Open Source and Open Standards: Next Generation of ECM? IRMS Conference in Brighton

Apr 06

The Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) Conference was held in “sunny”(?) Brighton this year, and I was honoured to be invited to present. Months ago, when I proposed the topic of “open source and open standards” for information management, I had no idea the topic would be so timely for the UK delegates. Over the last couple of weeks, the UK Government has announced some significant steps forward in the acceptance and adoption of open source as part of an updated ICT strategy. Why now? The detailed strategy (PDF here) lists some major challenges facing public sector – from both budget and program delivery perspectives.

  • Project are often too big, leading to complexity and high risk of failure
  • Departments and agencies too rarely re-use and adapt systems used in another part of government, leading to wasteful duplication of effort
  • Systems are rarely interoperable

Proposed fixes?

  • Create a level playing field for open source software
  • impose compulsory standards, starting with interoperability and security
  • Create an Asset Register and public sector “Applications Store”

These are really important developments, and line up neatly with what I’ve seen in the information and content management industry couple of years: leaner, modern architectures, inherently web/mobile friendly, interoperable, adoption of standards for more predictable information exchange and preservation, emerging platforms for content-rich vertical application design.

The slides from the IRMS session are posted on Slideshare. Was great to get some good discussion and questions from the participants, including why this is important in the context of government commitment to an open data strategy: information available to citizens and businesses in open formats for easy exchange and analysis.