This list is derived from my personal sales calls conducted on the West Coast, which includes 11 states and was compiled for a date range starting in September 2016 until March 2017 (present). This is not an exact science, but I do believe these findings are newsworthy on the whole from approximately 120 meetings.
- California Utilities, State Agencies and Municipalities Are More Curious and Receptive
Whether it is because the economy and budgets are larger and therefore the need is greater is unknown, but certainly must play a role. The number of organizations seeking out how to standardize, classify and expire data is larger than that of any other state we see for inbound requests. While it is true that smaller states may be more agile and able to address issues more quickly, the majority of inquiries regarding how to manage data on the West Coast come from California. All of the abovementioned verticals in the title need to make information readily available to the public, comply with freedom of information law requests, improve user experiences and be able to effectively search their unstructured data. That being said, what is everyone else doing on the rest of the West Coast for the management of unstructured data and content standardization?
- The Environmental Laws and Regulations are More Stringent
One of my most recent and enlightening calls, which was the impetus for this post, was with an agency charged with handling well logs and intent to drill documents. California has the strictest laws in the country regarding documentation and accessibility for these types of documents and has made conservation a priority. As such, not only do energy, oil, gas and other types of energy companies need to invest in document transformation, capture, extraction and classification abilities, but the agencies do as well. A common format for communication between the two is the high definition content searchable PDF. Whether it is CAD drawings, words documents, or legacy paper projects, everyone needs text searchable access and to be able to derive the content out of these varied formats in order to make informed decisions. California is leading the charge in this area.
How stringent are your state’s laws with regard to your industry regulations that require information to be electronically accessible and searchable? Searchability and accessibility are different.
- California is Innovative (applies to all verticals)
Most of the clients we meet with in California are looking for something they have not seen before; they want us to tell them what workflows we recommend after telling us about their process. Yes we sign NDAs and we treat client documents proprietary to the client with the utmost care, but we also find Californians to be very open. There is a knowledge that information governance is necessary and they want us to walk them down that path. In large part they are not looking to shove us into an RFP, check a box or continue with antiquated ways of doing things; especially with the digital transformation upon us. They describe a business problem and let us propose a solution versus asking for a transactional quote that does not allow for us to explore the use case.
Be ready to change for the better and accept that some of those ideas will come to your organization from an external source.