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Carl Frappaolo

ECM Grows in Stature: Context is King and BI is the Key to the Kingdom

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Recently NPR ran a story about the dramatically changing world of television viewing and the impact is having on services provided by Nielsen. This caused me to reflect on the rapidly increasing value of ECM.

For decades Nielsen has had a monopoly on reporting on the "popularity" of television programs based on eyeballs on TV sets at a particular time. This data is extremely valuable because it provides potential advertisers with insight on how much a spot on a given program is worth, and to which audience. But television watching isn't what it used to be (echo newspapers and magazines). Television "content consumers" have alternative ways to access content (e.g.TiVo and Hulu) via alternative viewing devices including smart phones and laptops. (I know my kids are forever watching TV without the TV on.)

Nielsen customers (i.e. advertisers) are demanding that Nielsen keep pace and monitor these viewing habits. The television ad market is not dying - it is morphing. Through ECM-based technologies, it is possible to compile BI on multiple consumer habits, at unprecedented levels of granularity. In the case of television viewing, for example, not only what viewers are watching, but also when, where, what was skipped, re-played and shared.

That is BI at a far lower and wider level of granularity than Nielson provides today. Now think this new proposition through. Advertisers, using more ECM-based technology (e.g. e-publishing and DAM) can deliver more personalized and granular messages, in a timely manner - ads in context.

CONTEXT is king, and BI is the key to the kingdom.

This is just one example in one industry. The possibilities inside and outside the firewall, across industries and business applications are virtually limitless. ECM, for those that embrace it with open arms and innovative minds, is at the foundation of great new opportunities and challenges.

In a phrase: get innovative with ECM.

The integration of varied content types and new means of content distribution and consumption, coupled with new approaches to tracking (e.g. GPS) and BI, create amazing opportunity; truly personalized real-time publishing, contextual publishing and a constant loop of feed back (including 2.0 emergence) that allow the content provider to continuously fine-tune the presentation and make-up of content. The future for advertising and marketing as well as education and corporate communication is ripe with positive change, and ECM is at the foundation of this.

But, market understanding of and appreciation for electronic content delivery lags. ECMers such as myself have been heralding the ability and benefits of designing content for e-based delivery and leveraging DAM and text analytics to expand the boundaries of BI for years. Despite this however, the majority of business applications that involve content delivery remain rooted in paper-based delivery metaphors.

With the popularizing of e-based consumption of content, it is likely that content publishers (taken in the strictest and loosest sense of that phrase), will wake up and actually leverage electronic content to its fullest value. Dynamic links, multimedia, content in context - by person, geography and time of day, will more readily be embraced and supported by those that provide content - from books and newspapers to coupons and name badges.

The market is at an inflection point, much like it found itself circa the 1980s, with the popularizing of imaging technology. Scanning technology had been around for quite some time before that, but organizations were still mostly thinking in terms of paper. Imaging was a "new capability" that augmented paper. It was not uncommon to find organizations that were printing content, only to scan it into an online imaging system. Hard to believe? (Hey, I still occasionally find examples of people doing this.) This mentality is not so different from that of organizations today that create volumes of content online and then design output for paper.

Practices and approaches to publishing have started to change, and will surely begin to pick up speed. DITA will become the "new html" and gain far greater market awareness and adoption. For those electronic content management technology vendors that have focused on dynamic delivery, there time is here. Companies such as MarkLogic, PTC, and SDL should find a burgeoning market that "suddenly" better understands their value proposition. Others such as Astoria and Storme may likely reposition their underlying capabilities to more directly address this growing need. ECM bastions such OpenText and EMC (especially with their X-Hive acquisition) are well positioned to re-direct attention to these capabilities they have touted for years, to a mostly blind and deaf consumer.

The onus will be on the distributor of content to become innovative, to leverage these new capabilities and to think beyond 8.5 x 11 static media in order to provide a more effective experience for the content consumer.

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Dan Keldsen, Chief Innovation Officer and Principal Consultant at Information Architected, covers the digital interesection of Behavior, Collaboration, Content, Process, Social and Strategy... for Business.

Carl Frappaolo

Carl Frappaolo is a co-founder and principal with Information Architected. He has over 25 years experience working with a broad array of business solutions including knowledge and content management, information architecture, taxonomies, portals, search engines, Enterprise 2.0, collaboration, innovation management, document management, workflow, business process management (BPM), records management and imaging strategies.

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