What’s the hold up when it comes to content analytics?

In nearly every organisation that I have come across, there is more content flowing through the business now, more than any other time. This content comes in a wide array of types and forms, with unparalleled insight for that organisation to extract. This explosion of content – in both volume and different types – has led to the creation of the term, ‘content analytics’. 

This involves the analysis of in-bound and legacy content and deriving insight from that. Insight can be used to obtain all manner of competitive advantage and subsequently, content analytics has become one of the most widely-used terms in the technology sector. 

One would be forgiven for assuming that organisations would be using content analytics just as much as they are talking about it, but that’s not the case. AIIM recently released research - ‘Using Analytics – automating processes and extracting knowledge’ – that revealed just 20 per cent of enterprises are currently using content analytics, despite more than a quarter of business executives seeing it as essential. 

Given the importance attached to content analytics, what’s the reason behind its relative lack of take-up?

An explosion of content

It is easy to forget, that only a decade or so ago, enterprise content was very straight forward. Content would generally be a Microsoft document of some sort, and was relatively easy to file, manage and access. Fast forward ten years and content can be video, audio, social and much more besides, and it also carries with it much more potential for insight and business intelligence.

This means that subsequently, content is far harder to classify and access. Content can and is being captured from multiple sources, including remote devices – the Internet-of-Things. According to 43 per cent of respondents in the AIIM study, data is being captured from security systems (access readers, cameras, etc.) and 25 per cent say it is being captured from facilities equipment (HVAC, lighting, etc.) by 25 per cent. Additionally, 51 per cent of or respondents are capturing data from peripheral devices such as multi-function copiers.

Content analytics – beyond insight

Content analytics is not a particularly new application, but many organisations are beginning to realise the potential to not only extract business knowledge and insight, but how to apply it and combine it with other technologies like BPM, to automate more of their business operations and processes.

According to 27 per cent of the research respondents, content analytics is seen as essential now, with 59 per cent saying they see it as essential within the next five years. For organisations that are already underway with their content analytics programmes, the benefits are clear to see. 61 per cent of respondents feel the intelligence derived from content analytics is most useful in providing better insight and decision making capabilities, while 37 per cent feel it is improved product or service quality.

So with content analytics delivering rich insight and in fact going way beyond that in terms of the value it brings to an enterprise, why isn’t everyone using it?

Costs and expertise

Like many technologies, part of the problem content analytics is facing, is competition for hard-earned IT budget. Although few would dispute the importance and potential of content analytics, currently it is seen as a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than essential.

This was highlighted in AIIMs research. 43 per cent of those surveyed see considerable investment as an implementation challenge, while 35 per cent cite a lack of expertise needed to make it all happen. Like any number of technologies in the past, analytics is one of those where the initial costs and expertise required to garner value and benefit slow the adoption cycle until there is proven evidence that the investment is worthwhile.

Moving forward with content analytics

The good news is that a majority of enterprises that have embraced content analytics, are already seeing benefits right across the organisation. Content analytics will undoubtedly be important for most organisations, but there is also a need to press on with programmes lest a business find itself getting left behind. This is how best to approach content analytics:

First of all, identify a potential business process where analytics is or could be used today. Assess where the process slows down, what information is involved, and the sources of that information. Identify who is in charge of radical process review in that area, and seek endorsement for policies on analytics use.

Organisations should also now always look beyond the corporate walls and traditional forms of information to include social media, and the Internet-of-Things as primary sources of information. There then needs to be a strategy to leverage captured and analysed information across multiple departments and for multiple purposes. For example, security and access readers not only control access activity, the information gathered can be used as a preventative measure to identify potential threats of unauthorised access attempts.

If you are unsure of where to start, seek professional assistance to help you set off on the right path. Look to your current suppliers and service providers for guidance and turn to your professional associations and peers to find advice and training that will teach you best practices.

Bob Larrivee, Chief Analyst, AIIM
Image source: Shutterstock/Bakhtiar Zein