Last night was the State of the Union, and anyone who knows me knows that it’s like my Super Bowl. At my house there’s yelling, cheering, identifying favorite players (big ups to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg!) and post-game analysis – just like at any big sports event. For me—an avowed political junkie who can recite entire episodes of The West Wing and lives for substantive policy analysis—the State of the Union is the night of the year.
While I was watching President Obama address both houses of Congress last night, I started thinking about how what he was discussing related to enterprise content management (ECM). Let’s break down the takeaways from last night’s speech:
Businesses: Let’s get ready to hire!
One of the major themes of last night’s address was hiring, with the word “jobs” mentioned 26 separate times. “The best measure of opportunity is access to a good job,” President Obama said. “With the economy picking up speed, companies say they intend to hire more people this year.”
With all that new hiring comes associated paperwork – but ECM is there to help, from recruiting new employees to getting their desk set up.
- Recruit new employees.
- Speed up the hiring process.
- Automate employee onboarding.
- Assign IT assets like a computer and phone.
- Make the HR department entirely paperless.
But once these new employees are onboard, President Obama called for stronger family leave policies in the most highly tweeted moment of the night. “A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too,” he said. “It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a Mad Men episode.”
Colleges: Creating better value for students and parents
One of President Obama’s themes of the night was greater access to higher education. This continues a trend over the last year, as the President has repeatedly put colleges and universities across the country “on notice,” stressing that tuition rates cannot continue to rise because “higher education… is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.”
Last night, President Obama echoed this statement, saying, “We’re shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education.”
But for higher education institutions, the lower costs President Obama is calling for must be balanced against the service students and parents have come to expect. When we interviewed LeiLani Cauthen, Vice President of the Center for Digital Education, about the trend report they had recently released on enterprise content management in higher education, she said, “Expectations for improved online and electronic service delivery are rising throughout all sectors of the higher education landscape. Students, faculty and staff alike are looking for improvements in operational practices that make it easier and faster to find desired information, collaborate with peers and get work done. At the same time, institutions must also deal with ongoing issues like budget cutbacks and staffing freezes.”
You can read the CDE trend report for yourself by downloading it here. Alternatively, check out the perspectives of some higher education experts on technology and higher education:
- John Halpin, vice president of strategic programs and advisory services of e-Republic, CDE’s parent company
- Dr. Melissa Woo , vice provost for information services and chief information officer, University of Oregon
- Dr. Baz Abouelenein, chief information officer, Kansas City Kansas Community College
- Dr. A. Michael Berman, vice president for technology and communication, California State University Channel Islands
- David Hinson, executive vice president and chief information officer, Hendrix College
Municipal government: Fostering the spirit of citizenship
In perhaps his most important statement, President Obama closed by rallying America’s “spirit of citizenship,” our desire to help our neighbors succeed. “Citizenship demands a sense of common cause; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve to our communities,” he said.
In particular, government agencies are combining social software and documents from their ECM systems to create powerful online communities or “communities of practice,” which consist of people—staff and citizens—focused on sharing context, connecting and spreading existing knowledge to make better and more informed decisions.
These communities of practice foster the spirit of citizenship, offering the appeal of relevant, useful communities that bring together staff across departments, elected and appointed officials across governing bodies, as well as citizens and other constituents.
You can learn more about the concept of communities of practice in the Center for Digital Government trend report, “A Community for Collaboration and Innovation,” which includes a checklist to bring the community of practice concept into your organization.
Still thinking? Learn more about the basics of ECM here.