Magazine article Information Today

Premium Content Integration: Capitalize on the Opportunities Now. (Special Supplement to EContent)

Magazine article Information Today

Premium Content Integration: Capitalize on the Opportunities Now. (Special Supplement to EContent)

Article excerpt

Organizations today face unrelenting pressure to achieve greater productivity, higher revenues per employee and smart responses to clients and competitors. To realize these objectives, business professionals need access to content resources that enable them to answer questions and to quickly make informed decisions. While there is a staggering amount of content available from different sources and in different formats, all the content in the world is of little value unless it is trustworthy, easy to access and integrated into the user's work flow.

For the past 30 years commercial search services have invested tremendous resources to license a broad set of content and fine tune the search software, so that professional researchers can obtain either a specific answer to almost any business question or background information to support business decisions. They have successfully built large repositories of premium content underpinned with solid information architecture. Development continues in both of these arenas--more high value content and advanced technology to store, search, and deliver that content.

Now these commercial search services also face the dual challenges of helping client organizations identify a manageable amount of content pertinent to their business to feed into enterprise work flow processes, while making the search interface even easier to use for a client base comprised of knowledge workers cutting across all industries and all functional areas. The extent to which the complexity of a myriad of information acquisition and integration tasks is masked from the ultimate consumer of the information will determine how much of the publisher's or aggregator's content actually surfaces at the desktop of the user and is evident in his/her work products.

A recent Deloitte Consulting study, "Enterprise Content Management: Taming Content Chaos," claims that "the average corporate database carries 100 terabytes, the same amount of space required to archive all the pages posted to the World Wide Web between 1996-2001." The same study also notes: "Smart organizations have realized that success rests not on getting content into a database, but on getting the right content out--to the people who need it, when and how they need it." (1)

Understanding Organizational Information Needs

What is the principal cause of failure to achieve the expected return on investment (ROI) for information services? It is the lack of focus on needs of users in the initial selection and deployment of resources or services.

Content buyers may understand information needs of certain functional groups, but it is increasingly difficult to have a handle on the needs of all potential consumers of premium content in an organization since their needs may vary drastically. In order for users to perceive content as strategically valuable, buyers must be disciplined about probing for specific needs before acquiring and launching external content; they must be equally as disciplined when checking utilization rates and user satisfaction when it is time to renew subscriber agreements.

At the same time, content buyers should be active participants on a team or teams responsible for the enterprise content strategy. Why is content being amassed? What are the costs involved? How will it be used? Who will use it? How will it be maintained? Is the infrastructure scalable?

The enterprise content management strategy should define content requirements for employees, business partners and public Web sites. At one time, principal content buyers were information professionals; now, content acquisition is a critical business strategy and necessarily involves many departments. This team must develop a rigorous methodology for evaluating content quality, vendors and technology solutions so that the tools and resources selected actually fulfill the promise of enabling distinct user groups to access and use content they need. …

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