Digital Transformation with Intelligent Content

Arpita Maity 16 Jul 2019 6 min read
Digital Transformation with Intelligent content
Today’s emerging businesses are born digital. Existing enterprises compete with these digital native businesses and seek ways to innovate without disrupting their established processes. In this path to competitive excellence, there are several hurdles they need to overcome. Namely personalization, localization, contextualization and digitization of information and work processes…to name a few. In the following blog, we address some common questions which are being asked by organizations on their transformation journey.

Which parts of my business need to be digitally transformed?

Digitizing business processes is imperative, but which processes holds precedence over others? Can a certain process be ignored while another given a priority? The digital transformation of an organization can be initiated from several functional areas and Business Units, such as – Business Model, Product Development, Data, Processes, Knowledge, Self-service and Organizational Culture.

It’s usually not a question of one or the other, rather a question of which aligns better with the immediate business objectives of the organization. Serving customers better impacts the top line directly, whereas addressing internal employee experience (EX) has a direct impact on the bottom line. Hence, to realize maximum impact both CX and EX need to be addressed.

The key to achieving competitive excellence in the era of continuous digital transformation is to focus on both top and bottom line improvements. Customer experience usually has been the sweet spot for organizations to digitize the customer touchpoints since the results directly translate to topline gains, but focusing on it alone isn’t enough anymore. As much as an organization needs to focus on the external customer touchpoints, addressing internal customers aka its employees is equally important for overall productivity and bottom-line gains.

The cost of getting it wrong

Consumers today are drowning in a sea of information but barely find the information that they are looking for. In organizations, 70% of the employees struggle with missing information and it costs up to $5.4 million annually in lost productivity. This is an estimation for an organization with 1000 professional workers and it is the cost of poor information discipline.

Organizations have collaboration systems and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) in place but these tools are simply not keeping up with the demands due to an enormous information explosion. How can we address this challenge? The answer lies with content – we need to make content intelligent and responsive.

The foundation for future businesses: Intelligent Content

Intelligent content has the capability to meet consumer needs better, both internal and external, since it is readable and usable by both humans and machines. Before we dive into intelligent content further, let’s define the key characteristics of intelligent content:

  • Structured
  • Stored in topic-specific components
  • Reusable
  • Format-free
  • Enriched with metadata
Intelligent content forms the basis of the information fabric of an organization that wants to digitally transform itself. A unified approach towards intelligent content across the organization has several benefits, ranging from:

  • Cost savings with content reuse 
  • Information governance with access rights and change tracking 
  • Adaptive delivery of consistent information to any digital channel and 
  • Discovering insights
Intelligent content really shines when it is centralized across the organization without the barriers of departments.

How to create intelligent content?

Intelligent content inherently describes its meaning, purpose, and relation to other content. It can be created using structured authoring tools. Structured authoring is a concept and way of working; XML is a specification that lets you implement structured authoring.

Structured authoring lets organizations define and enforce the consistent organization of information in smaller, reusable chunks (components) that can then be dynamically assembled into any deliverable. 

Traditionally a lot of companies assemble documents, whether printed or online, but the same content can be reused in, for instance, mobile apps, chatbots and other IoT applications. Due to its componentized nature, it’s also easier to translate and to reuse existing translations from translation memory, saving massive costs for global enterprises. In all these benefits lies the power of structured content.

Organizations are adopting structured authoring because it enables them to overhaul and streamline their content processes; it is the foundation of content automation. Intelligent content is created using structured authoring tools, and by enriching the information with the right metadata and classification information such as taxonomy terms.

How can an organization be truly digital to the core?

A truly digital organization is one that has digitization embedded across all the organizational processes required to transform both customer and employee-facing touch points. One common element to both CX and EX is the content or the knowledge of the organization, which is used to store, communicate, curate and serve the organizational goals. Treating content as a strategic asset is vital to successful digital transformation initiatives.

Agile processes and automation are necessary to augment the skill set of our present workforce to enable them to work together with the machines of tomorrow. In other words, human first and machine augmented is what organizations should strive for. For machines to be able to work with human knowledge, the information has to be in a machine-friendly format, or in other words it has to be intelligent content. Intelligent content creation is the first step towards turning any business into a truly digital business.

Organizations need intelligent content, in order to become truly digital. Centralized intelligent content has several benefits for organizations, namely consistency, reduced information redundancy, adaptive delivery to any channel, reduced desktop publishing costs and improved localization workflows. By itself, knowledge centralization is not enough, we need unified collaboration to make it possible to create consistent and accurate information by breaking departmental silos.

Structured authoring offers the prospect of intelligent content creation and better management of information. A fundamental shift in the mindset is required from an entire organizational perspective on how valuable information is treated, and how to manage and manipulate it for desired transformations (print, digital, embedded in smart devices etc.). A starting step to adopt such a change is to evaluate existing skillsets and identify new skills that are required, both to implement a structured workflow and to work within it. In our next blog, we will look at unified structured authoring and collaboration for enterprises to take the first step on this journey.

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?
Arpita Maity

Arpita Maity

Director Product Marketing
Arpita Maity is Director of Product Marketing at RWS. She has a bachelors in Computer science engineering and an MBA in marketing and strategy. At RWS, she focuses on Content Management Technology Portfolio. Previously, Arpita held positions in various product and strategy roles at other multinational organizations, including Engage Process, Advicent, Microsoft and Cummins Inc. She regularly contributes to content management and artificial intelligence blogs. You can reach her on LinkedIn.
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