For Enterprise Content Management, Think Components ~ Appatura

For Enterprise Content Management, Think Components

Richard Plotka


Thus far, I have talked about content in general and components of content.

So what?

“Why is having content in more granular components better than storing all of my related content together? Isn’t it more work to manage lots of components rather than fewer larger pieces?”

Good questions – I’m glad you asked…

Sometimes it is easier to keep content in whole documents if you have a document or a web page that never needs to be changed. The same holds true for content that will not be reused— not in another document, contract, presentation, filing, etc… In these limited cases, there is no reason to granularize the content.

However, if your document (or a portion of it) might be recycled in another larger presentation or filing, then that content is in itself a component of a larger whole.

And if that same document has a logo on it, wouldn’t it be easier to have that logo exist, not in the document, but in only one place? If that were the case, then the document could reference back to that one place, and when the logo were to be updated, the document would not even have to be touched — future versions could automatically have that new logo. (This is a fundamental use of Digital Asset Management systems or DAMs)

Fortunately, for Enterprise Content Management (ECM) there are solutions that allow a user to “granularize” content on a component level. By “granularize,” I mean that it reduces larger, individual pieces of content (like a paragraph or page) into tiny, atomic elements, (like a sentence or a word).

Granularizing content can facilitate a much better workflow since it enables content to be re-purposed based on the context.. At one moment, the user is building a mutual fund earnings report while later that day the same user wants to repurpose the data for an entirely different report, for example a board book.

Returning to an example I gave in a previous post, imagine I am working on a sentence taken from an HR policy, which dealt with minimum wage in a state. I might write something along these lines:
“The minimum wage in the State of &State is &Wage per hour, and is paid based on a &Hours hour per week basis.”

The value of granularization is clear: 50 states, 50 minimum wages, 50 workweek hour requirements— One sentence.

Now you are about to say, “But wait — there are more than 50 minimum wages. Furthermore, we have territories in the US with which we need to take into consideration.”

Exactly! By granularizing my content, I am able to manage just one sentence structure for all of my minimum wage policies. I can make the policy as specific or general as I like. But when I make the change it will be reflected everywhere.

To continue with my example, let’s say it is no longer politically correct to use the term “minimum wage.” The new phrase is now “base wage.” Consequently, I need to change all occurrences of the word “minimum” in “minimum wage” to “base” in “base wage.”

Usually, this would be a nightmare — but with CCM (Component Content Management) it is a trivial event. We simply change the word “minimum” to “base” in my one statement, and within seconds all future versions of this component in all of the relevant media would be immediately updated.

By changing the text in my sentence or the values of my variables, I will now have changed every consumer’s view of this information. So by changing the California minimum wage value, all of my future HR documents, web pages, company apps, and other content will automatically reflect the change—an update propagated throughout the organization in seconds! Appatura’s enterprise content management platform, Docubuilder, provides this very service by using tags and modules to generate intelligent content.

So, to answer your question — if you look at your content – really look and think about its usage and purpose, you will see that much of the content created for, say, compliance and risk management, marketing, legal, and contracts consists of many small pieces. If you think about all your content as being consolidated on a content hub, Appatura’s document management software creates a document automation process that enables pieces of information to be granularized and repurposed.

If I can manage the pieces in an efficient way, with full provenance and audit, I can then manage many more outputs with greater accuracy and speed, while simultaneously reducing effort and risk.

There’s a saying that “content is king, ” but when when it comes to content management systems, “context is king.” You want to make sure your granularized components and variables will be clear to the reader (hence context). If I write “7.50” without any context, you can interpret this figure in any number of ways. Maybe I mean $7.50 or maybe I mean 7 hours and 30 minutes. Without context, you are in the dark. So, adding “Tags” to these granular components helps give semantic meaning to each element by adding context. I will be covering context more in-depth in a future blog.

Let’s have a conversation about how you can use our technology to transform your content.