Part 2: Tying Strategic Business Objectives to Information Management Strategies

In our previous blog, we explored how well-executed information management strategies have a direct impact on reaching business objectives. In this blog, we deep dive further into the core aspects of content – quality, type and management methods. These elements impact the overall productivity of an enterprise in an increasingly connected digital world.

Role of content in a data-driven economy

When it comes to measurement and analytics, organizations automatically think of data as just numbers. But how can they use this data to make better decisions, and how it can drive business goals? In reality, data can help deliver content, but it is the actual content that completes the picture painted by the numbers.

Together, data and content work to provide the information vital to growing and driving businesses towards success. Content maturity, and an efficient content supply chain are key to a digital-first organization and should be part of the strategic business objectives of any ambitious brand. 

Just like data values, there are various kinds of content. Depending on the type of content, an organization may manage the content differently to get the most value out of it. But first, we need to consider, what is good content?

What is good content?

There are several ways to define what makes good content, but the following are the minimum requirements:

  • Accuracy and Clarity: Information corresponds with reality and is verifiable
  • Integrity: Information meets user expectations and does not have gaps
  • Timeliness: Information is updated frequently to meet business requirements
  • Findability: Time spent on search and retrieval of information is minimized
  • Applicability: Business process (es) and/or individuals can understand and use the data
  • Governed: Information can be traced and monitored to meet business objectives
  • Uniqueness: There is only one correct version, in other words, a single source of truth

Types of content – structured, semi-structured and unstructured

It’s important to map the right type content to the correct use cases in your organization to ensure it addresses your business needs in the long run.

Structured content

Here are some typical examples of structured content:
  • Organized predictably
  • Classified by metadata
  • Often componentized
  • Stored in a centralized repository
  • Maximizes the opportunity for reuse, dynamic assembly and can be published in many different formats (web, print, etc.)
Metadata allows description provides information about other data, hence useful for machines or AI services to utilize the information. Structured content also can ensure consistent tagging, accurate search results, compliance and data governance, security and tracking.

Semi-structured content

The characteristics of semi-structured information include:

  • Unstructured information with semantic tags
  • May be defined by different attributes
  • May use tagging applied by workflows
  • Make it more searchable than generic unstructured information
A good example of semi-structured data is HTML code, which doesn't restrict the amount of information you want to collect in a document, but still enforces hierarchy via semantic elements.

Unstructured content

Unstructured content includes emails, documents, videos, photos, presentations, webpages and many other kinds of business documents. These documents have no associated data model and include many different formats.

These types of content often do not have any associated metadata, and if they do, it is often inconsistently applied. This means you cannot access the benefits that structured content provides.

To structure content or not?

So, does every organization need to structure their content?

A structured content approach makes sense when content is business critical and plays a vital role in digital transformation initiatives.

These digital transformation initiatives can be anything from dynamic content assembly for self-service portals, to intelligent knowledge hubs and product and services documentation. Because structured content enables content reuse, you can eliminate unnecessary duplication of effort and ensure consistency anywhere common content is reused.

Simply stated, structured content improves business agility, provides governance and control and enables findability to both external customers and internal employees. 

When deciding where to start, consider how you want to manage this content and how you are defining your broader content strategy.

Early adopters of this approach include manufacturing, financial services, business services and life sciences industries. These organizations are quickly recognizing the benefits of a structured approach to content in comparison to document-based management.

In our next post, we’ll take a look at how structured content is making it much easier for companies to realize the benefits of AI technology fully. In the meanwhile, why not read our IDC report looking at how you can adopt a new content approach to build your AI ready enterprise.