conflict in demand for resources. In addition and all too often, management does not focus on IT costs and pricing issues in its IT application budgeting reviews.Business abdication of decision making to the IT function. When the roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities of an enterprise’s IT function are unclear, IT functions tend to usurp the driver’s seat, determining which IT-enabled business investments should be pursued, prioritizing these based on the IT function’s limited insights, and inappropriately relieving the business of its responsibility in defining and defending the business rationale used to justify every single IT-enabled investment decision.Communication gaps between the IT function and the business. Close collaboration between IT operations and other business functions is crucial to IT value creation. When such a partnership is absent, communication suffers, inefficiencies mount, synergies fail to emerge, and the work environment tends to devolve into a culture of blame. In some cases, the IT function is too often relegated to the role of a follower instead of innovator, and is engaged in investment proposals too late in the decision-making process to contribute significant value. In other cases, the IT function is blamed for not delivering value from IT-enabled investments—value that only other business functions, in partnership with the IT function, can deliver.Questioning the value of IT. Ironically, even though enterprises continue to invest more and more in technology resources, many key executives often question whether appropriate value is actually realized from these investments. Frequently, the dominant focus is on managing IT costs rather than understanding, managing, and leveraging IT’s role in the process of creating concrete business value. As IT-enabled investments increasingly involve significant organizational change, the failure to shift focus from cost to value continues to be a major constraint to realizing value from these IT-related investments.Major investment failures. When IT projects stumble, the associated business costs can be enormous—and highly visible. Project cancellations can trigger unexpected and very expensive impacts across the business, and related budget overruns can starve other projects of crucial resources. All too often, these problems are ignored until it is far too late to take any corrective action.These symptoms can be found in many enterprise IT functions. All too often, IT has led its business partners with requests for new priorities and services without looking at their overall value to the enterprise as a whole. The Val IT materials should encourage all parties to take a harder look at the value being received from IT investments and services. Perhaps even more important, Val IT gives senior managers an opportunity to focus on areas for realizing greater value from IT operations governance processes.Chapter 18 – Enterprise Content ManagementIn the last part of this chapter there is a section entitled, “Creating an Effective ECM Environment in the Enterprise”. In this section the author lists six options for developing a strategy for an enterprise-wide move to ECM. Imagine that you oversee the IT software and hardware resources of a large legal firm of attorneys and staff. From the list of six options, choose three options that you would recommend to the CEO of this legal firm and explain why you would choose those options.Content: CREATING AN EFFECTIVE ECM ENVIRONMENT IN THE ENTERPRISEAs mentioned in the introductory comments to this chapter, ECM is not just a single system but is more of an enterprise strategy and is typically a series of systems and processes to better manage the multiple forms and formats that an enterprise deals with today, ranging from paper documents to Twitter notes, engineering drawings, and much more. Some enterprise IT functions have developed an ECM strategy and may have largely implemented that ECM strategy approach. Others may have implemented some effective ECM components, such as an order verification customer service system, but still have a ways to go before launching overall ECM. Then there may be some enterprises that just have not addressed the concept and are continuing to use their traditional document-by-document approaches.Effective ECM processes can be a very good way to improve enterprise IT governance. Exhibit 18.2 outlines some of the requirements that management should consider when adopting an ECM strategy. If an enterprise is facing one or more of these requirements, particularly several of them in a significant manner, it may benefit from a move to ECM.EXHIBIT 18.2Enterprise Requirements Justifying a Move to ECMLong-term records retention or requirements.Logistical needs for physical records management and retrieval.High-volume information or records capture needs.Needs to comply with record management standards (e.g., federal government or ISO). Case management project environment. Significant signature-driven record or document processes.Digital asset management (rich media).Technical/large-format drawing management.Facilities or asset management requirements.Outward/customer-facing Web portals.Needs for outside the firewall partner inclusions. Heavy-duty process management applications.Print/output/transmittal management needs.Tight integration with ERP/CRM/LOB systems.Multichannel inbound systems communications.Digital rights/high-value asset management requirements.High-security data encryption requirements.The move to ECM requires some form of strategy as a first step. Some of the options for developing a strategy for an enterprise-wide move to ECM include:Build a new, first-time, on-premises, enterprise-wide ECM platform using offerings from a single vendor’s ECM suite.Migrate and replace all existing content management systems to the new enterprise-wide, single-vendor ECM product.Migrate all existing content management systems to the selected existing, enterprise-wide, single-vendor ECM product.Selectively update/replace/migrate existing multiple departmental/local systems as needed.Install new dedicated/specialist departmental systems as required to achieve local objectives.Move to a cloud-based ECM suite provided by a third party.The objective of this chapter is not to outline the details of implementing an enterprise-wide ECM strategy using elements that have been established or to work with a major software vendor such as IBM or EMC that can supply the guidance and tools. The following sections describe the key elements of an overall enterprise ECM system or set of processes. An effective ECM should contain elements of most of these.Enterprise ECM Features: ArchivingBusinesses today are forced to deal with a dizzying array of disparate corporate and departmental data sources, including relational databases, document repositories, e-mail stores, and file servers. Compounding the challenge of managing this complex data source environment are requirements surrounding corporate acquisitions, regulatory legislation, information governance, and mandates to reduce operational cost through vendor and infrastructure consolidation. An enterprise needs to establish ECM document archive repositories to store these often millions of statements, policies, images, and other customer-facing documents. The archive should capture individual documents for discovery, content validation, storage organization, retrieval, distribution, and delivery.ECM archive indexes are typically associated with document content at the point of creation by composition engines, or during uploading into an archive. Design is important here, since once documents are in an archive, it is very difficult to enhance or augment these indexes to meet changing business needs or needs for differing customer views.While it can be a “nightmare project,” ECM archiving offers an opportunity to clean up such matters as account number and naming standards that may be unique within a single organization but duplicated across acquired corporation records. In addition to launching a suite of ECM processes, archiving can bring both current and longer-range benefits to an enterprise.Enterprise ECM Features: Classification ProcessesECM document classification processes automate the organization of unstructured content by analyzing full text of documents and e-mails. With content classification, IT can accelerate the time-to-value from enterprise content management investments such as content archiving or electronic records management. Classification processes should allow:The delivery of higher process investment returns by unburdening end users from manual tasks without risking inconsistent participation—while accurately categorizing large quantities of content.Filtering from document archives the e-mails and documents with limited business value.Organizing document content with consistent, reliable, and auditable logic.More readily adapting to changes in policies and categories by incorporating user feedback in real time.Establishing high-accuracy document classifications by combining multiple methods of classification such as:Keyword rules and proximity matching.Pattern extraction.Highly accurate “learn by example” context-based approaches.Content analytics is a key element to ECM document classification processes: It is an advanced search and analytics process to enable better decision making from enterprise content regardless of the source or format. Content analytics solutions can understand the meaning and context of human language and rapidly process information to improve knowledge-driven search and surface new insights from your enterprise content.A more advanced process, content analytics typically uses more advanced natural language processing technologies such as the IBM Watson DeepQA, an advanced question-answering machine. A large amount of the information created and used by an enterprise is unstructured content and usually is growing at twice the rate of structured data. Harnessing that unstructured and semistructured information can help an organization work smarter, serve customers better, control costs, and plan for the future.Enterprise ECM Features: Document Disposal and Governance ManagementDocument disposal and governance management should be an integral part of ECM processes. This process helps an enterprise to meet its obligations for information, manage information based on value, and dispose of information that lacks value or obligations at the earliest opportunity. The controlled disposal of information at the end of its utility can dramatically reduce information volume, operational complexity, and IT costs. With appropriate disposal and governance management solutions, IT can manage information based on its business value or legal obligations and dispose of the rest.A key element of document disposal processes is that enterprise management and IT should gain document visibility into both legal obligations—such as legal holds and retention schedules—and the business value for specific information tied to the asset or an employee ID. ECM processes should have objectives for the real-time communication of requirements and facts between IT, records, and the enterprise legal staff through automatic action item assignments, notifications, alerts, and easy lookup of legal obligations.An enterprise should practice defensible document disposal through accurate data inventories to eliminate excess stored data. By enabling IT to identify multiple copies of the same data, legacy data without business value or legal obligation, and duplicate systems, ECM processes can enable a company to retain only data with a potential value. Appropriate ECM processes can prevent future unnecessary data buildup. When an enterprise practices defensible disposal, it can eliminate the risk of IT “saving everything,” thereby increasing discoverable mass. In addition, it will help the enterprise from engaging in excessive or inappropriate disposal practices due to inconsistent processes and retention periods.Office document management can be extended into hundreds of other solutions such as imaging, engineering applications, Web content management, XML-based content, and document publishing applications. Document management enables search and access to documents in these systems across the organization, while embracing industry-specific standards that help integrate with business processes. Document management extends the ECM infrastructure to include business documents created individually or via collaborative processes.There are numerous vendor-supplied ECM technologies and solutions available today, but more important ECM is an ongoing and evolving strategy for maximizing how content is to be used. ECM information processes can be a starting point for an enterprise to review and establish a common information content life cycle. As a starting IT governance point, an enterprise should map its current systems and processes to identify overlaps and areas of room for improvement for the applications and strategies that it is developing. The information gathered may only hint at the complexity inherent in any process that deals with managing an organization’s content. The next step should be to match up the technology tools to address the business’s needs. Technology can enable streamlined management of content, but the underlying strategy must come first.Chapter 21 – Impact of Social Media ComputingIn the last part of this chapter there is a section entitled, “Enterprise Social Media Computing Risks and Vulnerabilities”. In this section the author lists seven risks or concerns that a company should be aware of in the realm of social media computing. Imagine that you are the CIO of a large company. From the list of seven risks and concerns, choose three that you would consider the most important to monitor and why.Content: ENTERPRISE SOCIAL MEDIA COMPUTING RISKS AND VULNERABILITIESA valid senior executive question might be, “I am an enterprise senior manager. Why should I be concerned about our employees and other stakeholders using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools in the business work environment as long as they are doing their jobs?” That is the type of question that many senior managers ask when they do not really understand these ostensibly friendly and personal applications.Social media sites often seem friendly and exist outside of the radar screen of many business systems, processes, and concerns. They are too often viewed as an employee diversion, like the joint efforts of a planning committee for the annual holiday party. However, social media issues can go beyond just friendly social messages, as other people can see this message traffic and potentially initiate actions based on the communications.A recent Chicago Tribune article highlighted how employee Facebook chatter can cause trouble to an enterprise. The staff members at an auto dealer talked flippantly among themselves over Facebook about how their employer was probably ignoring U.S. labor laws.6 Their supposedly private messages were eventually passed on to U.S. labor law authorities, with resultant legal actions against the employer. Messages sent through social media systems present some risks!Sometimes social media systems are viewed as almost an HR-related resource, like an unofficial company newsletter. However, an enterprise faces many risks in social media systems, including loss of reputation and possible liability when employees blab or post photos and videos about what they shouldn’t. There are also the computer security risks of malware, identity theft, what is called phishing, and the privacy breach of sensitive data that was introduced in Chapter 10.The risks associated with employee use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media should really be considered beyond the IT security department, as the primary responsibility of enterprise management. These applications are generally operated over the Internet and outside enterprise-controlled systems.Many of the IT social media risks and management concerns are tied to the individual behavior that takes place outside the infrastructure boundaries of the enterprise and its IT systems. However, social media systems carry with them issues related to content and freedom of speech. These social media practices are very much tied to many of the issues in the discussion on the need for an ethical workplace culture in Chapter 20. That chapter discusses the importance of strong management messages and policies such as codes of conduct and mission statements to help get an enterprise and its stakeholders thinking in a correct and positive manner. However, an enterprise should be aware of some of the following social media risks and concerns:Employee productivity issues. It is perhaps more of a management issue in terms of setting employee goals and responsibilities, but employees at all levels can sometimes spend excessive amounts of time sending notes and pictures to friends, both inside and outside of the company, whether over Twitter, Facebook, or some other social media application. In some respects, this is not too different than people spending excessive amounts of time on personal telephone calls, but this social media activity is sometimes hard to detect and monitor.Lack of control over corporate content. Employees and stakeholders may innocently or deliberately post wrong or improper information on social media sites. This type of information can be passed on to many others through the cascading nature of many social media tools. Once the false information has started to spread, it is difficult to stop.Noncompliance with record management regulations. Despite copyright and data protection rules, it is very easy for stakeholders to copy and communicate protected documents over social media systems. An enterprise faces risks if such records are improperly or illegally communicated.Viruses and spyware. There have been reported incidents where social media or related networking sites have been used to spread malware such as viruses,7 and social media systems are certainly not unique here. Realistically, however, social networking sites probably pose no more of a threat than any other type of Web site.Bandwidth problems. Much more of an issue in the earlier days of telecommunications and the Internet, bandwidth refers to the “size of the pipe” or the amount of data transmitted over communications lines. People sending large volumes of digital photographs or other high-volume material can somewhat choke a system. While this is not too great of an issue over the Internet, such high-volume materials can all but clog a communications line for a smaller enterprise.Enterprise security issues. There is much vulnerability here. A perpetrator, for example, can use a cell phone to take a picture of a confidential document, product, or facility and then easily transmit that material to one or many over a tool such as Facebook with just a few quick keystrokes. Physical controls, well-communicated policy statements, and a strong enterprise ethical environment are needed.Social media liability issues. An enterprise could be held liable for postings by an employee made on company time through enterprise IT resources. While the law really is not clear at this point in time, individuals have been found liable for incautious postings to social networking sites. An enterprise should exercise caution here, and it is possible that businesses could, too. It is a risk you should certainly consider.As our use of social media tools grows, we can only expect this trend to continue. Because most enterprise stakeholders have their own smartphone device as well as a home system with Internet connections, virtually all of these people have access to social media sites. Some make extensive use of these tools, and the boundary between personal activities and office systems can quickly become fuzzy. An enterprise is looking through rose-colored glasses if it tries to implement a workplace policy of no social media IT activities while on the job. We generally are not working at a facility on a nine-to-five basis but are involved in work activities in the home office or while traveling as well. We cannot draw lines here.Social media tools are also growing in the workplace. Our earlier discussion of LinkedIn discussed its polling tool, which can be a common and frequently used social media application in the workplace. We will increasingly be seeing the lines between social media applications for primarily personal purposes and the use of these applications as business tools becoming more closely linked. The only way to limit risks and to have a better IT governance understanding of the use of social medial tools in the workplace is to establish and effectively communicate policies about the effective use of these tools to all stakeholders in the enterprise workplace.
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