Complete Content Integration – a systematic or human issue?
In my presentation I will discuss the difficulties that can arise when working toward complete content integration in an organization. The case is based on a solution DCT developed for one of her clients. The content integration solution enabled many hundreds of content contributors – employees of the organization, contracted contributors from outside the organization and end users that can contribute information to improve the content – to contribute structured content and create information products that can automatically by tailored to a specific user. Each contribution to the content, from the initial content request to the feedback from end users, is structured, contains rich metadata and is managed in one system. The content can be aggregated and published based on end user specifications.
A mistake that many companies make when trying to achieve complete content integration, is to place too much importance on the system that should realize this integration. They try to find a system (preferably out-of-the-box) that enables their views of content integration, but forget that any system is only as good as the people who use it. We know, of course, that systems are an important factor in the realization of content integration. During the implementation process for content integration strategies, a solid investigation should be made to the requirements of the end users, followed by a thorough selection process to find the system that offers the right functionalities for their end users.
Chances are, however, that the right system for each situation either already exists or can be custom made. The human factor is more difficult to manage. We believe that content integration is not merely a systematic issue, but that it is largely dependent on the people responsible for the content. Introducing and integrating structured content in your entire organization often demands a lot changes from your employees. They have to change their way of working with content and even more important, they have to change their way of thinking about content. That is why change management is vitally important when trying to achieve complete content integration for your organization.
During my presentation I will discuss these problems in relation to our content integration proposal. In the end most of the issues were not about the system, but were caused by its users, and how their day-to-day routine was affected by it. The end users, your content contributors, are the ones responsible for the content, and if your are unable to get them on board, to accept and support the changes inherent to complete content integration, your attempt to achieve complete integration can become a real struggle.
Inge Weyers, DCT