Blogger Biography


Twitter: @ContentRich
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I lead Strategic Business Services in EMEA for the Information Intelligence Group in EMC. With over 20 years experience in applied information management working across all sectors, I bring a wealth of strategic and practical experience to bear on opportunities requiring an enterprise-scale vision and a roadmap.

One of my key skills is being able to connect senior levels in the business with IT, to create a shared language, and a common vision. In recent years I was awarded ‘Consultant of the Year’ on two occasions, and I have been a thought leader in ECM over many years, writing and speaking on a range of topics. Recent examples are "Whatever Happened to the I in IT" and "Demystifying Taxonomies".

Prior to my work in information management, I was a scientist and I have a PhD from Cambridge University in theoretical chemistry.

I am married with two daughters and live in the Cotswolds.

The BBC’s Digital Media Initiative (DMI) was envisioned not only to replace the old tape-driven system for sharing content, but to transform the whole production process, taking the BBC into the modern world of distributed digital working. None of the elements needed to achieve such a vision is ground breaking or novel at a technical level.  So what went wrong?

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I am privileged in my job to meet many people, in different industries and cultures. Despite having being born in Somaliland and traveled widely in Africa, I had never been to Nigeria. I recently remedied this, on an assignment to develop an information management strategy for a major client there.

I suppose it was not surprising that friends and colleagues greeted me with a lot of raised eyebrows and worried looks at news of this trip: “Nigeria! Isn’t that dangerous?” or “You won’t get me going there!”.  I had to explain I was going to the south west (showing Green on the FCO web-site) not the north east (which is showing Red, and always in the news), and that Nigeria is a large country with a population of 160 million; that is, 20% of Africa’s population. Continue Reading

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I was with a client last week – an oil & gas major – at the early stages of some work to develop an ECM strategy.  I made a presentation on the topic of ‘information architecture’ and included in my musings the findings of IDC – that ‘unstructured’ information makes up at least 80% of an organisation’s information and that it is doubling every two years.

“We looked into that, and we disagree!”

I was of course not taken aback by the fact they disagreed, but the fact they challenged that statement.  Too often we all let statements float by without perhaps critically evaluating what they mean.  This client is different.  They like to think deeply about things.

Of course the IDC findings are just an average – a picture of the whole digital universe, and are useful in terms of the broad ‘direction of travel’.  It is interesting though to consider the question “How do you weigh the value of specific types of data?”.

The Euro-millions lottery winning number for next week is worth perhaps 40 million Euros if only we could get our hands on it.  After next week it is worthless.

In the world of oil and gas, the exploration data that is created is worth a small fortune to acquire – maybe a few million Euros for a seismic survey – and of course untold millions Continue Reading

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More and more content is moving onto the web.  Everyday millions of people put their trust in Facebook, Google and others to store treasured family memoires and photographs.  We know this trend is exploding exponentially.

But what about organizations?  Will engineering, pharmaceutical and financial services companies feel confident enough to put their trust in some centrally managed service?  Will they embrace OnDemand computing services to store and process business critical content and data?  This is now serious stuff, not holiday snaps.

The short answer is yes.  Many are already doing it.  Oil & Gas companies needing to share information on a new joint venture, and needing a place to collaborate with partners, suppliers and Governments, Continue Reading

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At this time of year, cynics and sceptics pour scorn on Santa and his faithful reindeer, the prancers and dancers of this festive time.  The gauntlet is often laid down as follows.  Santa will visit all those children who want presents from him – in about one billion homes – which he has to visit on Christmas Eve. 

Thankfully, Fermilabs published the calculations some years ago and proved that Santa, travelling at close to the speed of light, would have no problems covering the ground, in 500 seconds, leaving a generous but fleeting 0.15 milliseconds per dwelling to wolf down some sherry and mince pies.  We are of course assuming there is just one Santa, but please note that in Iceland they have 13 Santa Clauses, sons of a horrible mountain hag called Grýla (we leave the re-calculation as an exercise for the reader!).

So what about data?  Let’s think not about boring networks and bandwidth, but something more fantastic: the whole of our digital universe.

The Guardian reported back in 2009 that “At 487bn gigabytes (GB), if the world’s rapidly Continue Reading

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Adam Sherwin, writing in The Independent (7th December 2011), posed the question “The Death Of Email?” regarding the decision of Thierry Breton, CEO of Atos, to phase out the use of email within Atos, and to replace it with instant messaging (IM), a corporate Wiki, and other social media tools.  I doubt that anyone will mourn the demise of email.  He is not the first to see email as a scourge.  Bob Geldof, back in 2005, said that the ‘doing’ part of the job was proportionate to the number of emails you don’t answer!

We all experience the tendency of some colleagues to say “sorry for the wide distribution”, which is often followed by a reply-all, “take me off this distribution”, or even more bizarrely, a reply-all that commands “STOP replying to all!”, which then Continue Reading

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What is the biggest IT challenge facing businesses today? 

Is it the continual flux in the IT market, and the future of Microsoft?  Is it the move to On Demand and how this will create tectonic shifts in IT organisations? What about the increasing virtualisation and distribution of business and the threats and opportunities this creates for changing business processes?

These are all big questions, but for me, as I look at what happens when business and IT get together to try to develop a strategy for IT in business, the biggest single issue that is faced in every sector, in every market and for organisations be they large or small, is the sheer disconnect Continue Reading

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