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Context is the Answer to Content Overload

Brian Cleary headshotBy Brian Cleary, bigtincan

 IDC estimates that the digital universe is doubling every two years. By 2020, the data we create and copy annually will reach 44 zettabytes (that’s 44 trillion gigabytes). While there’s a wealth of valuable content in every organization, finding specific content at the exact moment it is needed is difficult.

As workforces increasingly rely on mobile devices, organizations need a new way to tackle this content challenge. Mobile teams need access to timely, accurate, up-to-date and relevant content — on the right device, in the right format, at the right time.

In fact, content is the new corporate currency. It’s how we capture and exchange value across the enterprise. But the value of that currency is directly correlated with the content’s relevance, and if relevant content cannot be found, it might as well not exist. It’s time to change the paradigm of “content is everywhere” because what about context? Two primary issues are causing content overload — the first being the lack of content organization that prevents intelligent search.

Today, we create content but no one is organizing it. Or the content is being organized by archaic filing architectures that only make sense to the person who created it, proving no value to the person in the field. Corporate data is fragmented and lives in silos across the enterprise, with different owners, formats, access privileges and purposes.

The problem is that there is no master index of information or context to help employees locate what they need, and searching through files and folders isn’t easy for a mobile worker or anyone unfamiliar with the naming conventions and file associations. For instance, marketers might group assets by campaigns but sales reps might think in terms of product lines. It’s not surprising that sales and other field service users often save their content on a personal drive or use local copies but this introduces a number of issues from governance to the inability to collaborate.

The second issue is the over development of content because mobile workers are unable to find what they need so they’re forced to recreate or create off-message content. It’s a lose-lose situation; corporate loses control of its messaging and sales’ productivity suffers.

The answer to content overload is simple: context. The growth in volume of content and speed of publishing makes content organization and accessibility more important than ever. The value of content increases exponentially when it’s relevant to us and delivered when we need it (often in a mobile moment of need).

A field sales organization can make every customer interaction count by implementing a context-aware system that continuously organizes information and pushes relevant content directly to the right user at the right time and location. The formula for increasing the value of content for the mobile workforce consists of four components:

Aggregation. When content is saved in personal drives or folders, mobile workers cannot collaborate on, learn from or view each other’s content. Because valuable content is created by numerous sources and lives in so many places (file sync and share systems, portals, network file shares, applications, blogs, etc.), trying to centralize it in a single repository such as a content management system isn’t practical. By aggregating content from various repositories and sources, employees can easily find it and avoid searching and surfing through thousands of folders and files.

Content Governance. Version control can be a serious issue for mobile workers. By wrapping a chain of custody around content, we can easily eliminate outdated content such as out-of-date pricing tables or expired promotional offers and replace it with the latest version of the content on a field reps’ mobile device.

Curation. Content must be pared down to what is most relevant and important, based on specific attributes such as industry, customer type, product, region, time frame or other variables. Content analytics can provide insights into usage patterns and identify specific content to recommend to users, based on what the experts in the field are using successfully at a particular sales stage or for a particular type of customer.

Delivery. With smartphones and tablets, we have become accustomed to a different user experience than how we interact with desktops. Searching and surfing through files and folders isn’t efficient on a small screen. Mobile workers expect that this information will be automatically delivered to their mobile devices. When they are in their mobile moment of need, they don’t have time to search for the information.

By adding context to content, we can take control of the sea of information we’re swimming in, while increasing productivity, message accuracy and sales effectiveness. The formula of aggregation, content governance, curation and delivery helps ensure that the right content reaches the right sales people at the right time to make them more effective.

Brian Cleary is currently the chief strategy officer at bigtincan, a mobile content enablement company. Cleary brings two decades of experience to his role where he is responsible for setting the technology roadmap, leading product and corporate marketing initiatives and developing strategic technology partnerships and field leadership strategies.