User experience expert Sean Gerety said that “the technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is everything.” Content Services or Enterprise Content Management, in the form of FileNet, P8, or Cloud Pak for Business Automation, is a technology all our enterprises must have. Making the experience great for the users is key to our business success.
A Genus client uses FileNet as its enterprise digital content records management platform. That means that pretty much everything other than the sandwich shop menu and the email joke of the day must get to the content services platform. Once the content is there, it must hold enough information—metadata and content—for it to land in the right spot on the records file plan. While there are good tools for automating that filing, there is still a high dependence on the user doing the right thing.
Luckily, we have IBM Content Navigator (ICN) now. It does a decent job serving as the user experience for many ad hoc content management workloads and, at least from what we see, is a big step up from the legacy FileNet experiences and the big set of proprietary user experiences the FileNet partner community delivered over the years. However, in our client’s case, and in quite many other cases we have seen, ICN still is not enough. For various reasons that we might find reasonable or not, users continue in their non-compliant ways. They store content in a haphazard fashion resulting in liability exposures, and all the other challenges records non-compliance brings.
The core reason for non-compliance in ad hoc workloads is the desktop computer. Over the past decades, businesspeople manipulated files using the ubiquitous Windows File Explorer. Need to find a file—use Explorer. Need to copy a file—use Explorer. Need to delete a file—use Explorer. Since Windows represents 75% of the corporate desktops in the world, Explorer is the de facto way to manage and process ad hoc content. The small but growing 15% of Apple Mac desktops do the exact same thing with Finder.
Unfortunately, Explorer and Finder do not respect file plans. Delete works on a file, whether it is a record or not. There may be folder structures intended to add organization, but Explorer and Finder cannot enforce the use of those folders. And then, there is the grand plan to embed everything there is to know about the record in the file name. From what we see, that works well for about an hour after someone cooks up the scheme.
So, what if Explorer and Finder were simply exposing the enterprise repository and its connected records management system? It is possible. With such a system in place, users' actions fall under the rules and configurations established in FileNet and Enterprise Records. If a content item requires certain properties, prompts require a user to add them. If a content item requires declaration in a specific spot in the file plan, prompts ask a user for details. Any attempt to delete a file comes under the control of the document class, or the file plan, or both.
Genus File Explorer for FileNet (GFEX) makes Explorer and Finder a way to ensure proper management of all enterprise content and ensure compliance with all governing rules. Supplying a more seamless connection between the desktop and the content services environment makes life easier for the entire user population.