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Beyond the Fat Wire

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Catching up on the day

Back to the morning's first session... the keynote panel on Content Technology Works, which are case studies representing best practices in content management

Bill Benz, J&W Seligman - "Leveraging Content Using Multiple Communications Channels" - get presentation here (PDF)
  • found that customers (for them, customers are financial analysts) preferred email notifications
  • for them, their web site was a tool to enhance engagement with customers
  • define all your customers, including internal -- identify the preferred communication channel for each -- "How do you want us to talk to you?"
  • spam is any email that annoys the recipient
  • maintain fresh, appropriate content in all communication channels
  • they did deep analysis of site search logs as a source of info on what their site visitors wanted to find. Then, they devised home page promos targeting the top searches.
  • navigation is key -- it has to be easy
  • when negotiating with a vendor, remember -- the best customer support you will get from that vendor will be the day before you sign the contract. if customer support isn't good on that day, drop the vendor
  • mid-size and small companies have all of the same content management needs as a huge, rich company ... they just need a smaller quantity of each

Mario Queiroz, Hewlett-Packard

"adaptive enterprise" is a term HP uses re: how they work w/ customers to build infrastructure

(he sort of rambled on, not saying much of consequence, but it did inspire me to think this:

The problem with the web site, and the library for that matter, is that we are not clear on what we are "selling".

To me: "What do we sell?" ... we sell 1) our services and 2) information access. Until we think of those things as products that we sell, we will not be able to communicate effectively with our library users. We have to design content and presentation to maximize the salability of our products.

Other comments from this speaker:
  • Begin creating the content for your product before the product is ready to be distributed
  • Benchmarking vs. characterizing your key competitor
  • in your project, deliver short term gains while ramping up to a critical mass that will push your project into success

David Liroff - WGBH Educational Foundation
  • By 2008, all WGBH programming will be distributed via digital files, e.g., as email attachments, etc
  • preparing for fully on-demand, digital media/entertainment
  • "Content without rights is NOT an asset"
  • for info on WBGH digitization projects see daminfo.wgbh.org
  • Digital preservation is a big thing with them .... "Have you ever tried to get data off a 10 year old floppy disk? PAPYRUS is a better storage medium than any digital format"
  • most important is the consumer's expectations for media consumption
  • "TiVO has changed my life ... I can't watch live TV anymore"
  • Video On Demand - reduces the cable TV subscriber churn rate -- gets those people who unsubscribe because of 300 channels and still nothing to watch
Key issues/trends/drivers:
  • Moore's Law
  • plummeting data storage costs
  • compression
  • digital distribution through multiple channels including IP
  • Broadband as an on demand digital distribution method
  • database management techniques
  • search tool development
  • refinement of relationship/recommender engines -- constituency development (that is, "other people who liked this also liked .... " and the development of these communities/constituencies of interests)
Required reading: "The Long Tail" in Wired -- "Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream."

He quoted someone from Intel that said that we are now in a "strategic inflection point" -- a place where fewer and fewer of the old rules apply, but where the new rules have not been written yet

Following these three talks, the moderator added that she believes that a year from now, the big thing in content management will no longer be communication mediums, but rather taxonomy, categorization, and search. (hmm... tell that to the IA's, who've been doing that for content for years now)

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