The Truth about Content: Learning from the Past in order to Succeed in the Future


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This presentation will throw a spotlight onto the single most common,
and most serious, reason why Content Management projects fail. In a
nutshell, too many projects become so focused on the technology they
want to deploy that they forget about what matters most - the content
and the people who use it. Real-life case studies will be used to
illustrate this problem. The optimism of the audience will be rebuilt
by introducing a proven solution to this issue with this being a call
to move the focus of CM project towards Content Oriented Architectures.

The most common mistake found in content management projects is rather
surprising. The reason most CM projects falter is that the project
team, and frequently its stakeholders, become unduly enamored with
some piece of technology and assume, or hope, that one or two
applications will erase all of the challenges surrounding the
creation, management, reuse and delivery of content. When a particular
collection of applications fail to deliver on the expectations, the
usual response is to insert even more applications. With each new
application that is introduced, a number of connectors and patches are
also added so that one tool can work with the others that are already
in place. This continues until, with seeming inevitability, these
projects crumble under the weight of growing system complexity. These
projects fail, in short, because, in becoming fixated on technology,
they essentially forget about their content.

This presentation will use a number of project cases studies, some
older and some exceedingly current, to illustrate the downward path
that most CM projects follow. While this might sound ominous, this
journey will actually arrive at a hopeful conclusion. If CM projects
place content at the center of their solution designs, adopting in
effect a Content Oriented Architecture (COA), it becomes possible for
projects to use technology, even exploit it, in ways that emphasize
helping authors, publishers and content users. Under this model, the
quality and usefulness of the content assets becomes the overriding
focus and where automation is introduced it is to either further
improve the quality of the content or to reduce the cost and effort
needed to achieve the desired results. Examples of successful projects
will be used to prove that Content Oriented Architectures are not
really new and that they do deliver results that endure over time.

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The Truth about Content: Learning from the Past in order to Succeed in the Future

  1. 1. The Truth about Content Learning from the Past in order to Succeed in the Future Joe Gollner / Vice President Enterprise Solutions Stilo International
  2. 2. Mommy, where do airplanes come from? 2 1 3 Most common answer but 4 wrong!
  3. 3. The Real Content Lifecycle behind Airplanes A Library of Engineering Standards is the starting point Each step in the process Reuses & references this source documentation Introduces new content & initiates changes in preceding content
  4. 4. The Real Answer Looks More Like This 4 2 1 3 5 6 6
  5. 5. The Complex Content Interrelationships Engineering Standards Provide content controls, inputs & references for the design process Become an integral part of all subsequent content Derive their authority from their status as documents
  6. 6. Changing the Way We Think About Content An Integrated View of Content Controls Controls Sources (Inputs) Outputs References (Mechanisms) Sources Outputs Content Object Notable Considerations References include revisions Controls govern validation Outputs cover the full spectrum References
  7. 7. The Assembly before the Assembly
  8. 8. The Nature of Content Services Content Services break down into: Design Document Document Services Guidelines Services Delivery of formatted documents that facilitate business Process Data transactions Specifications Services Data Services Provide highly precise inputs to applications Part Logic Logic Services Standards Services Provide highly precise sequencing guidance to people, processes & applications
  9. 9. The Four Dimensions of Content Long TEMPORAL REPRESENTATIONAL Complex Content in the world exists over time, takes on specific Short Simple formats, is related to other content, and is Few Informal used to execute business of varying degrees of formality Many RELATIONAL TRANSACTIONAL Formal
  10. 10. Simple Documents: Email Long TEMPORAL REPRESENTATIONAL Complex Emails makes up a huge percentage of created & stored content as email is how people Short Simple communicate information quickly & in Few Informal specific contexts. Email A favourite target during legal e-Discovery… Many RELATIONAL TRANSACTIONAL Formal
  11. 11. Formal Documents: EDI Messages Long TEMPORAL REPRESENTATIONAL Complex EDI messages exhibit more structure & EDI Message significantly more Short Simple formality then emails but they are similar acts Few Informal of context-specific communication Many RELATIONAL TRANSACTIONAL Formal
  12. 12. The Most Common: Business Documents Long TEMPORAL REPRESENTATIONAL Complex These are the documents we Business create everyday. Document The memos, presentations, Short Simple spreadsheets, reports, plans, proposals… Few Informal These have more complexity & value than is usually thought. Many RELATIONAL TRANSACTIONAL Formal
  13. 13. Complex Documents: Equipment Manuals Long TEMPORAL REPRESENTATIONAL Complex Aircraft Manual Technical documentation exhibits notable depth in all four Short Simple dimensions. This explains Few Informal why we are talking about DITA & content technologies. Many RELATIONAL TRANSACTIONAL Formal
  14. 14. Implications of this Dimensional Perspective Long TEMPORAL REPRESENTATIONAL Complex Aircraft Manual Although there are differences, Business Document the four documents EDI Message examples Short Simple illustrate that all content shares these four Few Informal dimensions & in Email each example we can assess how well our tools reflect this fact Many RELATIONAL TRANSACTIONAL Formal
  15. 15. Actor Content (Owner) Models Process Collect Relate (Enrich) Actor Actor Must reflect the (Author) (Designer) three critical Process Content Process entities: (Acquire) Object (Deliver) - Objects - Processes Convert Refactor Resolve Compile - Actors Validate Render Should enable a better Content Identification understanding Object of all three Content Object entities in Content Content parallel Object Title Shortdesc Metadata A variation on Para List Table Special Link the Object Process Media Methodology Text XRef Include
  16. 16. The Context of Content Content is created by & the responsibility of people & it is subject to a set of content processes - Acquire - Enrich - Deliver Content modeling is most commonly limited by the failure to understand the participating entities fully: - Objects - Processes - Actors
  17. 17. The Composition of Content The physical & logical composition of content falls into a familiar high-level pattern
  18. 18. The True Nature of Content Content is the persistent physical form of human communication. It is highly complex because it covers everything from how we represent experience (data), through how we communicate with others (information), to how we record and evolve our understanding of the world (knowledge).
  19. 19. The Real Integration Challenge
  20. 20. Content Solutions
  21. 21. Business Applications The primary challenge in designing, building & maintaining business applications is sustaining the connection to the knowledge resources that should govern their operation
  22. 22. Knowledge Management The primary challenge that has faced KM is that many strategies have been unable to effectively engage technology to assist in the creation, management, & exploitation of knowledge
  23. 23. Content Management The primary challenge confronting the content management market is the poor business return typically provided by CMS deployments that exhibit high costs, major impacts & benefits that often do not address critical business drivers
  24. 24. The Goal: Sustainable Evolution of Performance