A basic tenet of ECM is to eliminate content redundancy. From increased storage overhead, to potential miscommunication,increased risk and exposure, the potential probelms caused by redundantly storing content are many. A common mantra of mine: “use the power of the e-doc to eliminate redundancy but provide wide spread centralized access.”
As is teh case with many things, however, there are no absolutes. I recognize that sometimes redundancy is good – especially if the content is redundant in every way but medium. This idea goes to the heart of repurposing content, a subject I have blogged about before.
I think about this often – as I have said in the past it is one area that allows for a great deal of creativity in something as “old hat” as content creation and publishing – its the fun side of ECM.
Why am I blogging about it again? Recently I was listening to a program on NPR that was discussing the burgeoning market for audio books. For those interested in knowledge management, the art of story telling, and/or content distribution, I encourage you to read and/or listen to the show. Its short and insightful (I like NPR).
The show introduces the fact that audio books have their critics, those that say they are bad because people are not reading anymore. I am not going to tackle whether or not audio books are the demise of reading and whether that is a bad thing. I want to focus on effective communication and content delivery. If the goal of a "document" is to communicate, then why care if it is a picture, a spoken word or a printed word. The focus should be on effective communication – and that comes down to the three Cs of ECM; Content Community and Context – a subject I address often.
Historically, content redundancy was rightfully associated with risk and increased overhead. But today, electronic content can morph fairly easy into many forms, and overhead is minimal. So why not have a document created for internal consumption that is repurposed, re-formatted/branded etc. for effective external consumption? Why not have content formated for one gourp of individuals, be reformatted to more affectively communicate to another group - whether for reading devices, learning styles, contextual needs, etc.? When you look at this value proposition, think in terms of effective media choices as well. Content formatted for smart phones, iPADS and Kindles, as well as print and desktops. Consider the effectiveness of video and or audio renditions of the content. I know some companies have bee experimenting with video – its cool. But don’t use alternative forms of content just because you can. Do it because it increases communication.
The NPR proghram discussed how storytelling in caves was the original “book” and that audio books bring us back to that, and enable people in a new cave – i.e., the minivan, to listen to a story. The NPR program brought to my mind the infamous incident of Orson Wells reading “The War of the Worlds" over the radio. Audio delivery of your message may be a most powerful approach to effective communication.
It is no longer an absolute truth that contnet reducnancy shoudl be eliminated, or even avoided. Redundancy can be a good thing, as discussed further in this article.
That said however, use content redundancy wisely. Be sure to police redundancy. Be sure that redundant versions are synchronized - that is where (good) ECM technology comes in.
Today, you need a publishing strategy as much as you do a document strategy if you will garner the ultimate value out of your content.