Published on February 25, 2014
If You Can‟t Break „Em, Join „Em A New Approach to Content Silos Joe Gelb, Suite Solutions February 24, 2014
Who is this guy? Joe Gelb • Founder and President of Suite Solutions Suite Solutions Our Vision: Enable you to engage your customers by providing quick access to relevant information • Help companies get it right the first time • XML-based Authoring/Publishing Solutions • Enterprise Intelligent Dynamic Content: SuiteShare Social KB • Consulting, System Integration • Cross-Industry Expertise • High Tech, Aerospace & Defense, Discrete Manufacturing • Healthcare, Government • Blue Chip Customer Base
Main Topics • • • • • What are content silos and why are they good? What is wrong with silos? • Why are folks trying to break them? • What is the alternative? Why can‟t we just break the silos? Is there value in joining the silos? OK, so how do we join the silos?
What is a content silo? Content types that are produced by different groups in an organization that are authored, managed and accessed with their own tools, processes and content model • Technical Publications • Learning & Training • Technical Support • Marketing • Communities • Downloads • Videos • Domain KnowledgeBase • Social platforms
Content Silos Technical Publications • Tasks, feature descriptions, release notes, licensing information • Contributions from SMEs, engineers that need to be edited and reviewed • More likely to be complex, structured, modular • Traditionally use desktop publishing or help authoring tools, strong tendency now towards XML-based documentation • Often use source-control, CMS or Component CMS to manage content • Publish content to PDF, online help, mobile formats CMS Tech Docs
Content Silos Learning & Training • Instructor-lead and online e-learning • Likely to be modular • Likely to be structured, modular, interactive • Traditionally use desktop publishing, Powerpoint; tendency now towards HTML- or XML-based content • Often use file system, LMS or Component CMS to manage and publish content to PDF, e-Learning, Powerpoint • Push towards mobile, video LMS Learning & Training
Content Silos Technical Support • Support and knowledgebase articles • Likely to be relatively short and discrete • Use web-based case-management or knowledge management tools • Often integrated with CRM • Publish content to internal and external KB sites CRM Tech Support KM
Content Silos Marketing • Web content, brochures, data sheets • Output to high-fidelity print, online and mobile • Concerned with consistent branding and message, analytics • Traditionally use desktop publishing tools: InDesign, Quark • Content generally not complex or structured • Wide (and growing!) use of social media tools • Interested in collecting metrics and analytics • Resistance to XML-based tools because not user-friendly Web CMS Marketing DAM
Content Silos Who needs access to this info? • • • • • • Customers Partners Service technicians Technical support staff Marketing and sales people Prospective customers Customers Sales Partners Tech Support Service Engineers
What is wrong with silos? Overlap of information • Similar content is developed by multiple people • Examples: • Tech support uses documentation to help understand the product, but then write separate troubleshooting and how-to articles • Learning/Training users documentation as source for building courseware • Tech writers look to support to get real feedback from the field about problems encountered and how they are solved, how the products are actually used • Marketing creates data sheets with feature information drawn from tech docs • Tech writers look to engineering and PLM for source material • QA/QC look to documentation to build test plans
What is wrong with silos? Difficult to create and enforce a consistent message, branding and user experience (CXM) • Each silo has its own delivery method and format • Similar content is developed by multiple people, with potentially inconsistent messaging and branding • Difficult for users to hone in on the relevant content they need • Need to search over multiple sites, with varying navigation and search methods, different keywords and categorization • Jumping around through different search results • Ambiguity over which source is the most updated and complete [Illustration…]
What is wrong with silos? Difficult accessibility to relevant, updated information • Customers, partners, technicians and internal staff want one place to easily and quickly find the most relevant information to accomplish their immediate goal Lack of easy access to information lowers customer satisfaction • Multiple addresses for information wastes time: need to search in multiple different sites: docs, training, support, KB, communities • Customers need to call support (which also increases your support costs); in any case most customers say they prefer self-serve • Increases down-time for your customers when it takes longer to solve problems • Significantly increases chances of customer attrition and sharing negative feedback with others online Satisfied customers will buy more from you and recommend to colleagues and friends
What is the alternative? Break down or “normalize” the silos • Move to a common XML-based content model, like DITA • Migrate content groups to a single toolset which supports the different content types: CCMS, authoring tools, publishing, workflow, collaboration… OR Make sure all the tools are fully XML compliant, can implement the common model, and are linked together for reuse • Convert existing content to the common model • Develop XML-based publishing for all the various formats Sounds like a plan?
Why you can‟t just break the silos Ever try taking candy from a baby?
Why you can‟t just break the silos “Entrenched practices, processes, and tools used by different groups within the organization” • Each team has invested in tools and processes that are customized for their own type of content “Lack of tools that make information development straightforward and simple by all individuals in the product-development life cycle” • One size does not fit all… “Lack of a high-level champion who is able to is able bring the organization together to support a quality improvement that will reduce costs, improve quality, and improve traceability” • Most organizations have lots of and not enough Quotes from Dr. JoAnn Hackos http://www.infomanagementcenter.com/enewsletter/2014/201402/feature.htm
Why you can‟t just break the silos “I pity the fool who touches my silo”
Is there value in joining the silos? Easy, single point of entry for accessing content • For content consumers who want to easily find all the relevant information to quickly achieve their immediate goal • For content creators who want to locate, reuse and share content • Even if they cannot easily point-click-reuse, at least they know it exists and can reference to it! • Builds awareness and business case for migrating closer to a common XML-based framework • Encourages groups to make sure their silos are structurally rich and semantically aware, to be accessible and adaptable to others • Communicates with existing and future systems • Taxonomy is the glue that holds it all together
Joining the Silos Foundation for Living Knowledge
Contextual Relevance What they need, when they need it. Targeting your customer • Who is the reader? Audience profile, persona • Type of user: end user, technician, field service engineer, solution engineer, support professional, sales or marketing person • Security profile, proficiency level • What equipment are they operating? version? configuration? • Goals: What are they trying to accomplish? • Install? Configure? Use? Troubleshoot? Upgrade? • Make a purchasing decision? • What device are they viewing the information on? Will they have network access?
Illustrations: Technical Support Quick access to useful information: Examples • I‟m a support professional at a call center. How do I troubleshoot a Samsung Galaxy S3 smart phone that fails to synchronize on a Dell desktop running Windows7 Home Edition? • I‟m on vacation and I want to… Download maps to my Garmin Nuvi 2350 GPS using bluetooth while I‟m on my trip to Europe
Social Engagement You can‟t be everywhere at once You know about your products; how they work, how to install and configure them. You can‟t know all the potential uses and problems that may arise. Engage your customers • Facilitate contributions from the field: how-to articles, tips, videos • Improve the quality and timeliness of the information by allowing users to comment • Let users build and share their own documents
Illustration: Domain Knowledge I‟m a small business owner. I want to pull together information relevant to me: • Tax forms I need to file for my employees • How health care reform applies to me • Compliance guidelines for my industry • Changes in governmental regulations Let me: • Compile my own set of quick links • Set up an RSS feed to let me know when updates become available • Download to my smart phone so I can reference them even when I‟m offline • Automatically update the content on my smart phone when I‟m online
Illustration: Field Service I‟m a service engineer I need to: • Install a new 8300S Flow Meter via Profibus protocol • Connect to the Device Manager using a hand-held Field Communicator • The plant has no internet access. Let me: • Pull together updated information • Download to my tablet before I go onsite. While onsite, I figured out how to solve a tricky problem. I took some pictures with my smart phone and a short video to illustrate the problem and solution. When I get online, let me: • Write up a how-to article • Upload the video so my colleagues can learn from my experience.
Illustration: Health Care I am interviewing doctors to find the right one for me I want to find relevant information: • Articles that describe the medical condition • Which treatments are available • Which drugs are prescribed and the potential side effects • Typical insurance coverage Let me: • Pull together the relevant links • Generate my own ebook • Download to my smart phone so I can reference while at the doctor‟s office • Post an article sharing my experience and recommending health care options to others in my situation
Approaches to categorizing content Metadata • audience • category • keywords • product info • versions • product name, brand, component, feature, platform, series Taxonomy and classification • Build knowledge model of your domain • Apply it to your content
What‟s wrong with metadata? Metadata can categorize my content, but: • Metadata is often embedded inside the content or lives in an accessory proprietary format • Requires you to have access to change the content • There is generally a limited number of metadata elements available • Difficult to relate the content to other contexts, relationships • Even so, if the content becomes related to new contexts, it would require constant updating of each content resource • We may not know all the contexts where my content will be used • Best practice: maintain the categorizations and relationships outside the content
Taxonomy and Classification Taxonomy (subject scheme) • Defines sets of controlled values for classifying content (subjects or facets) • Organized in hierarchies • Defines relationships between subjects • Can be modular, so business units can develop, maintain and utilize parts of the taxonomy that are relevant to them • Evolves to adapt to new situations and contexts Classification • Categorizes the content using the subjects defined in the taxonomy • Classification is maintained separately from the content • SMEs and content developers can classify the content • Does not require you to “own” or change the content
Taxonomy and Classification Example • A library is a set of information, in various media, classified by subject matter • A university library with many branches: would you call that multiple silos? Would we move to break those silos by moving all the books to one location so we can find them? • Researchers and casual readers find information using a subject classification system that exists outside the actual media resources • Subject classification can be extended, using facets: • Keyword search • Author search • Title search • Automated search of large repositories
Reusing taxonomy / classification Taxonomies can be drawn from other enterprise systems and databases • Corporate ECM and taxonomies • CRM – customer relationship information • Customers > products they own • Customers > Geographical location • Users > degree of proficiency • PDM / PLM – engineering data • ERP – Parts catalogs and ordering systems
Automated Classification Ingenia
Example: Classify using Taxonomy Browser-based Authoring in SharePoint
Example: Classify using Taxonomy Salesforce
Taking the Leap to a New Paradigm Dynamic Enterprise Content • • • • • • Variety of content: documentation, training, videos, how-to articles, safety information, data sheets, marketing material, domain knowledge Context filtering: quick, goal-oriented access to contextually relevant content Personalized docs: allow readers to assemble content on demand and render to PDF, ePUB and other formats for offline mobile access Audience Participation: allow your audience to add new content, give feedback, express approval, and easily share knowledge with others Modern User Experience: smooth transition between mobile and desktop • Activity often starts on mobile, moves to desktop, returns to mobile • Internet connection not always available Analytics: understand who is accessing what content, and how often
Let‟s see it in action…
Hmmm, this looks interesting… For additional information, contact: Joe Gelb firstname.lastname@example.org U.S. Office 609-360-0650 EMEA Office +972-2-993-8054 www.suite-sol.com
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