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Enterprise Content Services: Connecting Information and Profitability

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Enterprise Content Services: Connecting Information and Profitability


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  • Copyright 2002
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-201-73016-2
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-201-73016-6

"The biggest misconception in technology management and delivery is that the technology creates the solution. In fact, the business strategy and approach create the solution and the technology is a tool to make that strategy come to life. This book addresses and provides a framework for overcoming this roadblock and will help companies maximize the return on their investments in information and content management."
--Ron Markezich, General Manager, General Manager Finance and Administration IT, Microsoft Corporation

In many ways, content management is the Achilles heel of the IT practitioner. Organizations have spent billions on technology, but have neglected the necessary strategy for identifying, organizing, and accessing needed information. The result is not only disappointing returns on these investments, but a step backward. This step backward is "infosmog"--a haze of valuable information that cannot be used for effective action or informed decisions because it is disorganized or inaccessible. To avoid infosmog, businesses need to consider information management practices and policies as carefully as they consider their investment in technology.

Written for executives, managers, and information technology professionals, Enterprise Content Services will help you identify the most important content driving your business, improve its accuracy, and make it more usable for all of your audiences. This book will teach you how to bring together your organization's people, processes, and technologies for effective content management. In addition, you will learn about the specific tools, techniques, strategies, and approaches for the implementation of an effective content services program.

This book includes a useful guide for content managers. Focusing on vendors and products, it describes key features, strengths, and drawbacks of relevant companies, terms, and technologies. Real case studies illustrate the value of comprehensive content services and techniques for successful implementation. You will also learn practical advice on important topics such as:

  • Developing a knowledge storyboard--a step-by-step guide
  • Taking a content inventory by identifying documents, their owners, and their lifecycles
  • Creating an Enterprise content catalog with document metadata, subject language, and security
  • Measuring ROI for content services
  • Assembling and managing the content services team
  • Using portal technology for sharing and manipulating knowledge


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Table of Contents





1. Content Services and Business Performance.

Content as Asset.

The Content of Relationships.

What Is Content?

Measuring Return on Content.

Knowledge Management and Measurement: A Literature Review.

Content Services and Business Performance Measurement.

Case in Point: HMO Customer Service.


2. The Infosmog Challenge.

What Is Infosmog?

The Request for Proposal.

The Sales Presentation.

The Web-Master Bottleneck.

Technical Support.

How Not to Clear Infosmog.

The Automation Fallacy.

Intranet Recycling.

How to Clear Infosmog.

Case in Point: Content Management with Microsoft Tools.

Products of Managing Content.

Internal Efforts.

Case in Point: The BBC Digital Archiving Project.




3. Ground Rules for Managing Enterprise Content.

Rule One: Know the Business Problem, Know the Content.

Rule Two: People and Processes Drive Technology.

Rule Three: The Catalog Is the Foundation.

Rule Four: Think Big, Work Small, Deliver Quickly.


4. The Knowledge Storyboard.

The Knowledge Storyboard and Business Strategy.

What Is a Knowledge Storyboard?


Lifecycle Phases.

Developing a Knowledge Storyboard.

Elements of the Knowledge Storyboard.

Step One: Name the Lifecycle.

Step Two: Identify the Phases.

Step Three: Name the Key Processes and Activities within Each Phase.

Step Four: Identify the Process Participants.

Step Five: Identify the Information-Based Outputs of Each Process.

Step Six: Identify the Information-Based Inputs of Each Process.

Step Seven: Write up Findings as User Profiles.

Case in Point: Defining a Lifecycle at SRP.

User Profiles.

Analysis of Customer Lifecycle.


5. The Content Inventory.

Definition of Terms.

Bibliographical Entities.

Examples of Bibliographic Entities.

Inventorying Content.

Step One: Identify the Documents That Embody the Information.

Step Two: Identify the Owners and Locations of Each Document.

Step Three: Identify the Lifecycle and Access Privileges of Each Document.

Content Inventory Example.

Selecting Content and Document Management Systems.


6. The Enterprise Content Catalog.

The Importance of an Enterprise Content Catalog.

One Source, Many Views.

What Is an Enterprise Content Catalog?

Complexity Versus Cost.

Catalog Components.

Document Metadata.

Subject Language.

Security and Content Storage.


7. Building the Content Services Team.

Organizing Resources.

The Leadership Team.



The Coordination Team.

Core Group and Occasional Participants.



Individual Project Teams.

Content and Line-of-Business Experts.

Technical Experts.


8. The Space of Flows.


Key Features of Portal Technology.

Case in Point: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Goals of the LLNL Pilot Portal Project.

Pilot Development.

The Three-Step Portal Development Process.

Important Questions.


Appendix: Content Services Vendors.

Content Management.

Digital Asset Management.

Digital Rights Management.


Data Warehousing.

Content Syndication.


Works Cited and Further Readings.
About the Authors.
Index. 0201730162T03252002


From Strategy to Tactics

The Rise of Content Services

Over the last decade, business managers have lost the ability to make significant, compelling connections between information technology (IT) and business strategy. From enterprise resource planning (ERP) to customer relationship management (CRM), from business intelligence (BI) to content and document management, new technologies keep coming at us as the next new thing that will drive higher levels of productivity, profitability, and growth. In the extreme, these technologies have replaced strategy--we deploy them because we believe that our competitors are doing so and that they will gain some kind of advantage over us. And, we have spent millions in response.

But many, if not most, of these initiatives have failed to deliver their expected returns--not because of the technology but because of the failure of management. We don't take into account the necessary process changes that have to occur to ensure success. We don't change incentive plans to fit with the new processes. We don't put in place new metrics to measure and manage performance. And we don't systematically introduce the changes into our organization--training is about as good as it gets.

Let's look at a familiar example. An engineering team has just completed its final list of technical specifications for the launch of a new electrical motor that promises to revolutionize the industry. The engineers have been using their own workgroup system to collaborate on development. This system has helped them organize all of their product documents, project-tracking applications, and even informal email and notes. It is a rich repository of content that allows every aspect of the new motor to be understood.

The sales team is ready to sell. The prospects have been contacted, and a strong pipeline of potential buyers has been established. Technical customers are now starting to ask very detailed questions that only the original engineers can answer, but the engineers have moved on to other projects. Their workgroup system is still in existence, but no one else has access to it. The documents in circulation are too technical for the salespeople to interpret and too "internally focused" for prospects to make heads or tails of them. With the prospects growing skeptical about the real power of the new motor, the salespeople find themselves unable to put their minds at ease and close sales.

The technology isn't the problem here. It facilitated the collaboration of the engineering team as it developed a state-of-the-art product. The failure is a lack of direction in managing information to support a key business event. No one realized that product documentation would be a key part of the sales cycle, so no one took responsibility for translating engineering design documents into user-friendly information that could be easily handed off to the technical buyers for evaluation and approval. Additionally, no one took responsibility for moving relevant documents out of the workgroup system into the corporate intranet, where it would be more easily accessible.

The most sophisticated document management system in the world won't help here. A "really powerful search engine" is useless if the information doesn't exist. There is a predictable reason for this. Managers in the United States have a deeply held belief that technology is about automation and that automation replaces management. Technologies continue to emerge that promise the ability to automate much of the process work that is essential to success--a host of "autoclassification" tools now exist to automate the creation of topic maps and taxonomies for site navigation; other tools promise to automatically find all of the experts on all of the topics relevant to your company. In all of this, the assumption is that automation will make management easier, when in fact it demands new ways of managing to get the most out of the technology.

The broader purpose of this book is to restore management's ability to let strategy drive technology--not the other way around. To this end, we present a set of techniques, tools, and methods to help you choose technologies that will directly support the objectives of your organization. In our first book, Managing Knowledge: A Practical Web-Based Approach, we began this project by focusing on intranets and extranets, which were important emerging technologies at the time. That book captured some of the lessons learned from our four-year effort to use basic Internet technology to help a global corporation share important content in powerful new ways: simple advice on how to tie content to meaningful business cycles, how to staff to support knowledge sharing, and how to see beyond the existing corporate hierarchy in organizing around content.

This book is written in response to the maturing of content management as a technology market as well as to the evolution of intranets and corporate portals into much more sophisticated tools than they were even three years ago. This increased sophistication has made the need for better information management processes more urgent and essential to the success of all kinds of organizations. Accordingly, the central problem identified and discussed in Managing Knowledge is still at issue in this book--infosmog, which is the inability to take an effective action or make an informed decision because of the disorganization of information.

The sheer volume and importance of electronic information has made it necessary for organizations to provide better management controls around its most valuable content. Individuals must access a variety of repositories--intranets, portals, news feeds, search, collaborative tools, document repositories, and applications--to author, store, sort, personalize, categorize, cut, copy, paste, tag, send, and retrieve content. While today's employees are considerably more informed and productive, the proliferation of systems and their attendant content repositories have had mixed effects.

We use the term content services to describe a disciplined program for blending people, technology, processes, and content into a complete working solution for any organization. With content services, the onus is on the effective management of these elements to provide a service to employees, customers, partners, and any other audience. This is the essence of our practical approach, which we introduced in our first book. In this book, we help you visualize and execute an enterprise content services strategy with which you can identify the truly relevant and valuable content that drives your business and put in place the people, processes, and technologies to manage that content and combat infosmog.

The Return of (and on) Knowledge Management

Our first book addressed knowledge management (KM) in the context of intranets and extranets. This book draws on the techniques and methods of that earlier work while placing more emphasis on content as an intellectual asset that must be managed. Accordingly, we see an intimate connection between knowledge management and content management--a connection that our use of the term content services seeks to capture.

The emergence of content management is directly related to the rise, fall, and return of KM. In many respects, content management is now standing in for knowledge management, a predictable reason for which has to do with the way KM was introduced in this country. While the first important books on the topic downplayed the role of technology, the definitions of knowledge ensured that its management would finally become a technical issue. We will discuss these books at more length in a later chapter, but for the moment it is important to understand how knowledge was defined and why it would eventually be inextricably tied to the term "content."

In defining knowledge as an asset, the introductory literature sets up an opposition between "tacit" knowledge, or know how, and "explicit" knowledge, which resides in various physical forms throughout an organization. Nonaka and Takeuchi were the key proponents of this opposition. In fact, they codified it in the knowledge spiral, which posed the movement from tacit to explicit knowledge as evolutionary, with tacit being a nascent form of explicit and vice versa.

In explaining explicit knowledge, knowledge management proponents would give examples such as memos, videos, process diagrams, and documents. Eventually, the KM language would call this "content," and it would be understood as digitized information that could be managed with further deployments of technology. Explicit knowledge, therefore, would become content and thus be intimately associated with software systems for its creation, storage, and dissemination across a network.

Thomas A. Stewart, for instance, offered a definition of intellectual capital that would eventually cement the relationship between tacit knowledge, explicit knowledge, content, and technology (1997, p. 67):

Intelligence becomes an asset when some useful order is created out of free-floating brainpower--that is, when it is given coherent form (a mailing list, a database, an agenda for a meeting, a description of a process); when it is captured in a way that allows it to be described, shared, and exploited, and when it can be deployed to do something that could not be done if it remained scattered around like so many coins in a gutter. Intellectual capital is packaged useful knowledge.

While technology was mentioned only tangentially, who can read this passage and not see it all over the place? Words such as "captured," "shared," and "deployed" are all terms that are central to content management systems today. The intellectual assets Stewart described (agendas, description of a process, mailing lists) are no longer thought of as essentially paper-based documents. Rather, we think of them as electronic files with extensions like .doc and .xls.

For these reasons, knowledge management and content management were destined to be intimately and inextricably related in the United States. In our discussion about return on investment (ROI) in Chapter 1, we'll describe why this coupling has disabled any compelling discussion of ROI related to these technologies and practices. At issue now is understanding this symmetry so that we can intelligently separate the terms and talk about management of content independent of technology.

So, what is the difference between content services and knowledge management? The knowledge management literature taught us that the collective intelligence of an organization is a special class of asset that requires special management. "Content services," as we use the term in this book, describes the specific tactics for managing electronic and physical content--authoring, editing, archiving, versioning, subscribing, and the like. In other words, content services encompass the activities involved in turning tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge and managing it in its physical and electronic forms.

Knowledge management is a much broader concept. It has to do with understanding the following:

  • How knowledge (tacit and explicit) affects business performance
  • How to put knowledge to work to positively affect business performance
  • How to measure the impact of knowledge management practices on business performance

As should be clear, knowledge management is inseparable from business performance. It is not, and should not, be treated as a standalone discipline. Content services is a tactical discipline that serves the more strategic discipline of knowledge management. For this reason, you will see the term knowledge management used throughout this book. It is not intended to be interchangeable with content services; rather, it provides the broader strategic context for an effective content services program.

The Emergence of Content and Document Management
Until very recently, the creation of document-based content was informal for most organizations. With the proliferation of desktop word-processing tools, any PC user can create content. Combine this with an email system that supports file attachments and even the most casual user is a potential publisher to the enterprise. As a result, documents fly around most companies today with reckless abandon. It is so easy to attach a file and send it to any number of people that we rarely think about the best way to handle the information it contains. The result is infosmog.
We saw a typical example of infosmog in our work with a company that, like most companies, had a strong tactical need for competitive intelligence. Unfortunately, this essential information was handled via the informal email publishing process. The sales team and the technical team would gather around a conference table once a month to discuss competitors--new ones, new features from existing ones, differentiators, wins and losses, and so forth. Someone would document the notes and send them out to the participants as an attached file in an email message.
While such a system delivered sensitive information in a timely manner, that information was essentially lost to the organization as a whole. How, for instance, would a new salesperson get it? How would she even know that this group existed? How would updates circulate? Would everyone have to replace old documents with new ones? Would everyone fastidiously catalog and archive the notes in his or her own desktop folder? How would you ensure that everyone was looking at the most up-to-date version?
Because infosmog has become so prevalent in every kind of enterprise, companies have been looking to software tools and technologies to gain some control over it--to bring structured editorial processes to bear on unstructured, document-based information. These tools should include editorial workflow, version control, scheduling, check-in and check-out, and format conversion for multiple viewing devices.

What This Book Is Not About

This book is not a "knowledge management" manifesto, nor is it a complete guide to content management systems. There are many good books on these topics, which serve as excellent companions to the one you are now reading. Granted, we draw on the language of knowledge management to think through some complex issues, but this is the state of knowledge management today--it is no longer a standalone activity but has become a discipline for real organizational challenges. The challenge we are addressing is how to ensure that accurate, consistent, and authoritative content gets to those who need it in the most efficient manner possible.

With that understanding, enterprise content services is about improving the quality and effectiveness of the content circulating within your organization, which demands a practical and operational understanding of knowledge management. However, we offer not a complete knowledge management program but rather a subset of one.

This book will be essential to project managers and others who see their immediate task as the selection and deployment of content management, document management, and/or corporate portal systems.

Without a strong link to business strategy, these technologies will only be able to address issues of easy access--making everything available to everyone at anytime. (What will be accessed will probably be of suspect quality and practicality without an enterprise content services approach.) No wonder determining the ROI on these technologies has been confusing and difficult. How does one measure the benefits of wide-open accessibility?

Our concept of content services takes a corrective step forward. Now that we can make content and applications accessible using intranet and Internet technologies, we must determine what is of most value to the organization. The only way to do this is to understand the organization's objectives. What core processes are at the heart of organizations' successes? Which users are of central importance in those processes? What do those users need to be successful? How do you deliver that content to them? This book addresses these issues for the tacticians of the organization--those who must implement and execute the business strategy.

Who Should Read This Book?

This book is primarily for managers and practitioners--the tacticians in the organization who have some critical need or responsibility for better managing enterprise content:

  • You may be a line manager who is concerned that your unit's performance is suffering because information is not easily available to employees. You may be concerned as well that the information available to them is not up to date or accurate. These are the concerns of a customer service manager or a claims adjudication manager for insurance and large healthcare organizations. The information originates elsewhere in the organization, but its effectiveness depends on its accuracy and timeliness.
  • You may be responsible for a specific set of content for your organization and may be having trouble getting it out fast enough. Budget constraints are preventing you from hiring additional people to speed up the work, or regulatory requirements change so frequently that keeping up is taxing your processes.
  • You may be looking at content management tools to help streamline operations. These issues are typical of a product line manager for complex service offerings or products that require a significant amount of instruction and documentation, such as technology, financial services, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals.
  • You may be responsible for your company's intranet and/or Web site. Many different department managers may be demanding your time and attention; some may be unhappy with how they are represented. They want to be more "visible" to users but can't clearly articulate why this should be so. You may have a backlog of site updating work to do without adequate resources to manage this "Web-master bottleneck."
  • You may be a visionary who believes that the way your company manages content today needs fixing. Maybe you want to champion such an effort, but are not sure how to start. You need to know the basics--taxonomy, metadata, editorial flow, and the like. How will you convince others that there is a positive ROI to be gained in this endeavor?

The material in this book will help professionals and staff in all industries: advertising, media, finance, banking, manufacturing, retail, universities, research institutions, laboratories, libraries, nonprofits, and government. Not only will executives come to understand the challenge of effective content management and the benefits of meeting it, but knowledge workers and those charged with building powerful and productive solutions will learn how to more quickly and effectively achieve that goal. For these people, it is at once an overview, an ROI study, a design guide, a set of requirements, a blueprint, and a list of best practices. For those seeking substantive, detailed help creating the documents, reports, and templates needed in the daily exercise of a content services strategy, look for Content Services Field Manual by Globe, Laugero, and McCabe (forthcoming from Addison-Wesley, 2003).

How This Book Is Organized

This book is organized into two parts. The first part discusses the strategic side of content services and knowledge management. The force of our argument is to show you that content services can have a measurable impact on your organization as long as you deploy them in support of a business strategy. If you don't have a strategy, you will have a tough time implementing the techniques and methods described in the rest of the book. Accordingly, this part will be of most interest to executives as well as the practitioners in the organization.

Chapters 1 and 2 address content services from a strategic perspective. In those chapters, we tell you why you need to consider this topic as vital to any organization. The rest of the book takes a more tactical approach. In that respect, executives will learn what it will take from a resource perspective. If these executives take anything away from this book, however, we hope that it is the knowledge that content is an essential part of what businesses do and that managing content in relation to business strategy is possible and can yield measurable benefits to any company.

The second part addresses the how-to side of content services. In Chapter 4 we introduce the concept of the knowledge storyboard, which has proved successful for many organizations. Since we wrote our other book, Managing Knowledge, the knowledge storyboard has developed and matured, and we have added new tools--the content inventory and the enterprise content catalog--that enable a more comprehensive undertaking. The present book includes a summary of the work done at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and at the BBC--two of the most extensive attempts to catalog and archive content that we have seen.



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