Monday, December 5, 2016

Step It Up

By Brian Kopack


The Thanksgiving holiday is all about tradition.  Everyone seems to have their own little twist on celebrating.

On a national level, “the” Thanksgiving staple is the Macy’s Parade.

Like every other year, there they were at the start.  Probably the most recognizable performers at the most recognizable event.  Right at the front.  Exactly where they should be.

A tradition within a tradition - The Rockettes.

You recognize the costumes. You know the act.  Still, if you’re like me, you probably stop and watch every time.  The performance is captivating.

More than anything, it’s the synchronization that is the marvel.  Total fluidity.  Each dancer doing precisely the right thing at precisely the right time.  Almost no wasted effort.  Free to do what they do best.

That’s a good lesson for any business.

Businesses work better when everything is in synch.  Communication improves.  Decision making is streamlined.  Productivity increases.

And the creative spark that keeps everything in step is of course...information.

If businesses can capture it, analyze it and distribute it efficiently, the chaotic becomes organized - the complex becomes simple.

That’s exactly what a well-designed content management system does – makes the complex – simple.
In today’s information exchange world that means unleashing the power of your collaborative workforce to do more actual work faster with document management, workflow, and the elimination of redundant tasks through business process improvement and re-engineering. It means having information readily available, in a format that is understandable and relevant that allows you better control of your time and effort.


Information management can’t compare with the pizazz of the Rockettes.  Very few things can. But, for businesses that understand the direct correlation between effective data management and profitability and effectively implement it as part of their strategy - they glimmer just as brightly and impress with every step.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Could This Be The Year?

By Brian Kopack


For the love of everything Harry Caray, this might be the year the Cubs finally win the World Series.  Cubs’ fans have been waiting for this moment for a long time – since 1908.  A little internet research tells me there are probably 350 people walking planet Earth who were alive to see the last Cubs’ championship. Note: None of them actually saw it because TV hadn’t been invented yet.  Everyone else has literally waited their entire life for the Cubs to finally win.

That’s crazy.

Cubs’ fans are nothing if not patient.  Patient and focused.

Patience used to be a virtue.  Not anymore.

Most of us are bad at waiting.  Most of us expect everything immediately.  Most of us have had technology recalibrate our expectations personally and professionally. Right here.  Right now-even for things we really don’t need.  We don’t appreciate delays.

We demand change for ourselves, but we resist change of ourselves.

That explains one of the great mysteries in business. Why is the idea of content management so easy to embrace, but the decision to start the process of automation is so difficult?  The concept is easy to grasp and the benefits for inarguable.  Actually committing to embracing the challenge and doing the work to make that happen takes forever.  Not exactly 108 years, but it probably feels that way.

We demand change for ourselves.  We resist change of ourselves.

Not all businesses are guilty.  Some are proactive in their approach to integrating technology into managing their information and processes.  Others are more patient--Cubs fan-like patient.  Their approach is more “Wait until next year,” except next year never comes. Businesses engage in a perpetual slow-dance of research, analysis, negotiation and deferral.

That’s a risky strategy for businesses that need to stay relevant.

Businesses that haven’t adopted a comprehensive content management strategy in most cases are very purposeful and very intentional.  They are motivated to improve.  They understand how being in control of their information allows them to serve both their employees and customers better and be more responsive in the marketplace.  They see the bigger picture of using the power of technology to transform the way they do business - to access, process and integrate information more efficiently – to get the right information to the right people at the right time to make decisions.

So, what’s missing?  What’s keeping them in the perpetual state of stuckness?

Focus – or lack thereof.

Change is never easy.  Change away from the status quo is uncomfortable.  Change to the brave new world is scary.  Uncertainty breeds hesitation – tests our focus.  In business, when it comes to adopting new technologies or automating ancient processes, it takes a special kind of focus.

IOS focus.

It’s all we do.  And, because it’s all we do, we have a special understanding of the single, most overlooked aspect of the change process.  Change is about of relationships.  Creating them and maintaining them.

To dream change, to create change, to implement change - that all takes people working together.  It’s why great software or great ideas need the special touch to get the project from concept to reality.  It’s how the, “It’s the idea that matters” manifests itself in the work we do. Creatively designed content management ideas flexibly designed and expertly implemented.

With a great team and a great plan, anything is possible.

That’s IOS.
Monday, October 10, 2016

Using a contract management solution to keep the drinks flowing

By Danielle Simer, Hyland Software, Inc.

“Hi. It’s been a long day. I’d love a beer.”

“Sorry.”

“How about a vodka on the rocks?”

“Nope.”

“Glass of red wine?”

“Apologies.”

Manage your contracts instead of letting them manage you.

Ah, contract management. The right solution manages them for you, instead of the other way around. Because let’s be honest – you’re busy. We’re all busy. Who has time to look through stacks of invoices to figure out what’s due when, with who, and for how much?

No one has that time. That’s why I wrote this blog post. Because I want to help you reach your full potential. And the best way to do that is by taking control of your contract management process.

For example, late last week, a major airline had to deal with a customer issue because either it – or one of its vendors – didn’t effectively manage a contract renewal. So the airline’s airport clubs could not serve drinks.

If you value certain types of customers enough to offer them free drinks, you can bet those customers have grown accustomed to the service. Especially if they’re paying a $500 annual fee for the privilege. It’s in your best interest to make sure you don’t have to tell them “no.”

Especially when your competitors are saying “yes.”

An optimized back office generates ROI

Investing on the front-end to gain market share is great. But just as important, you need to proactively manage the back-end processes that keep things moving. Otherwise, you won’t generate any return on investment.

If you’re using a limited contract management solution, you can still miss contract deadlines. It happens. Making matters even murkier, your organization might still be relying on paper.

How many times, in how many different situations, have you heard someone say, “The paperwork wasn’t completed.”?

And how many times have you thought, “We’re approaching the third decade of the 21st Century and you’re still managing important contracts with paper?”

A contract management system in action

A great example of how to use contract management software to effectively manage contracts, renewals and vendor relationships is the University of Northern Colorado (UNC).

The college streamlined its entire contract lifecycle, from request to contract execution and beyond. The solution – which leverages the case management, process automation and enterprise content management capabilities of a true enterprise information platform – provides the university with the transparency and control it previously lacked.

Now, UNC proactively manages critical contract expirations. Automatic notifications and calendar views of key contract dates prompt staff to take action and make timely decisions on contractual relationships.

“I can now finish a contract from start to finish in as little as 10 minutes – and we’ve been able to eliminate the vast majority of paper from our contracting process,” said Cristal Swain, assistant legal counsel and chief procurement officer at UNC.

You can be proactive and empower your organization and do things like negotiate new terms or early-payment discounts while decreasing risks and saving money on storage and shipping. Or you can continue to rely on outdated solutions.

The choice is yours. Be forewarned: One might cause you to drink.

But only if you renewed the contract.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Creativity in the Air

By Brian Kopack

Still dealing with an Olympic hangover.

For a couple of weeks it was all-Olympics-all-the-time.  I was totally ok with that.

I love watching competition – especially Olympic competition.

Even for events that I only pay attention to a few days every four years, like Trampoline, I can’t not watch.  Note: If you haven’t seen competitive trampolining, what’s the matter with you?  I can explain it, but you really should see it for yourself.  It’s must see programming.

I think it would be the official sport of IOS.

Here’s why.  Same blueprint for success.

Trampoline and content management are both all about innovation and testing boundaries.

In trampolining, there is the jump and then there is what happens in the air – the magic.  What happens in the air is equal parts expertise and creativity and agility.  Not just anyone can do it.

In content management there is software and there is everything that happens during its configuration and implementation and integration that combine to create a competitive advantage, again equal parts expertise and creativity and agility – IOS’ special magic.  It takes a special group to pull all of that off.

The dilemma is businesses think their issues can be solved with just software – the jump.  They can’t.  What goes up always come back down.  The best software poorly implemented gets them nowhere – except back where they started.

Our approach has always been different.  Deliver ideas for today’s information management problems, personally and professionally, that prepare our customers to meet the challenges of the future confidently.

The information requirements of business today are constantly expanding.  As a result, the expectations for companies like IOS are high.  And, the margin for error is slim.
That’s where we excel.

There is a part in our epically created video featuring Fike Corporation where Fike explains that people and ideas and expertise make the difference – specifically IOS people and IOS ideas and IOS expertise.  Watch it here.

We understand that in any creativity-based activity, trampolining or content management, there really isn’t a finish line.  Innovation never stops.  There will always be something new, better, more impressive.  To be successful, you have to accept that and embrace the mindset that if you aren’t creating, if you aren’t testing the limits of what’s possible, you aren’t really learning, you aren’t growing.

Content management like we do it at IOS is dynamic because so are the needs of business.

I can explain it, but you really should experience it for yourself.
Monday, July 25, 2016

There Should be a Law for That

By Brian Kopack


Said almost no one ever.

Well, maybe not a new law – just a more broad application of an existing law – specifically relating to content management.

I read about this last week and it’s stuck with me ever since.

The Brooks Act, a real law currently on the books since the 70’s, makes it illegal for government buyers to use price as any part of the decision process when selecting architects or engineers for federal government projects.

That’s a novel idea.  Buy on value not solely on cost.

Since we are all about ideas at IOS, let’s explore that one.

Buy on value not solely on cost.

Even though we see it as standard practice, we don’t think you can reduce the delivery of great ideas that change the way businesses use information and do work to a lowest-cost-wins-value-be-damned death match.  

Stop it already.  Ask more questions than, “How much does it cost?”  Make the vendor explain what the idea is worth.

In our technology-driven content management world, choosing a partner on price only makes the Purchasing Department happy – and only fleetingly.

Ideas matter.

In content management, same as in engineering (or any other idea based industry), once price is the driver, everything that makes an idea transformative is stripped away – creativity, expertise, vision.  It almost assures the exact opposite – lower quality, an inferior level of service and ultimately, a lower level of customer satisfaction.

Document conversion, content management systems, intelligent records storage, custom development – everything we do – like we do it, creates value.  Lots of value.  So much value, it’s like our badge of honor.  It’s isn’t uncommon to hear that a solution we designed / reengineered returned 3x/5x/10x in relatively short order.

We don’t think what we do can be done any other way.

We might not win in a price war, but we never lose in a value war.  If you can find another partner who can do what we do and can create more value for a lower price, you’ve found the content management unicorn – so hang on.

Creatively designed content management ideas flexibly designed and expertly implemented.

That’s IOS.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Can’t Spell Motivation without Motion

By Brian Kopack

Merkilegt

That’s the Icelandic word for remarkable.

Apparently there is some major international soccer tournament going on right now and the team from Iceland is the headline for how well they are playing.  I don’t know anything about soccer, but I guess their success is a really big deal.  A real Cinderella-story – Iceland playing “The World’s Game.”

Aside from the soccer part, the backstory does seem remarkable.  Iceland has about 330,000 people and here it is competing on the world stage against the giants in the world / sport.   If Iceland was a city in Indiana, it would be the 2nd largest in the state.  Additionally, coaching the team is a part-time job.  When the coach isn’t coaching, he’s a dentist.  I doubt the coaches in sports factories in US, Germany, Brazil, or Argentina have day jobs.

That all makes for a really good story, but here is a fact that is truly remarkable. It’s estimated that 99.8% of the Icelandic population watched the team’s last match.  Pretty close to every single person in the country was focused on the exact same thing at exactly the same time.

Think about that for a minute - near-complete participation in a single idea.  Motivation.

Does your business work that way?  How much easier would it be to get things done if everyone was working toward the same goal?

A lot.  Trust me.

At IOS, we have a singular focus and always have – content management.  All day every day our people are motivated to bring innovative ideas to business to help transform the way they do work – to solve business problems with all the components of a healthy information management strategy: document conversion - content management systems - intelligent records storage - custom development.

Expertise, creativity and agility with the motivation to get things moving.

We believe motion is critical.  Motivation begets activity which begets increased motivation to achieve more.

We know slow deployments suffocate great ideas.

Samuel Johnson once wrote, “The chains of habit are too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”

That’s what you get when low motivation and lack of motion (progress) combine.

We know the work we do isn’t always sexy or easy.  We know that businesses have an endless list of priorities and while managing information is typically on the list, commitment to improving it oftentimes runs high initially, then fades.

Our intention is to deliver great ideas efficiently to capitalize on the momentum of motivation.


Ideas Matter.  Be better.
Thursday, June 2, 2016

Content Management - In 3 Letters

By Brian Kopack


Apparently the people at Scripps are a little solicitous.

That means worried – except harder to spell.

Scripps is the major player in the sport of professional spelling.  I know, I know.  The competition is on ESPN, so it must be a sport – discussion for a different day.

I read an article predicting doom for the future of the National Spelling Bee because the competitors are getting too good.  The contest ended in a tie.  Again.  There have been more ties in the past 3 years than in the previous 90 years of The Bee.  Of all the words in the universe, they couldn’t come up with a few that the 11-13 year olds couldn’t spell.  That’s crazydiculous. (I don’t know if that is a real word but if it is, I am sure that’s how you spell it).

For full-disclosure, I am not a good speller.  And, I normally would not be interested in a spelling bee, but I paid attention this year because a family friend was competing.  She made it a few rounds before misspelling the word: patrilocal.

Watching the competition, it struck me that what makes the spellers so impressive – besides being really, really smart and uber-poised under pressure for as young as they are, is that they are able, in a very short amount of time, to gather clues to arrive at the word’s proper spelling – to connect everything.

Gathering information efficiently and then connecting it to develop a solution to a problem - huh.  Why does that feel so familiar?

That’s content management – seeing a bigger picture for the connected organization through a more effective use of information.

That’s IOS. {Note: very easy to spell so probably not in next year’s competition}

The spellers use word origin, part of speech and alternate pronunciations to help them spell the word.
IOS Professional Services takes information from an organization – forms, documents, contracts, charts, transcripts, receipts, invoices and links departments across that organization - Accounts Payable, Customer Service, Credit & Collections, HR, R&D and Quality Assurance through the magic of process re-engineering and workflow automation.

They understand the relationship between better use of information and improved performance. They understand the power of connection.

The ability to gather and assemble information to create is a special talent.  To do that in real-time to change the way work gets done is extraordinary.

That’s I-O-S.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Snow White and Speed Writing

By John Trimble


The new IOS video uses whiteboard animation, a form or technique that you cannot not watch. You might remember an older UPS commercial where a hand is diagramming on an easel in hyper speed. I think the reason it is so addictive to the eye is that we all intrinsically love to see progress sped up.

Even today kids love to see Disney’s animated Snow White quickly clean up the messy Dwarves’ house with the help of woodland creatures. In the film "Limitless" Bradley Cooper transforms his pig sty of an apartment into something presentable, assisted only by sped up time and, oh yeah, a miracle drug. But the message is the same: progress is nice but transformation in sped up time is awesome.

Could you do a time lapse accomplishment film on, say, re-inventing a business process? It’s not the sexiest thing in the world but then again neither is a filthy apartment. I think you could.

You would see a lot of bodies, a lot of cubicles, a lot of paper. You would wonder why they all looked frustrated and why there were so many of them. You would see a lot of shuffling of documents, a lot of e-mails and phone calls about where this or that invoice or sales order is. Occasional heroes and villains would emerge but mostly they would be faceless – trapped in a broken system, with a get me out of here vibe.

Until… the hand on the easel transforms them in hyper speed; then you would see filing cabinets and paper stacks disappear, close ups on invoices or sales orders sailing from one workstation to the next, approved and completed. You would notice fewer cubicles, people actually looking happier, commerce occurring.

Speed drawing is not real life but what it shows is. What it depicts is also not the future, it is the present. Companies are doing this every day. Not in hyper time but with our help they are doing it more quickly than you imagine; not even real time but what IOS calls “Fast Time.” Their process improvements are so vivid that you cannot not watch.

That is the movie that IOS makes. For a list of our previous screen credits we are only too happy to share. Talk to us.
Monday, May 2, 2016

We're Listening

By Angela Childs


Why do you do things the way you do?

I bet there are a lot of reasons.

Could be that once upon a time a bad thing happened and the process was designed to prevent it from happening again.  Maybe it was designed to accommodate other systems or processes.  Maybe that’s just how it’s always been done.   Is it the best way?  Is it a modern way?  Does it facilitate sharing of information?  Does it provide real-time access?  Is it easy to look at metrics and respond to issues, take advantage of opportunities, or adapt to changing conditions?

I’ve said before that technology years are like dog years and, baby, we’ve come a long way.  It’s easier and easier to provide real-time access to information, to put what people need to make good decisions right in front of them, to automate, and to accelerate.  If you’re not taking advantage, why not?

Fear of change?  People don’t “fear change”.  What they fear is that they won’t be better off because of it and that’s legitimate.  Projects start but never finish, go over budget, toddle past deadlines and often when they wrap the benefit is far less than expected.  Why do bad projects happen to good people?

I recently had a very frustrating experience with one of our vendors.  We were starting a project and, working to ensure success, had outlined clear objectives for what we needed to accomplish, a roadmap on how to accomplish each one, and had identified areas for which we were looking for advice.  This is what we do for a living after all so we had a plan.  We had done our homework and we made sure everyone had the details well in advance of the first meeting.  We were set to hit the ground running.

Except we didn’t.  You saw this coming.  It was like we were starting from zero.  They weren’t prepared. Super…  We shook it off and laid it all out during the meeting, we had everything detailed after all so we were ready and we just took them through it.  They asked questions, we had answers.  We stressed what factors were key to this being successful for us, what we were concerned about, and what we needed from them to round out the plan.  Back on track.

Except we weren’t.  Follow-up meeting and we’re starting all over.  I couldn’t figure it out.  This was important to us.  We put in the time to make sure we got it right and still we weren’t making progress.  We were going to have to drag this vendor along with us.  It was infuriating and I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what I found so frustrating.   That is until, while doing a testimonial video with us, one of our clients said that working with IOS they felt like they were heard and that we were prepared to do business with them in the way they needed.  They could ask for advice and the suggestions they got back were sound and worked for them.

It’s like it all clicked for me.  They felt like they were heard and that we were working with them. I didn’t believe our vendor was listening which translated to “we don’t care about this as much as you do” and I definitely didn’t feel like they were working with us.  We weren’t a team.

We completed the project but we had to roll that boulder all the way up the hill.  We stuck with it because they’re good at what they do and we decided if we just made up for what was lacking we could get what we needed.  It ended up being successful but it was way harder than it should have been and if we hadn’t made sure we added time and resources to fill in for the shortcomings, it would have failed.

That experience is how projects get a bad name but they don’t have to.  If you have a solid plan and everyone’s in, it can be transformative.  Want to see what it looks like when it goes right?  Take a look.

Our people, our expertise, our ideas…working with you to challenge the status quo.

That’s IOS.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Good Plan Comes Together

By Brian Kopack


I love it when that happens.

Our new video is ready.  Take a look...I'll wait...

We are excited about the video.  We are proud of the story.

The story is about Fike Corporation.  They had a plan – utilize technology to better manage its information internally and improve how it interacts with its customers.  In their own words, they explain how they achieved their goal with IOS’ help and what it means going forward.


Fike understood they were changing how they work today and how they will work in the future.  They believed in their idea.  They trusted IOS to help create a meaningful experience.

That’s what made the Fike / IOS partnership successful.

Our signature competencies – expertise, creativity and agility on full display to support Fike’s vision - to help create something that will provide lasting value.

It’s what we mean when we say, “It’s the idea that matters.”

Ideas aren’t commodities.  They are gateways to new futures and stronger relationships.  They create opportunities and unlock potential.

I’ve written previously that content management like we do it at IOS isn’t about products, or big names, or fancy propaganda, or highly-choreographed, canned demonstrations.

It is about great people - great process - great ideas – and trust.

That’s IOS – just watch.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ask, Reflect, Act, Repeat

By Brian Kopack


Are you better off today than you were {fill in the blank} years ago?

If you haven’t heard that recently, just wait.  It won’t be long.  It feels like it is all-election-all-the-time these days and that is a standard in political rhetoric.

Forget politics for now.  Ask yourself the same question about your business and how it manages its information.

It’s an important question.  It’s totally relatable.  It’s always relevant.

Following up on our last post, when it comes to deciding to implement a new content management system or to improve on an existing system, we find most businesses simply do nothing.

That would probably make their answer “no”.

It’s surprising to us.  We’ve seen how better information management is transformational.  If we hadn’t been involved in so many ambitious, pioneering projects that reshaped the processes of our clients, we’d be content with the status quo too – but we have, so we’re not.

For whatever reason, our biggest competitor is the status quo.  Always has been – probably always will be.  Problem is: When has the status quo ever been entrepreneurial?  The next time will be the first.

The evolution of technology in content management has accelerated the pace at which businesses must adapt to change.  And, by change I mean getting the right information to the right people at the right time to make better decisions.  Status quo used to enable business through stability.  Today the status quo is an obstacle to progress.

That’s why “that” question is always relevant for businesses. Businesses run on information.  The smarter businesses are about managing it, the more confidently they’ll be able to move into the future.

Still, we talk to a lot of businesses that absolutely believe that managing their information more effectively is critical to their success – and then do nothing.

Asking that question forces some honest reflection.  Businesses would have to ask themselves:
If we could time travel back, would we act differently?

How much time, energy, and money did we waste compensating for ineffective and inefficient content management?

Should we have tried harder to get consensus from upper management?

Did those old systems that would have been difficult to convert get any easier to manage?

Did those other projects that were higher priority create the expected value? Did they even got done?

That about covers all of the procrastination excuses.

For businesses that choose the status quo, at its core, that question is about evaluating experience against ideas.  Did / will the “what” justify the “why”?

We see it differently.  At IOS, we think the question should be is the idea bold enough, inventive enough, flexible enough to inspire action?  Does the idea trump the procrastination excuses?  Does the “why” make the “what” worthwhile?


At IOS, we believe it’s the idea that matters.  Always has.  Always will.
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Not to Decide is to Decide

By John Trimble


I first saw the expression “Not to decide is to decide” on a placard at a church youth group meeting as a freshman in High School. I found it chilling and it basically scared the crap out of me. It was different than your other motivational propaganda swill like “This is the first day of the rest of your life” or equally inane Captain Obvious mini mantras. This one struck home.

The reason was that it was true and I knew it. Personal decisions, career choices, everything from the superficial thinking of asking someone out and then delaying (what, she’s dating who?) to gut churning, life shaping, career navigations (I should have applied when?) Big, small, all dependent on both the right decision and – here is the pain part – the need to decide in time to avoid having your options degraded or disappear.

If I delay I risk loss. If I act I risk the bad choice. Both hitting against the natural human backdrop of,”I don’t want to act right now because I can justify the heck out of more time for contemplation and honestly, I wasn’t really planning to make that effort today."

You kick that decision moment down the road until – funny thing – the need to decide has passed, because that moment, that opportunity or even the possibly dodged bullet has passed. Now you will never know and you are both relieved and disappointed. In fact you did decide. Your personal status quo won.

Companies and organizations are no different. Managers and executives share the same low frequency hum of angst and guilt on not acting, not deciding promptly enough to maximize their choices and growth, to avoid bad things. Corporate horror shows rarely appear as overnight disasters, they more resemble the creeping lava flow that you know will come and burn down the village…eventually. But that lava is coming.

Not to decide is to decide is a cautionary saying on a wall. Heeding that in one area can be as simple as deciding to jump start a discussion on automating your business processes with IOS. After talking to us and the stories we will share we might even decide together that doing nothing for right now is not even OK, it is more than OK, it’s the right thing to do. But you decided.

No more chill.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Motorcycle Man and the Why

By John Trimble


Ken Schmidt of Harley Davidson does not lack for energy - I learned this last week at a Canon conference where he keynoted. His narrative was on Harley Davidson being on the verge of bankruptcy in 1985 because Harley had lost all sense of why people buy their motorcycles and instead tried to play the specs game; Harley versus Honda, Harley versus Yamaha, as the logic engine to buy. The problem was that Honda makes world class everything, even according to Ken, and their very similar bikes cost half that of a Harley.

So, they were hours from bankruptcy then but today they are north of 6 billion in revenue, 36% gross margin and over 267,000 bikes sold annually. What happened?

Lean production was brought in?  Was that it?  Nope, says Ken, it was story.

It was the understanding that in order to be part of the Harley Davidson story, that specific community - someone had to hear a friend tell their Harley story – stories of how their expectations were exceeded, not by a little but a lot. First at the dealership and then stories on how great it was to be part of the tribe, to be in that specific club, and in sub-text the validation that they are (unconsciously) seeking, as we all are, being fulfilled… by buying a Harley.

 Validation that can occur as easily as revving the engine (loudly) while at a stoplight, quite probably intended to annoy.   That great roaring engine sound is code for “look at me.”

Ken also talked about the genius of the phrase, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Absolutely everyone knows this catch phrase, it is both instructional and a huge lie. Las Vegas relies completely on the total opposite. If you get back from Vegas and no stories are told it could only mean you had a terrible time. Vegas understands, just like Harley Davidson, that no stories told means no demand is built.

The irony of Ken’s presentation – as great as it was – was that it immediately followed ninety minutes of Canon executives from all over the world presenting to their re-sellers on how Canon quality, specs, speeds and feeds could trump Fujitsu and other market share leaders. So I am not completely sure how much they loved Ken’s exclamation of “everyone has great quality now and making your bones on just that is a killer.”

Admittedly a story on Canon scanners or even document management is not as sexy as motorcycles or Vegas. But it can be done. It needs to be about your “Why” and your people and how you help to validate those who have chosen you…how they feel about being in your club. But if you doubt it can be done check out our customer stories in our IOS videos on our website.

So yes, Vroom  Vroom…look at IOS.
Thursday, March 3, 2016

We'll Call Kanye...

By Brian Kopack

He did it again.  Social media is losing its mind.

Kanye knows how to get publicity.  Kanye always has a message.  Kanye would be perfect for our new marketing position.

Listen to him.  He’ll tell you he’s all about ideas.  We’ll get along great because so are we.

I know he recently asked Mr. Facebook for a billion dollars.  That’s not really in our budget, but I think we might be able to come to an agreement.

The purpose of marketing is to get noticed.  That’s kind of his thing.  He would definitely help get IOS noticed.

What can possibly go wrong?

Well, maybe a lot.  Maybe him being the IOS spokesperson isn’t a stellar idea.  Every time you read headlines about him that include “epic”, they almost always also include “rant”.  That kind of marketing we don’t need – it’s not really our style.

What is our style?

More conversation less rant

Conversations reveal individual experiences.  Individual experiences combine in a business to create collective experiences.  That’s where IOS works – innovative, agile ideas for managing information to bring people and processes together.  We can’t tell you who you should be.  We can help you understand what you’re capable of being.  The difference, and it’s important, is that some ideas sound good and others make you better because they are customized to your situation.  You can’t get to there from a monologue.

Smart is cool (and you can never be smart enough)

Cheaper – Faster – More Powerful.  That’s the world we live in and we are totally fine with it.  One of the benefits of our experience is perspective.  We can do what we are good at – helping business do better work by leveraging the power of technology with great ideas – then take the knowledge we gain and build it into the next great idea.  There really isn’t a finish line because the potential to be better is always there.

Confidence in change

To do something new, you have to stop doing something old.  The prevailing fear in developing or improving on a content management strategy is change = loss of control.  That’s especially the case in initial adoptions.  It’s easier to hold on to an inefficient, manual process than take the risk on a more efficient, automated process.  The reality is better information management enhances control.  Better control of time, better control of effort, better control of resources.  We know our work creates value.  We know our discovery-driven process fosters a customized solution design that empowers businesses to do their best work.  Our experience allows us to create with confidence.

That should give Kanye enough to work with.  IOS has a definite style.  Our messaging has to
 match that style.  We really can’t compromise, so if it doesn’t work out, we will go in another direction.  Or, we will try something totally different.

We are not above shameless brand placement.

So, since Kanye also knows fashion, somehow he is able to sell plain, white t-shirts for $120 each, maybe we can get him to walk from his apartment to his car wearing this -


Courtesy of the paparazzi, the photos will circumnavigate the globe in a flash.

We’d like that.

Note: Since scarves are all the rage these days, let us know if you are interested and we will get one out to you.  The real question is “Why wouldn’t you be interested in an IOS scarf?”
Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Really All About Trust

By Brian Kopack

***SPOILER ALERT***

We’re starting work on our next video.

Coming this spring.  Filmed in ... Featuring ...  Yeah, forget it.  We’re not even totally sure ourselves.
I think we always feel a little frazzled at this stage of the process while we wait for everything to magically fall into place.  We’re excited to share something new.  We’re nervous about the details.  We’re confident it will be great.  All at the same time.

The nervousness comes from wanting to be sure we tell our story authentically.  We want the final product to show real people doing real work to solve real problems.  Since we can’t meet everyone in person, our videos are our way for us to share who we are, what we do, how we think.  We understand content management isn’t the most video-friendly topic, so we do our best to be informative and interesting.

In a few of the videos we have on our site our story is told by our customers.  Take a look here, here and even here.  Check them out.  Different customers.  Different industries.  Different solutions.  Same IOS.

We enjoy those videos because they show our work has been impactful.  They show we’ve made a difference.  They show our customers know our work and, they were willing not only to make a recommendation, but to be a recommendation – on film.

Trust permeates each video.

What has been accomplished, sometimes over the course of years, is only possible because of who IOS is and how we approach our work.   Our people, our processes and our ideas challenge traditional information management practices.  That approach gives our customers confidence that each new idea moves them forward, closer to their best self.  That approach motivates action.

A new book, Presence, by social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, presents some interesting ideas on social dynamics.  You might recognize the name.  She has one of the most watched TED Talks ever.  One idea she discusses is that people/businesses evaluate relationships on two fronts: trust and competence. Selfishly, we think people will like us, respect us, if we are the best or the smartest.  That probably can’t hurt, but her research shows it’s more important for people first to be able to decide that they can trust you.

We totally agree.  Content management like we do it at IOS is all about trust.  We trust our people, our processes and our ideas.  Our customers do too.  

It’s the idea that matters.

Not products, not big names, not fancy propaganda, not highly-choreographed, canned demonstrations.

Great people - great process - great ideas – and trust.

That’s IOS

Monday, January 11, 2016

What Are You Waiting For?

By Brian Kopack

Are you over your resolutions yet?

It’s been almost two weeks.

How can a “holiday” cause so much angst?  The grand visions of a life-changing conversion at the flip of a calendar page are just too enticing.

If only someone would invent willpower-in-a-can already, we could get past this.

Somehow, we believe January 1 holds the mystical key to self-improvement.  It doesn’t.  We could decide to change – to do or not to do anything - any minute of any day.  We just have to follow through.  A good idea isn’t bound by the calendar nor valuable unless we actually do something.

Businesses get it.  They make resolutions all the time.  That incredible flexibility does not, however, cut down on the frustration of unfulfilled expectations.  Next month, next quarter, next year will be the perfect time to start the {fill in the blank} project.  The problem is – often, the problems don’t go away, time marches on and mediocrity becomes the status quo.

Of all the resolutions businesses make – to more effectively and efficiently manage information is usually at the top of the list because with technology advancing as dramatically as it is, there is no finish line for content management.

Any comprehensive strategy is constantly evolving.  Plans include: system integrations, manual-task automation, legacy system conversions, total process re-engineering, separately or in combination.

That’s where IOS comes in – squarely in the resolution-fulfillment business.  Almost a content management life-coach because our expertise covers all of those areas and the depth and breadth of our experience makes our perspective unique.

Complex business problems need expert solutions delivered expertly.

IOS totally believes that.  We are confident in our ability to deliver great ideas supported by our expertise, our creativity and our agility to solve the information management challenges of our customers.  We know our ideas can help unlock their potential.  We understand the power of technology.  We’ve seen how that power, when properly deployed, can be transformational.

We know great ideas create enthusiasm. Enthusiasm inspires action.  People are more likely to work in support of an idea that makes them better.  Success breeds success.

It will always be the idea that matters.  2016 will be no different.

Cheers!