A new generation of content management problems

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Recently the very scale and nature of content management has changed – as well as the volume, richness and diversity of data needing to be managed, requiring a re-think in the way data, content and information is perceived in organisations.

One of the big hurdles with information is the ability to easily and efficiently share and use it. A recent survey from information management association AIIM underscores this dilemma. Over 62 per cent said they found it difficult to share information with colleagues, customers, suppliers and partners. In addition, a staggering 79.3 per cent said that lack of integration between their organisation’s content management system and core business applications was a real stumbling block. And finally, 70.5 per cent said that scaling out information management systems to other processes beyond its original deployment was also proving an impasse. Clearly these are significant challenges to address.

Content solutions must now operate as part of enterprise processes and applications, and in a much more modular fashion, connecting systems together in a more unified way than ever before. This is a world away from the old behemoth Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems. This new genre is what analyst firm Gartner refers to as content services, a more strategic rather than technology orientated approach which provides a more joined up way of thinking about how to get around the content management dilemma. The way we interact with content, collaborate and disseminate information and business insight is changing. Content services better connect the information silos that exist across organisations and make information more readily available to relevant parties within the business. But first organisations need to get their content house in order.

Content overflow

Digital content is everywhere, across organisations in different applications from email to spreadsheets, in-house developed systems and in file shares. AIIM’s survey shed some light on the way organisations are attempting to manage their business content. An astonishing 61 per cent are still using spreadsheets to manage core business processes. 50 per cent use in-house developed systems, 49 per cent departmental line of business applications, 53 per cent use file sharing systems such as Box, OneDrive and Google Drive, while an overwhelmingly large number of information management professional respondents (68 per cent) store information in their Document/Enterprise Content Management (DM/ECM) system.

And the volume of data is exploding

The survey reveals that over 71 per cent who said that the increasing size of content assets is proving difficult. Over 72 per cent said they were finding the increasing variety of the kinds of content assets that have to be managed challenging, while 76.8 per cent said the increasing number of content assets that need to be managed is proving problematic.

All of this puts a spotlight on a highly complex information management landscape at a time when organisations are digitally transforming and information has become one of the key assets in determining competitive advantage. It is clear that change needs to happen quickly.

A content service platform cuts through this labyrinth providing standardised connections to external systems and internal repositories; managing the diversity and volume of data that has to be managed by organisations today.

Many people, one voice

Take for example The First Peoples’ Cultural Council whose deployment shows the power of technology in organising  information.

The Council launched FirstVoices 1.0 in 2003 to provide multilingual language documentation tools to the 34 distinct First Nations languages of British Columbia, Canada. British Columbia has the greatest diversity of Indigenous languages in Canada, representing 60 per cent of all Indigenous languages in the country. Indigenous languages in the province are in a state of emergency with fewer than 6,000 total speakers across all languages and dialects.

FirstVoices now serves over 60 languages and dialects in Canada, the United States, and Australia. The Project provides a dynamic platform for technically-savvy Indigenous youth to partner with their fluent speaking elders to document their languages for future generations.

Capturing Indigenous language knowledge is core to the FirstVoices mission. The organisation conducts field acquisition of this knowledge by working closely with the tribal communities they serve. This process consists of sending FirstVoices trainers to live in First Nations communities for 1-2 weeks at a time. Training workshops are also conducted remotely. During this time, trainers share the latest techniques with teams of community-based language champions to capture text, audio, videos, photos and other language resources for upload to the robust online FirstVoices database.

As complex as the indigenous language capture process sounds, the bigger challenge facing FirstVoices as they set to launch the 2.0 version of their web-based platform was how to best architect it to deliver the capabilities necessary to serve communities in a manner that was modern and secure.

In order to effectively capture, preserve and protect indigenous languages, dialects, and alphabets, a modern and open technology platform for knowledge management was needed. The concept of a Content Services platform came to the project’s attention as it could easily be adapted and configured to preserve native languages and also because it was open source, which fits in with its philosophy.

The project uses workflow management capabilities to validate what constitutes a ‘minimally viable record’ to be stored and managed within FirstVoices’ platform. FirstVoices leverages the permissions management features to help restrict access to certain files and objects.

Hosted in the Nuxeo Cloud, the platform meets the knowledge management needs of First Voices as well as the communities it serves. Nuxeo is now its chosen platform for how indigenous language assets are stored, managed, protected, and accessed by the communities FirstVoices serves. FirstVoices currently stores and manages approximately 400,000 objects, a number they expect will continue to grow.

A modern content strategy that meets the challenges of managing information in the digital age is crucial to the growth and success of any organisation. First Voices have shown how a well thought out information management strategy can put an organisation on positive journey to digital transformation.

David Jones, VP of Product Marketing, Nuxeo
Image source: Shutterstock/Bakhtiar Zein