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SharePoint ECM Discussion with Peter Hurth [Podcast]

Author by Pete Hurth

[caption id="attachment_10435" align="alignright" width="217"] Peter Hurth - SharePoint Enterprise Content Management - Team Lead at Concurrency, Inc.[/caption] Peter Hurth discusses SharePoint Enterprise Content Management. He defines "Enterprise Content Management" and explains what does it mean in the context of Microsoft SharePoint. Peter offers his opinion about strongest features of SharePoint as an enterprise content management platform and what most excites him about the new 2013 version of SharePoint. Concurrency was awarded the 2012 Content Management Partner of the Year award. Listen in the podcast below, what does that mean to Peter and his team. From Microsoft's General Manager of Microsoft Office Division:
“We are pleased to recognize Concurrency Inc. as the Microsoft Content Management Partner of Year. Their expertise in building and maintaining SharePoint solutions helps customers leverage information and get more value from their IT investments.” – Kirk Gregersen, General Manager, Microsoft Office Division
[display_podcast] Transcript of this podcast:

Marek: Welcome to another episode of Concurrency Expert Podcast. Today we host Peter Hurth who is one of Engineers at Concurrency. Welcome Peter.

Peter: Thanks Marek.

Marek: Hey Peter. Would you please introduce yourself a little bit and tell us about yourself? What is your current position with Concurrency?

Peter: You bet. I'm the team lead for the SharePoint Enterprise Content Management Team. So I've been with Concurrency for about 2 1/2 years.

Marek:  In terms of your involvement with Microsoft technologies, could you tell us a little bit more about your exposure to Microsoft technologies and what do you specialize in?

Peter: Sure. I've been actually a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer for a long time way back to Windows 2000 days. In addition to that I've been involved in Enterprise Content Management and IT generally for a total of about 20 years so been around awhile. I hold a number of certifications so the MCSC, I also have MCITP for SharePoint Pro, as well as an AIIM Association for Information and Image Management, and ECM MASTER certification.

Marek: OK. Wow that sounds like you have a lot of behind your belt in terms of Microsoft technologies.

Peter: I try.

Marek: Hey you mentioned about Enterprise Content Management. Can you define for us what Enterprise Content Management is and what it does it mean in the context of Microsoft SharePoint?

Peter: So Enterprise Content Management is not a Microsoft concept, right? It's an industry standard, AIIM, the group I mentioned before has this defined as strategies, methods, tools used to capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. So what that means basically is that independent of any sort of product there's this set of kind of gold standard best practices out there for a content management, for doing all those things. You know capturing, bringing new stuff into systems and managing content when it's there. You know how to restore and preserve it for a certain period of time and then actually get it to users that need it. So within SharePoint, I can say Microsoft has given us a wonderful tool to do all these things. So here in the ECM practice at Concurrency we help organizations to build easy to use and powerful systems of record using, using those tools. What this means for our clients is that we help them to get there content in you know, a well-organized system. We make it easy to find and we allow them to manage that content according to predetermined rules so not arbitrarily deciding how long we're going to keep stuff. We want to be able to set business rules. We want to be able to apply those business rules automatically through the technology and SharePoint gives us everything that we need to be able to do that.

Marek: OK. As far as content types I know maybe that's obvious to you, but maybe some of our listeners may be interested to know what type of content types SharePoint is able to handle or help you're, you and your clients organize? What I mean is like text, video, and audio. Anything else?

Peter: So SharePoint is extraordinarily flexible in that regard. So you can really store a pretty much any type of content that you can imagine in SharePoint. So it could be video, it could be office documents, it could be this podcast, and it could be just about anything. Another capability that SharePoint has though is the ability to do not just document based content, but also lists of information in calendars and all those sorts of things that are kind right side the traditional document management aspect of Enterprise Content Management. So it's this wonderful platform.

Marek: So what would you say is the strongest feature of SharePoint as an Enterprise Content Management platform?

Peter: So kind of related to what I was just saying, the greatest strength of SharePoint I think especially compared to more traditional ECM document management type products is that it's a wide collaboration platform. So it's not just for storing documents and applying rules around documents. It can do all of this other stuff too. So it offers not just everything you'd normally look for in an ECM solution it also offers complete project or team level information sharing. The sharing of calendars, and lists, and creating Wiki's so like mini Wikipedia pages for storing reference material. And the list just goes on and on with all the stuff you can do in SharePoint it's just an incredible platform. Many of our clients will use SharePoint not only for their content or document management needs, but also as a platform for their corporate intranet. So they may decide that they want SharePoint to be their, not their public face, but their sort of internal facing platform for information sharing. It also just kind of add to that, that the openness of the platform is a tremendous capability just in itself rather than being a closed platform it's open and this means there's this huge eco system of third party enhancement products ECM and other wise from companies, good partners of ours like KnowledgeLake that can add all sorts of capability to SharePoint. Also there's a large and supportive community of expertise out there so if you have some system that doesn't have the wide user base of something like SharePoint it can be difficult to find help right? It can be difficult to find resources so SharePoint is, that's one of the great strengths of the platform. I guess the last thing I'd say on that is the SharePoint is a product that most of clients already own. It's very widely adopted you know, and making the most out of company's current technology investments is always a good idea.

Marek: Yeah definitely. And as far as the integration on the desktop I assume that that's integrated very smoothly with desktop software that people are already using.

Peter: Absolutely. There just so many good points of SharePoint it's difficult to narrow it down to the one bit one good one.

Marek: Yeah.

Peter: Yeah the integration with the Microsoft Office Suite is very deep so you can work on office documents directly from within SharePoint. You can save directly to SharePoint. You can manage and get visibility into things like document life cycle rules. How long content is allowed to live before it expires so you get a lot of that deep functionality within the office suite on the desktop.

Marek: Great. Well I hear that there's a new version of SharePoint coming out 2013. What has you most excited about this new version?

Peter: So the thing that I'm really looking forward to with 2013, obviously we've been playing with it for awhile and what's got me most excited especially since in my area of expertise and Enterprise Content Management we largely deal with end users and the way that they experience our interface with the technology. The thing that's really got me excited is this huge investment that Microsoft has made in SharePoint 2013 and polishing that user interface to make it more user friendly. We were just talking about the integration with the desktop applications in SharePoint in 2010 Microsoft introduced the Ribbon which some people like some people don't, but the point is it made it consistent with the desktop applications. It brought this kind of unified way of working with the software to SharePoint. That just goes that much deeper in 2013 so in addition to things like the Ribbon there's a much more modern user interface. SharePoint has been changed to make much more extensive use of HTML 5 for example which gets kind of technical, but the up shot of it is it allows for a much more modern browser based experience. It allows for things like drag and drop of content to and from the browser which is been a long-term thing that we've been waiting for in SharePoint and it's finally here in 2013. It means that there's less waiting for just screen refreshes you know when you update something it just kind of happens instantly instead of having to wait for that redrawing of the screen. Little things like that really add up to a much better user experience. Also I'd say that they've made it a lot easier to edit tags or what we call meta data which is really just labels that you use to identify your content so you can find it later or organize it more effectively. So working with that is easier. What else has got me excited? Well the SkyDrive Pro is a pretty exciting new feature. We hear a lot from content managers and IT people that the consumerization of technology kind of cuts both ways right, it makes, it puts a lot of capabilities in the hands of end users when they can subscribe to services like DropBox for example as a consumer, but the problem is that a lot of organizations are concerned about their valuable corporate information leaking outside of their control. In fact we hear a lot of companies actually blocking those services and this new SkyDrive Pro that is coming along with Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 is going to essentially take the, that capability. So the ability to do what DropBox does which is synchronize content across devices and allow you to basically share easily share content with people outside of your systems and it's going to keep all of that information within the custody of the organization. So it's going to allow companies to offer users who are trying to use that functionality anyways even if their not allowed to. It's going to give them an officially sanctioned way to leverage those capabilities, but still maintain the proper control that they need to maintain ECM best practices, Enterprise Content Management best practices.

Marek: Oh definitely. You guys at Concurrency you're rock stars in terms of content management. Now Concurrency was awarded the 2012 Content Management Partner of the Year award so what does that mean to you and your team.

Peter: Oh it's been great Marek. We're immensely proud to have been awarded the content management partner of the year. It's a big deal cause it's a global award right so essentially we competed with every other partner that's into content management space around the entire world. And of all of the submissions to Microsoft ours was selected as the best. The, it's great validation of what we have done in terms of our practices. This actually was the case that was used for this award was of Rockwell Automation implementation that we did here in Milwaukee so Rockwell is a very large global manufacturer based here in Milwaukee and they were an early adopter of SharePoint 2010. And at the time very new records management functionality that was available in that version of SharePoint. So the, all these new features that the underlying architecture allowed us to really push the boundaries of what had been done in SharePoint in terms of record management. So it was great to be able to do that. We actually were able to get lots of good feedback to the product team at Microsoft as well. So that was a good part of the experience for us. So basically we designed a system for Rockwell Automation that's scalable out to 30 terabytes or so of records storage all in SharePoint. Only using 8 of functionality utilizing literally hundreds of content types and different sites within SharePoint. We designed a system for Rockwell that is scalable to up to 30 terabytes of record storage, which is a tremendous, all with a native SharePoint. So without having any kind of add on products or anything it's just all out of the box functionality. We are literally using hundreds of different content types in this system and automated into the point were one person with just only part of their time is able to maintain this whole system. So it's just been a tremendous experience for us and we've got a very happy customer there. The award, the Content Management Partner of the Year award was I think great validation not just of the work that we did on that project, but like I say more generally the approach that we take to Enterprise Content Management and records management in SharePoint. And by that I mean the way that we apply those Enterprise Content Management and records management industry best practices. So not specific to SharePoint just these industry best practices that allow us to fulfill our customers needs and using this wonderful platform that Microsoft gives us.

Marek: Peter once again congratulations on that great award. How can people contact you if they want to find out more about you, Concurrency or what you guys provide in terms of ECM?

Peter: So they can certainly visit our website There's a lot of information on the website where to get started. They can certainly contact us by phone and reach out to their account executive to see what we can do for them.

Marek: People can also connect with you on blog and social media to stay in touch correct?

Peter: Yep. On the website our consultants are very active bloggers so there's lots of good information up there, again at the website and you should be able to get to that right from the home page.

Marek: Peter thank you so much for all your information about ECM, SharePoint and about what you do at Concurrency. Hope to speak to you soon about more of these topics.

Peter: Excellent. Thank you very much.


Pete Hurth

Social Collaboration Solution Lead