If a document is written and no one is there to read it, does it exist?
This is how I started an article, which will appear in an upcoming edition of E-Doc Magazine. The focus of the article is a particular aspect of ECM – content delivery.
We at AIIM define ECM as “. . . the technologies used to capture, manage, store, preserve, and DELIVER content . . .” (emphasis added). Unfortunately, far too many ECMers pay little attention to the delivery aspect of ECM. ECM should not be focused only on capture, storage and retention. Retrieval and access are critical components of an ECM strategy, and, in that regard, content delivery (i.e. how content is physically retrieved and presented) is fundamentally important. Often, far too little attention is paid to delivery mechanics and effectiveness. The more fortunate ECMers may be teamed with a marketing team that will influence some aspects of content delivery (e.g. colors, layout). But we in the ECM community should take a more proactive role and understand that there is far more to content delivery.
Content delivery is the pinnacle of our profession. Leveraging myriad forms of content in myriad formats and medias, we can create compelling one-on-one communication. In his book The Brand Gap, Marty Neumeir states that “The standard communication model is an antique. “ I could not agree more. ECM technologies provide an unprecedented opportunity and capability to not only create content, but deliver it in clever and compelling ways. Today content delivery is highly adaptable and flexible and in that capability lies a great ROI for ECM – see my previous blog on that subject.)
For those that think this is only for the world of web-based communication, think again. Paper has great appeal to many from a legacy/comfort perspective. It is also highly portable, and can, in some cases, rise above the noise of the other forms of media. (Those who want to learn more about effective use of paper-based print should visit the EDSF resource center).
The integration of e-based content with print-on-demand (POD) can make production and distribution of paper documents (e.g. brochures, training manuals, reference guides) that are customized and individually tailored to the nth degree not only possible, but practical and cost effective.
Of course, for those who are leveraging their content strictly in an on-line environment, the options and possibilities are virtually endless (see my earlier blog on Digiscent technology). In this environment, to accept or play by the old rules of delivery is just lazy and ignorant.
Content delivery is a very powerful tool for the communicator. It can provide points of control over the audience. From relevancy ranking to media selection, content delivery needs to be addressed head on in every ECM implementation because it has a direct impact on the effectiveness of content, which can be directly tied to bottom line benefit.