It is indisputable — content drives business and is central to an organization’s digital journey.
According to IDC research, 80-90% of the global data generated and replicated is unstructured content such as contracts, emails, messages, discussions, product designs, marketing assets, resumes, training materials, and a myriad of other business-related documents (IDC Worldwide Global DataSphere and Global StorageSphere Structured and Unstructured Data Forecast, 2021–2025, Jul 2021). Content holds critical information that not only keeps the business running, but that can be turned into insights and knowledge for continuous improvement and competitive advantage.
Of course, content must be managed. Perhaps your organization uses a structured content management system to handle all this information. IDC research also shows that, in a typical organization, 142 people create or edit content directly from that organization’s content management system, and this number is expected to increase by 23% over the next two years (IDC’s CMS Technology and Use Cases Survey, June 2021, N =540). On average, each of those individuals spends 26 hours per week creating and/or editing content.
One way to effectively tame content particularly the portions that are complex, regulated, and/or customer-facing, is by making sure that your content is “intelligent.” In their book, Intelligent Content – A Primer1, Rockley, Cooper and Abel present this definition:
Intelligent content is designed to be modular, structured, reusable, format-free, and semantically rich and, as a consequence,
discoverable, reconfigurable and adaptable.
Let’s focus on the last two words of this definition – reconfigurable and adaptable. What does it mean to reconfigure and adapt your content? Sure, you can more easily adjust componentized content for different audiences, media, formats, and devices. Your content can be more up-to-date, compliant, personalized, and easier to translate to other languages. But is it good content? Does it resonate with the reader? Can you make it better? And what does “better” mean, and how do you know if you’ve achieved that?
In the aforementioned IDC CMS study, we asked senior decision-makers about their organizations’ content management challenges; 26% cited “understanding what content resonates with the audience” as a key challenge (see chart).
Q. Which of the following are the top 3 content challenges for your organization?Source: IDC, CMS Technology and Use Cases Survey, June 2021, N =540
How is this challenge addressed? The solution is closed-loop content lifecycle management, which includes the processes of creating, managing, collaborating/reviewing, assembling, publishing, and analyzing content assets. This analysis leads to content intelligence, so you know what works and what doesn’t. It closes the loop — instructing you how to reconfigure and adapt your content. In other words, it supports continuous improvement, and can ultimately lead to competitive differentiation.
Content intelligence involves ML- and AI-powered processes, systems, and software that enables you to organize, locate, share, and track content, providing data-driven performance insights into how (and if) that content is used. In a recent IDC survey, 65% of decision-makers told us they are currently or planning to widely use advanced analytics and/or artificial intelligence to digitize and/or transform their organizations’ content-centric business processes and workflows (IDC, IT QuickPoll – Content Services Survey, January 2022, N=103). Almost one-third of those respondents noted that they would use AI and/or analytics to contextualize and/or personalize the user experience or to analyze document activity.
Data can inform effective and relevant content strategies, enabling content to resonate with your audiences, both internal and external. You no longer need to guess which topics, media, formats, etc., will interest your stakeholders – you will have accurate consumption metrics to ascertain that information. And when compared with production data, you can measure the true ROI of your content and make informed decisions to improve your strategy from creation to consumption, including where to reduce costs.
How do you begin to close the loop from intelligent content to content intelligence? Start by evaluating your current mission-critical content processes. Understand who is producing, reviewing, approving, and delivering content. In other words, who participates in the content lifecycle? Who is consuming your content and how? And finally, how are you measuring use and engagement? Have you established a feedback loop?
Once you answer these questions, you will need to find the vendor and solution that best meets your need. Given its long content-centric heritage, IDC believes that Quark and its open platform of tools for closed-loop content lifecycle management should be given careful consideration.
Start closing the loop from intelligent content to content intelligence today!
1. Ann Rockley, Charles Cooper, and Scott Abel, Intelligent Content – Primer, XML Press, 2015
Holly Muscolino is the Group Vice President, Content Strategies and the Future of Work for IDC, responsible for research related to innovation and transformation in content solutions, including intelligent document processing, esignature, imaging and printing, and other content workflow services. Ms. Muscolino’s core coverage also includes work transformation, technology and digital skills research, and the role of technology in driving the future of work.