The house is packed up and my U.S. customer projects are nicely transitioned – I’m relocating this month from our EMC Enterprise Content Division (ECD) headquarters in California to Sydney, Australia, to be part of the growth opportunities across our Asia, Pacific and Japan businesses.
As I make this major transition, I am constantly thinking about my customers. Now I truly appreciate what it must feel like to transform your entire content management infrastructure, all while keeping your business up and running.
What I’ve learned in my U.S. two-year assignment with global accounts is that thinking strategically helps manage through all the ups and downs of any transition. Yes of course, the technology is critical, and our ECD portfolio doesn’t disappoint. But I’ve also seen how our ability to connect customer efforts into a strategic, driven business plan can bring enterprise content management (ECM) to a completely different level.
We are essentially helping keep planes in the air for our major aviation manufacturer, for example, who leverages Documentum globally to safely manage all manufacturing drawings and technical manuals. For our R&D-heavy customers, our knowledge of U.S. compliance workflows and regulations helps get their ideas to market in the most efficient way possible.
Every business is facing digital transformation, whether it’s my global banking customer headquartered in San Francisco, or one of the biggest brands in credit cards and loyalty programs.
As I experience quite a bit of change myself this year, it motivates me to think about my customers’ journeys and how to partner with them. Maybe there are some parallels to draw from this experience. In the spirit of blogging and sharing ideas (I hear Japan is one of the world’s best blogging nations), here are three things to consider as you address your content management journey to develop as a digital enterprise.
1 – Know Where You Are Going
Fortunately, my family does not have any pets yet, or we would face the renowned disease-quarantine rituals of Australia. (Perhaps a wallaby is in the future).
But the point is, knowing your destination helps you make better decisions and prepare for what’s ahead. Our ECD approach is to help develop strategic clarity not just for one of your offices, but for your regional or global business. If you are in Life Sciences, perhaps you want content management to support faster FDA approval cycles, for example. Or in Financial Services, to find new ways to serve up content for new services that drive revenue.
When your teams and technology owners understand why you are pursuing an effort, it can simplify how you collectively reach your goals. Trade-off decisions at one facility, for example, can be influenced to support the greater goal rather than an individual facility metric. The journey to digital transformation prompts a look at all the areas of your business to understand what is most important to achieve.
2 – Build a Support System
I can’t even count how many people have helped in my move, from administrators filing paperwork, to agents ensuring the best schools for my children. Throughout your enterprise content management effort, it helps to have people you can count on.
What I’ve seen in my large customer accounts in the U.S. is that ECD can help make the right connections across expertise. Sometimes this is an engineer from a local partner in a smaller market that is highly innovative. (I have heard many fascinating ideas coming out of Korea, for example.)
Or it might be an EMC product designer in California, who knows exactly why and how we architected a solution (I am glad I met him one day in the local Starbucks!). These relationships can be leveraged to to facilitate your journey and reduce risk as you migrate terabytes of data from legacy systems or roll-out a new mobile app for Documentum.
3 – Embrace the Cloud
When I moved from South Africa to the U.S. a few years ago, many of my personal services had to be uprooted and replanted. This time around, I am amazed by how the cloud has simplified all this effort. I can still access my American bank accounts from Australia. Many of our global EMC applications for work are software-as-a-service, so I don’t have to worry about getting cutting off from important company systems and workflows.
It will be exciting to see how Documentum as a Service, our cloud offering, might streamline business despite the diversity and many differences across Asia Pacific and Japan. Perhaps some select end user populations can be serviced through the cloud. Or maybe offloading all of the content management operations to EMC might help my local customers grow faster.
Overall, I am certainly looking forward to listening and learning from the sophisticated enterprises around the region. Digital transformation is affecting us all, and I believe with the right relationships and support, it can be a positive experience. I understand it’s not always common for some cultures to directly communicate, but for those of you who do blog, I welcome your feedback and comments below. We are all on a journey together, and it turns out that South Africa, Silicon Valley, and Asia Pacific may have a lot to share with each other, to help ensure our mutual content management success.