December 19, 2003, DRAFT

AIIM Standards Program

Project Proposal

Submit completed project proposal to Betsy Fanning at or via FAX to 240-494-2682.

1. Project Title

Specifying an XML Schema for Strategic Plans: The First Step toward the Strategic Management of Documents/Records/Content

2. Project Introduction

Strategic planning is a basic and vital activity of all mature organizations worldwide. In highly competitive markets it is critical that all actions taken by each and every individual within an organization be aligned with its strategic objectives. However, stating strategic alignment as an objective is much easier than actually achieving such alignment, particularly when there is a disconnect between the strategic plan and the records created in the actual business processes. Such a disconnect quite naturally and inevitably occurs since strategic plans are commonly drafted in word processors and rendered in publishing formats, which place a premium on style rather than substance. Such documents are structured more for appearance than for meaning, and they do not facilitate referencing and linkages to actual business processes.

Typically, organizations aim to overcome the disconnect by rekeying into proprietary enterprise resource planning (ERP) and/or other management information systems (MIS) the numbering scheme or other coding for the objectives identified in their strategic plans. However, with the rapid emergence of Extensible Markup Language (XML) as a standard for structuring “smart” documents for ready referencing and reuse, it is now possible to establish natural, nonproprietary, flexible, and reusable linkages among strategic objectives and the actual records created in ongoing business processes – particularly through the use of related standards such as XLink, XPath, and XPointer. Building upon such linkages, organizational performance metrics can be compiled and reported in near real-time, on the Internet and/or intranets. In addition, through the use of technologies such as XQuery, relationships that may otherwise remain hidden can be discovered not only among the objectives and records within an organization but, potentially, also across myriad organizations worldwide.

U.S. federal agencies are required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) to compile strategic plans. Such plans are public and agencies are required to consult with their stakeholders in compiling and maintaining them. In most, if not all cases, such plans are already available on agency Web sites, albeit in “unintelligent” formats (typically PDF) that must be read in their entirety by human beings in order to decipher their meaning. They are not readily subject to analysis and processing by computers in order to help human beings select and use the relevant parts of them efficiently and effectively.

The Electronic Government Act (eGov Act) requires agencies to “link their performance goals ... to key groups, including citizens, businesses, and other governments, and to internal Federal Government operations ...” It also says, “agencies shall work collectively in linking their performance goals to groups [of stakeholders] and shall use information technology in delivering Government information and services to those groups.” [Sec. 202(b)(4) & (5)] Finally, the eGov Act explicitly cites strategic plans as one of four classes of documents agencies shall make available via “direct links” on their Web sites. [Sec. 207(f)(1)(A)(iv)]

Those provisions of law are in effect a requirements statement for the specification of an XML schema for strategic plans. Likewise, AIIM’s emphasis on the importance of managing “content” as a strategic asset also implies the need for such a schema. Indeed, without such a schema, such emphasis is little more than rhetoric and the provisions of the eGov Act cannot efficiently and effectively be met. (The eGov Act explicitly cites XML as the kind of technology that should be used to facilitate the categorization of information for discovery and retrieval.)

3. Scope Statement or abstract

(Enter clear, unambiguous statement of scope and intent including what will not be covered.)

An XML schema (XSD) will be specified containing the semantic elements that are common to the strategic plans of all organizations worldwide. Examples include vision, mission, values, goals, objectives, metrics, and stakeholders.

The XSD will not include stylistic elements.

To the extent that may be appropriate, the XSD will be modular so that organizations can use any logically separable part of it without being bound to using all of its components. In addition, the schema will be extensible in the sense that any organization can add any element(s) it chooses to meet its own more specialized needs/desires without losing the benefits of the base schema.

4. Objectives

The intent is to enable ready reference to strategic objectives via queries and linkages on the Internet and/or intranets. Ultimately, strategic alignment will be achieved by linking to strategic objectives each and every record created within an organization, including the “content” made available on its public Web site(s).

Any organization’s Web site containing content not explicitly linked to objectives in its strategic plan is, by definition, in questionable alignment with that plan. Thus, an XSD for strategic plans might be considered to be a base semantic template for organizational Web sites, worldwide, as well as for internal information management systems.

The Semantic Web will ultimately comprise the extension/build-out of the strategic plans of organizations (as well as individuals) with each Web page and component thereof linked directly or indirectly to one or more strategic objectives.

5. Need Statement

     a. What is the audience that the document is being targeted toward?

Developers of strategic planning, performance reporting, and document/records/content management applications.

     b. What benefit will the target audience realize as a result of this document?

It will be much easier to discover, retrieve, reference, reuse, and establish linkages to objectives within the strategic plan of any organization, as well as to analyze and relate such objectives to each other across the plans of many organizations (e.g., those comprising the U.S. federal “enterprise”). Automated agents and intermediaries will be empowered to leverage the information provided in strategic plans to target and serve specialized communities of interest.

     c. What are the general benefits of this document?

Organizational managers will have far better tools to manage their organizations, in accordance with their strategic plans. Other stakeholders realize benefits in terms of more efficient and effective organizations. In the private sector, that will translate into greater profits. In the public sector, citizens will benefit by having more accountable public agencies, and those agencies will have greater incentives to spend the taxpayers’ money wisely and effectively.

Note: In annual polls conducted by the Council for Excellence in Government, greater accountability has routinely been rated by members of the public as the greatest potential benefit of electronic government. Accountability requires records having the attributes outlined in ISO 15489, and strategic alignment requires that those records be linked to strategic objectives.

6. Potential Commercial impact or Market Relevance

a. Will commercial products need to be modified or developed in order for the standard or TR to provide proposed benefits?

Commercial products that are not XML-enabled will need to be modified to take advantage of the proposed XSD. However, companies that are not planning to XML-enable their applications are already placing themselves at substantial risk of failure. Companies most likely to benefit include those already delivering document/records/content management capabilities. Some of those products may already include elements of strategic plans (e.g., as metadata maintained in SQL databases) albeit in a nonstandard manner that fails to facilitate interoperability, referencing, reuse, and analyses.

b. Are current product providers identified and available to participate in developing the standard or TR?

HyperVision <> has drafted a basic XSD for demonstration purposes, but it focuses as much on the style as the substance (semantics) of strategic plans.

Major software vendors whose participation should be sought include: Microsoft, IBM, Adobe, Corel, PureEdge, Software AG, Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft, Novell, Apple, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems. Document/content/records management vendors who may be interested include: FileNet, Hummingbird, OpenText, Documentum, Stellent, Vignette, Tower, Hyland, and MDY. In addition, all of the major IT integrators should be invited to contribute. Indeed, participation should be open to anyone who is ready, willing, and able to contribute.

c. Are there any de facto standards available for the same purpose? If so, please identify.


None of which I am aware. offers a free online tool that produces a three-page strategic plan.

7. Coordination

Is there similar work elsewhere? (AIIM will assist in the research of this and to identify appropriate liaisons.)

To be determined.

8. Resources (Potential participants)

In addition to the vendors listed above, potential participants include but are not limited to:

Council for Excellence in Government (CEG)

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

General Services Administration (GSA), 

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

General Accounting Office (GAO) 

Government Printing Office (GPO)

Federal Information and Records Managers Council (FIRM)

OASIS, e-Gov TC & HumanML TC

XML Working Group, U.S. CIO Council (xmlWG)

Taxonomy & Semantics Special Interest Group, (Semantics SIG)

ARMA International (ARMA)

XBRL Consortium 

OMB Watch (OW)

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

The United Nations (UN)

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)

The Performance Institute (TPI)

Intelligence Community (IC)

Strategic Planning Society(SPS)

Association for Strategic Planning (ASP)

Fortune 500 companies as well as innovative smaller companies

Information technology consulting and integration firms

National, state/provincial, and local government agencies that are performance-oriented

(If you’d like your organization to be added to this list, please contact

9. Project Proposed Timeline

(Identify any special considerations concerning the timeliness of the work.)

Under the eGov Act, the deadline for agencies to establish “direct links” to their strategic plans is December 17, 2004. If OMB were to choose to do so, in combination with other provisions of the Act, that might be taken as a deadline for agencies to post their strategic plans on their Web sites as valid instance documents in conformance with an XSD for such plans. (No doubt, however, lawyers who have something other than the public interest in mind could pose arguments as to why the Act may not be interpreted to require agencies to do so.)

10. Proposer's Contact Information

Name              Owen Ambur 

Address           4401 N. Fairfax Drive

                        Arlington, VA 22203

Telephone      703-358-2138



[Note: Owen is no longer with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service but he can be contacted at]