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Engineering Content: The Discipline of Designing Future-Ready Content

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A session delivered at Spectrum 2017 at the Rochester Institute of Technology for the STC Rochester Chapter. It pulls together many years of reflection on what really works when it comes to designing content management and publishing systems - and why this has become so important amid the changes wrought by Digital Transformation.

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Engineering Content: The Discipline of Designing Future-Ready Content

  1. 1. Engineering Content The Disciple of Designing Future-Ready Content Joe Gollner | @joegollner Managing Director Gnostyx Research Inc.
  2. 2. Engineering Content: Topics @joegollner | @gnostyx 2 True Story: CMS or Die Conceptual Building Blocks The Content Lifecycle Implementing Content Solutions Information Prototyping Model Implementations True Story: Shocking Success
  3. 3. True Story: CMS or die! Customer desperate for a CMS Could not imagine doing anything without a CMS Tried to adopt a CMS overnight Users rejected tool Focus moved to the content And to a new customer portal Company hit financial troubles Cuts were widespread Content team safe due to portal ROI on Content deemed to be high @joegollner | @gnostyx 3
  4. 4. Core concepts & terminology Conceptual Building Blocks
  5. 5. Defining Content Content is what we plan, design, create, reuse & manage so that we can deliver effective information transactions Content is potential information (it is always an asset) Information is a transaction (an action) that contains & delivers content as an information product that is published in a specific context & with a specific goal @joegollner | @gnostyx 5 From Latin Contentum “that which is contained”
  6. 6. Content is a Complex Composite Artifact @joegollner | @gnostyx 6 Content Channels Sources Expertise Goals Feedback Audiences Conceptual Composition Physical Composition Greater than the sum of its parts Content Metadata Data Media Text Rules Links
  7. 7. Defining Publishing & Documents @joegollner | @gnostyx 7 Publishing The process of transforming content assets into information products that can be effectively transacted. From “to make public”. Documents Documents are information products that are transacted as part of a business event and that therefore become evidence of what happened, why it happened, & who was responsible.
  8. 8. Situating Content in the Larger Landscape Data is the meaningful representation of experience Information is the meaningful organization of data that is communicated in a specific context & for a specific purpose Content is potential information Knowledge is the meaningful organization of information expressing an evolving understanding of a subject and establishing the justified basis for judgement and therefore the potential for effective action @joegollner | @gnostyx 8 Information Data Knowledge Content Content within the Data, Information, Knowledge Pyramid
  9. 9. A Definition of Engineering @joegollner | @gnostyx 9 Engineering: Engineering is the application of scientific principles to the design, development, support and use of systems which are themselves made up of structures and processes. Engineering: Engineering is the application of scientific principles to the design, development, support and use of systems which are themselves made up of structures and processes.
  10. 10. A Definition of Content Engineering @joegollner | @gnostyx 10 Content Engineering: The application of engineering discipline to the design, acquisition, delivery, management, and use of content and to the technologies deployed to support the full content lifecycle The Language of Content Strategy
  11. 11. Content Lifecycle: Core Content Activities @joegollner | @gnostyx 11 Content Acquisition Content Management Content Delivery Content Engagement How content is created, converted or licensed How content is selected, published & delivered How content is controlled & coordinated How content is improved by user contributions
  12. 12. Core Content Activities are deeply Interdependent @joegollner | @gnostyx 12 Content Acquisition Content Management Content Delivery Content Engagement
  13. 13. The Fifth Element: Content Strategy @joegollner | @gnostyx 13 A strategy is a plan of action directed towards achieving a long-term goal through the coordination, integration and application of the resources and capabilities available to an enterprise A Content Strategy - Is a plan of investment action - Seeks to achieve a long-term business goal with content investments - Leverages existing & newly acquired resources & capabilities - Is centered on what content is needed & why Content Acquisition Content Management Content Delivery Content Engagement Content Strategy
  14. 14. A Plan of Action calls for a Measurement Framework @joegollner | @gnostyx 14 Content Delivery Content Acquisition Content Management Content Engagement 1 10 1 1 1 10 1010
  15. 15. Describing Improvement Targets for Core Activities @joegollner | @gnostyx 15 Content Delivery Content Acquisition Content Management Content Engagement 2.4 4.2 As Is 2.8 4.0 8.3 8.77.8 To Be 1 10 1 1 1 10 1010 8.8 As Is Current Score: 45 To Be Target Score: 281 Candidate Criteria Efficiency Consistency Maintainability Usability Affordability Measurability Each project must decide what metrics will work best
  16. 16. Content Strategy: Grounded Measurable Action Plan @joegollner | @gnostyx 16 Content Delivery Content Acquisition Content Management Content Engagement 1 10 1 1 1 10 1010 Content Strategy
  17. 17. Content Evolution as a Complex Process @joegollner | @gnostyx 17 Content Acquisition Content Management Content Engagement Content Delivery Content Strategy Information Product User Task Guidance Feedback How effective users are in their tasks when using the information products will determine the feedback that will drive the content evolution process
  18. 18. Content Architecture Designing the structure, semantics, validation rules, and processes that will govern how content assets evolve within the content lifecycle. A content architecture will specify & validate design decisions based on precedents, standards & evidence. [aka Content Engineering] @joegollner | @gnostyx 18 Content Architecture Content Acquisition Content Management Content Delivery Content Engagement Content Strategy Complexity demands an Architecture
  19. 19. Content Technology Technologies that have been designed to work with content as content - Designing - Authoring - Converting - Categorizing - Transforming - Formatting - Delivering - Managing…others @joegollner | @gnostyx 19 Content Acquisition Content Management Content Delivery Content Engagement Content Strategy Content Technology Respect the Content
  20. 20. The Real Objective: Content Solutions Combine & leverage content technologies in a way that supports & facilitates the content lifecycle activities in line with a validated & evolving content architecture The Content Solution does something useful. It answers a business problem, addresses a business need. @joegollner | @gnostyx 20 Content Architecture Content Acquisition Content Management Content Delivery Content Engagement Content Strategy Content Technology Content Solutions
  21. 21. The Emergence of Content Solutions We can leverage the portable & processable nature of content to integrate the three central facets of the modern enterprise - Knowledge - Business - Technology This positions content technologies & the communication practices that they expedite to be far more strategically important @joegollner | @gnostyx 21 Knowledge Enterprise Systems Documented & Integrated Content Solutions for the Digital Enterprise
  22. 22. Content Solution Implementation Model Seven Stage Recursive Implementation Model (7D) Discover – acquire & analyze solution needs Design – define solution design & roadmap Demonstrate – engage stakeholders with prototypes Decide – declare content strategy & business case Develop – construct & validate model implementation Deliver – acquire & finalize production implementation Deploy – put into operational use & leverage capability @joegollner | @gnostyx 22
  23. 23. Recursion model scales from small to large projects @joegollner | @gnostyx 23 Design, Demonstrate & Decide will interact. An open, extensible technology platform will enable this interaction. Develop, Deliver & Deploy will interact. They are focused on constructing a robust solution implementation. Discover Demonstrate Design Decide Develop Deliver Deploy Discover
  24. 24. Key Technique: Information Prototyping Information Prototyping Facilitates the early & continuous demonstration of envisioned information services in Content Strategy  Awakens otherwise hidden allies  Builds broad support (& excitement) for an initiative  Explores business implications early instead of after-the-fact  Medium-fidelity approach places focus on the content itself Leverages extensible, low-cost capabilities  Open, standards-based, community-supported tools  Ability to make affordable & quick adjustments is key  Responsiveness engenders an accelerated learning process  The cost of change is kept intentionally low @joegollner | @gnostyx 24
  25. 25. Key Technique: Model Implementations Model Implementations Realize end-to-end content lifecycle processes in a open, transparent, cross-sectional way  An “informative” implementation / a working model  A demonstration & validation of the Content Architecture Like Information Prototypes, Model Implementations leverage affordable, open, and extensible technologies Provide a complete treatment of end-to-end processes  Openness facilitates stakeholder participation & engagement  Provides a functional benchmark for testing production deployments & performing operational troubleshooting  Enables the co-evolution of skills, solutions & business change @joegollner | @gnostyx 25
  26. 26. True Story: Shocking Success Government Information Portal Multi-jurisdictional collaboration Intended to support Farmers Information Prototype MS Excel / XML / HTML5 / JavaScript / CSS Used for iterative usability testing Model Implementation Established initial operating capability Paired with a funding request for the production deployment Financial Response: How much money do you want? @joegollner | @gnostyx 26
  27. 27. Lean Content Solutions can Succeed, Scale & Survive @joegollner | @gnostyx 27 Just Enough Technology (Lean principle of pull) The state-of-the-art in Content Solution Design Business Requirements Budget Realities Political Factors User Needs Information Prototyping Model Implementation Production Deployment Continuous Improvement Content Technologies Content Standards Best Practices Open Source Commercial Content Strategy Lean Content Solutions Content Architecture Content Assets Articulated Processes Performance Metrics
  28. 28. Questions / Comments on The Shape of Things to Come @joegollner | @gnostyx 28 Now or later Joe Gollner Managing Director Gnostyx Research Inc. jag@gnostyx.com @gnostyx @joegollner Content Philosopher Blog: www.gollner.ca

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