Content Analytics Needs Strategic Direction To Fully Realize Potential

Aug 17, 2015

Article ImageContent analytics is fast becoming a pivotal business tool as companies work to get the most value from their data as possible. But they will only get the maximum return from their investment if they plan, plan, and plan again.

We should all be aware of the impact content analytics tools are having on the enterprise. Organizations are placing increasing importance on the value of big data in the decision making process and there are few successful enterprises out there today who don't try and make some sense of the data they hold.

With new content entering the enterprise at an ever-increasing rate and in a host of different formats, fathoming out what it actually means has become a major challenge. And that's not even factoring in the huge volumes of "dark data" -- unstructured, untagged content that has not yet been analyzed or processed -- that already resides in most enterprises.

Essential Skillset

At AIIM we recently conducted research with business executives about content analytics -- the analysis and deriving of insight from in-bound and legacy content -- and three-quarters of enterprises say there is real business insight to be gained from content analytics. Six in 10 enterprises say such tools will be crucial within five years' time, further underscoring its position as a technology that adds real value to business. Content analytics is also seen as increasingly important in addressing risks associated with incorrectly identified content. Those surveyed said auto-classification of content helps protect against security breaches, sensitive or offensive content, and exposure to compliance regulations.

But despite contact analytics' scope, 80% of survey respondents admitted they have yet to allocate a senior role to initiate and coordinate analytics applications. This lack of designated leadership and also a shortfall of analytics skills is restricting the potential and holding back the deployment of content analytics tools, according to almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents.

Enterprises in all sectors are struggling with skills and infrastructure challenges. Firstly, how do enterprises tackle the deficiency in both skills and leadership? Smart enterprises realise that the skills required are not just technical, but also the ability to use analytics to effectively respond to business needs.

As well as casting the net for the broadest pool of talent, enterprises should not forget to look in-house to help fill its skills gap. Enterprises often find that after carrying out a skill survey they have more talent on site than they thought. If they find it difficult to hire from the outside, enterprises can have a rolling approach to developing their own in-house talent. One way is to hot-house newcomers with skilled analytics staff to quickly develop proficient teams. Another approach is to create a shared content analytics mentor center within the enterprise that provides leadership, best practices, support and training.

Know Where You Are Going

A great team is only part of the equation though. With content analytics becoming important in both managing risk and making the most of opportunity, how do enterprises actually make the whole thing work for them? The simple answer is they must have strategic direction.

To succeed, enterprises must have a structure in place that manages all their data efforts, aligning business requirements with those of technology. This is an enormous task and requires unprecedented collaboration across traditional functions and business departments. Joint leadership from both business and technology stakeholders is essential to creating a coherent enterprise-wide strategy.

Defining a strategy is not easy. Enterprises will come at it from different angles, with different levels of maturity and different skill sets. But without a proper roadmap, enterprises can find themselves burdening excessive costs, whilst facing a lack of business value and a hodgepodge of tools.

Enterprises need to review their content analytics across the entire breadth of business activities and ask themselves some key questions. Where could content analytics be used to gain better business insight and understand customers, whilst gaining a competitive edge? How can it help with investigations or prevent non-compliance and fraud? Where are the gaps in the current system, if one is deployed, and how can they be filled? What is the enterprise willing to invest to put the right capabilities in place? Finally, does the enterprise have a strategic direction? I can't emphasize enough how critical the planning stage is to getting it all right. Inbound content handling, for example, can rapidly overload process staff, and reduce speed of response to customers. Deploying a digital mailroom philosophy in the strategy, utilizing automated recognition, routing, and data extraction can address this issue.

Without strategic direction that encompasses well thought out goals, strong data governance, robust information processes for data accuracy, and the right skill set in place - content analytics will not be the business asset it should be. Enterprises that address this, and integrate content analytics and data driven decision making into their core business strategy will be the ones to reap the greatest rewards. 

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)