C3 Associates Inc.

The Greatest Invention in Human History?

I’ve been thinking a bit about which invention has had the greatest impact on human kind. Is it the printing press? Antibiotics? Britney Spears? The debate rages on. But let me add my two cents; I vote for Microsoft OneNote. I can hear the OneNote devotees out there saying “finally!”, but I suppose the small minority of you who wonder what the heck I’m talking about would like an explanation. So here goes.

I use OneNote to capture everything I do in one semi-structured place that makes complete and total sense to me. It’s aligned with the way that my scattered mind works and allows me to take the bits and pieces of information I gather in a typically overloaded work day and make some sense of it all. But what if I don’t have my laptop with me when a brilliant idea strikes (or things like this blog post that seem like a brilliant idea at the time)? No problem. I unclip my Motorola Q and make a few cryptic notes using OneNote Mobile. I can either use the QWERTY keypad or quickly insert a voice memo. Once I’m back on dry land my Q synchs all OneNote content with my PC application and voila, all of my ramblings are in one place. The incredible functionality contained in that small OneNote footprint has already had a far-reaching social impact; who here hasn’t rocked out to the hit song “My One and Only OneNote“?

This is all wonderful, but what does it have to do with ECM? Glad you asked. Enabling knowledge workers (present company excluded) to capture information / thoughts / musings in a way that conforms to their way of working is the starting point for collaboration. Building a tool to do this that’s embedded as part of an overall content management application, well, now you’re talking. It appears to me that Microsoft has done just that with their integrated Office 2007 (which includes OneNote) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 offerings.

I plan to talk a lot more about the impact I think MOSS will have on the overall ECM space in upcoming posts, but for now let’s just say that I think Microsoft is on the right path. Their interpretation on the ECM space is interesting in that it focuses squarely on the user; it’s a collaborative platform that happens to have some records management capabilities. This differs from most traditional ECM applications (although I’m not sure we can really call anything “traditional” that’s only been around for 10 years) which tend to focus on providing single-source document management and have a strong prescriptive compliance bent.

I will explore the similarities and differences between MOSS and established ECM players in future posts. For now, it’s back to OneNote to upload my grocery list to the Q…

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 at 11:47 pm and is filed under MOSS 2007, Office 2007, SharePoint. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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