Archive for ‘ecm’

November 9, 2010

Optimize Your Customer Experience First…Then Your Content!


Today, companies need to focus on the 360 degree relationship and interaction they have with customers in all forms of media. It is not enough to just ensure your content is search engine optimized or enhanced for analytics. It’s not enough that your site navigation is simple enough for the average person to find what they’re looking for, or you have a Facebook page or “like” buttons on your site. It’s not about “web experience management” or “web engagement management” that you hear some WCMS vendors talk about. It’s about the customer experience. 

It’s a Multi Channel Experience

People are looking for current and relevant information as well an interactive experience. It’s difficult to capture people’s attention today and they are looking to interact with your brand on your website, on Facebook, tv, in your store, on their mobile device, at work on their laptop or at home on their iPad. It’s critical companies look at the overall multi-channel experience customers have with their brand in a web browser, on their website, in email, in print, tv, in a social network, on their laptop, on their cell phone, iPads, as well as in person!

Customers expect websites to be dynamic, fast and incorporate rich media content. And depending on where and how the customer chooses to look for or access information about your brand, it might dictate a different experience all together.

For example, look at a retailer like Best Buy. I go to bestbuy.com on my desktop browser, I see a rich and engaging experience. I can view the weekly circular, browse products, deals and more. When I access Best Buy on my mobile device, I am automatically taken to a store locator and have the ability to search for a product or read the circular in text based format as well. The mobile vs. web experience is obvious.

iPad-like devices may not be as obvious and may incorporate different UI and navigation design because of the touch screen and “pinch” capabilities. Additionally, I might be holding my iPad vertically vs. horizontally and use the device in different ways than my mobile or desktop. I might even want to bring my iPad to Best Buy, walk through the store, have the latest circular and deals automatically fed to me, and have it tell me where in the store a particular product is located. Of course no matter what I do with any device, I will always want to share that with my friends.

Customer First, Technology Second

The point here is that content management systems are important and will always be a necessary technology no matter what the customer channel. As organizations have begun to move to this next generation of web content management technology platforms, many are doing so without a solid strategy, without optimizing the customer experience, and without an understanding of how that content fits into consumer lifestyles and purchasing decisions.

Fortunately, we’re starting to see at least one major vendor recognize this with IBM’s announcement of their Customer Experience Suite. However, as with any technology, it’s more important to put yourself in the customer’s shoes before pushing that information out through multiple channels.

You need to understand how people prefer to consume the information you’re providing them, in what context, on what device and how customers use those devices, when, and where they use them. Once you understand the process and the people, it will be much easier to focus on the technology, the channel, and the optimization of content and analytics.

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August 4, 2010

What is Knowledge Management 2.0?


The following post was also featured as a “Featured Blog” on AIIM E2.0 Community during August, 2010:

Knowledge Management seems to be making a come back.  Like E2.0 or Web 2.0, KM 2.0 seems to be more about aggregating unstructured information with structured data (perhaps in a community, portal, team space, etc…).

Perhaps the explosion of applications like SharePoint have once again made organizations think about how to manage knowledge more effectively and invest time and money into related projects.   While there is a promise that platforms like SharePoint will “do it all”, organizations have to move beyond simple document sharing and leverage these all-inclusive technology platforms as a collaboration system before it can be considered a system of knowledge.  Users need to make the application part of their day-to-day as much as they live in their email inbox.  And administrators and managers of Knowledge/Information Management systems must ensure they provide the right balance of governance, tweaking/development, care/feeding, and obtain the right consulting guidance to optimize the ROI and ensure users view the technology as a productivity tool that enables them to get their jobs done better, faster, and cheaper…..  Then complete eco-systems (e.g. from IBM, Oracle, or Microsoft) can work very very well for communications, collaboration, community, and knowledge in large organization (both inside and outside the firewall).  However, for traditional ECM/RM or larger knowledge management efforts like digital libraries or e-Commerce driven websites, these all-in-one platforms just may not be the best fit (esp. in larger organizations).

The challenges most organizations face with Knowledge Management are the cost of ownership, too many repositories, different taxonomies, and too many places to search.  What we see today is really not any different than back in the 80s/early 90s with companies having 3,4, or 5 different email systems….and they realized they needed to standardize on 1 email system (novell, exchange, or notes generally).

While it seems most organizations finally have a solid handle on email systems some 10-15 years later, they need to now focus on information & knowledge management.  These systems are not well governed and users inside the organization expect a Google-like experience in spite of all these challenges.  Organizations have simply created an “information mess” in a rush to the web over the last decade.   As a result, collaboration remains difficult and KM becomes even more challenging.  No doubt KM 2.0 initiatives will fail today just like in KM 1.0 unless these same organizations think more holistically in their approach.

There is a tremendous economic benefit attempting to cleanup and consolidate different ECM systems into a single vendor platform (for the 80%) with a consistent and enterprise information architecture that organizes collaboration, information, and knowledge.  While I don’t think 1 system will do everything required by the business, 80% is pretty good … while the remaining 20% might require a more unique/tailored technology solution (be it open source or a more pricey ECM solution).