Replaced by more efficient ways to lose data...."

What is Intelligent Content?

A decade after the arrival of the "paperless office" is your most valuable content still difficult to find and impossible to automate? Convert the "digital paper" created in Office and Enterprise Social applications into meaningful and mobile Intelligent Content.

Intelligent Content is writing that is more easily understood by computers. People have an amazing ability to process written content and immediately grasp everything from the big picture to the slightest nuances of intent. Computers are woefully bad at this, so we have to help them. Intelligent Content is the result of that effort.

This might raise the question of why we would expend effort helping computers understand what we write in the first place. Some of the biggest gains to be made from information technology in the next twenty years have to do with the processing of what is currently called unstructured data, or “data that a computer cannot easily understand.” Analysts tell us that 70-80 percent of an organization’s information exists in this form.

The “Content” in Intelligent Content refers to one of the most important forms of unstructured data—information that is authored by knowledge workers across the organization. Ironically, nearly all of the applications that capture this information—from traditional productivity tools to the new enterprise social applications save content as unstructured data. Since computers cannot easily understand this content, the result is a breakdown in executive objectives such as process automation, business intelligence, IP monetization, and automated governance.

Today, the most commonly used approach for creating Intelligent Content relies on XML technology to add a layer of computer readable codes (mark-up) that define structure and semantics—more or less a “cheat sheet” that not only makes the content understandable, but that can also include metadata and other information about how the content should be processed. XML works very well in this regard, but you may be aware that it has met with pushback from users who viewed XML editing to be too complicated and disruptive to their normal business—which it certainly was. Not everyone realizes how much this situation has changed.

It has taken about a decade for the XML content industry to understand how to enable knowledge workers (and other non-technical users) to create Intelligent Content in a word processing environment without seeing evidence of the underlying technology. Hiding the tags and other XML technical apparatus from the word processing user is not easy, but at least a dozen vendors have focused on the task and offer a variety of tools for an organization to consider. Whether your users want to work in Microsoft Word, a web browser, or even on a mobile device, there are multiple options for each environment today.

As organizations realize that the user experience is no longer an issue, they can focus on intelligent content strategies that are far more productive than simply trying to figure out how to get users to create it. The Contelligence Group helps support organizational strategy for:

  • Architectural decisions that will make Intelligent Content most accessible across the enterprise;
  • Strategic decisions to prioritize Intelligent Content initiatives that will bring the most value;
  • Marketing decisions for new opportunities to monetize the value of repurposable content.

Our wide range of practical experience with different industries and functional areas complements our focus on Enterprise Content Architecture and Strategy.