Guest Column | November 21, 2018

6 Reasons Why Content Services Needs To Be A Part Of Your Big Data Strategy

By Dave Jones, Nuxeo

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Organizations today are faced with managing a monumental amount of data that impacts nearly every aspect of their daily operations. To put this into perspective, think about your own email today and compare it with your email from five or ten years ago. The sheer volume of emails you receive in a day, and the size and variety of rich content files attached to those emails, are nowhere near comparable.

This should give you a sense of the tsunami of data and information that businesses are dealing with every day. The exponential growth of IoT devices and the diversity in the types of data being produced—from sensors and traffic light signals to CCTV cameras and social media content—are only adding on to the challenges organizations face.

The mountain of data often doesn’t have the context or value to make it meaningful, and therefore, the data sits unused in storage systems akin to digital landfills. Unfortunately, this means that organization are not getting the business value nor benefits from it for the citizens they serve. Additionally, when the data is needed, it is nearly impossible to determine where it can be found because many of the outdated legacy systems lack the functionality to properly tag information. Virtually none of these systems—legacy or new—have the ability to connect to one another, making information hard to find or use.

Organizations need to be armed with the tools to discover and derive value from their data. This can be achieved by incorporating content management into an organization’s Big Data strategy. As opposed to the traditional content management strategy known as enterprise content management (ECM), content services refers to the shift toward platforms that can support and exploit diverse content types, including digital assets. This evolution focuses less on the storage of content and more on the active use of it, creating an environment where individuals and teams both inside and outside the organization can manage, collaborate and disseminate content.

With this knowledge in mind, here are six major reasons why content services should become an integral part of your organization’s Big Data strategy.

Connecting Data To Insights

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) evolved from its predecessor, known as Document Management (DM). While DM systems could scan, store and organize documents in virtual structures, they were simplistic and unable to connect to other data systems within an organization’s infrastructure, such as CRM, ERP, or accounting platforms. This posed massive issues, as users were unable to access documents and content from those different systems and had to search each system separately to copy, paste and pull everything together. Additionally, those systems lacked the capability to natively manage new types of digital data like photos, videos, email and social media.

By connecting these systems, organization can make better use of their time and content. A modern content services platform (CSP) enables an organization to do just that. Content services platforms are providing the foundation for users to access everything in one place and take action on that information much more efficiently. Instead of having to search through each disparate document and content storage system, a modern CSP connects to existing systems to unify information into a centralized access hub to view, manage and use valuable data. This means agency employees can quickly and easily find and access the data that is relevant to them at any time—whether it be personal files about a citizen, an urban planning application, or public transportation details.

Making Efficient Use Of Data And Information

Access to the appropriate data and content is central to every decision and function within organizations, but today’s public sector employees are tasked with sifting through massive amounts of data to find the precise piece of content they need to perform their job. Organization are struggling in terms of effectively and efficiently accessing the information they need, which means time and money is being wasted at the taxpayer’s expense, when it doesn't have to be.

With a modern CSP paired with the effective use of artificial intelligence (AI), organizations employees can quickly discover, access and use the content that is essential to their task. For example, imagine a law enforcement agency that has to sift through huge volumes of surveillance footage to locate a criminal. An AI-enabled content management platform can perform classification and analysis before a human even sees the footage. When the agency official does look at the content the system can guide them to the interesting and relevant parts of the footage allowing them to easily locate, identify and take action with the criminal in a vastly more efficient manner.

Helping To Remove The Legacy Chains

While the word “legacy” may be seen to some as a positive word (like a tradition or a trust fund), this word is uttered with contempt throughout organizations IT offices and used to describe systems better left to the last century. Legacy systems tend to not deliver on specific requirements anymore—a horrible faux pas in the era of digital transformation. Unfortunately, many organizations look at IT modernization as a complicated, risky, and expensive process—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

In today's risk-adverse public sector world, CIOs and CISOs don't need to rely on complex and risky 'rip-and-replace' strategies to upgrade their legacy systems. Instead, they can adopt a content management strategy that will have minimal impact on users and the citizens they support. Modern content management platforms that expose data stored in a legacy system make the transition as smooth as possible. It also allows users to access more content than ever before, whether via the cloud or via mobile application.

Improving Security And Compliance

With the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the United States and most recently General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implementation in Europe, it’s clear that organizations realize the need to protect the rights of citizens and their digital data. Organization need to ensure they are aligning with all compliance requirements, but storing and securing citizen data is difficult when it is dispersed across vast and disconnected systems.

Through the utilization of a CSP, disparate systems are automatically connected together, providing a holistic, singular view of data in a secure manner. From here, organization can centrally manage all citizen information, keep it protected, and even share it with the citizen for validation. The ability to provide this level of transparency also ensures that the citizen information set is compliant moving forward.

Leveraging Current Technologies To Future-Proof Your Systems

Numerous organizations initiatives such as the Modernizing Organizations Technology (MGT) Act and the President's recent cybersecurity executive order emphasize the need for organization to update their technology to keep pace with the era of digital transformation. IT modernization within our federal organizations is an unceasing process, and it is no longer enough to get modern—organizations systems need a way to stay modern.

As organizations look to adopt more sophisticated technologies, agency CIOs can stay confident that their content management strategy is future-proof with an extensible architecture. This creates a connected ecosystem that can provide pluggable innovation—a content services platform allows an organization to leverage best-of-breed functionalities that exist today while enabling the future integration of technologies that will exist tomorrow.

Maximizing Your Current Investments

Instead of looking at IT modernization as a bind, organization can look toward a CSP that can operate with legacy systems already in use to get maximum value out of their investment. Once the platform has extracted every piece of information within the legacy system, it becomes a much less painful process. In addition, should the CIO choose to sunset those legacy systems, it can be done invisibly to all involved at a comfortable and affordable pace. Not only does this save money but it also removes many of the real and perceived risks associated with migrating systems in the first place.

Agency leaders should look toward a platform that enables the organization to deliver against the challenges of today, realize the value of the past, and benefit from the future is the best way to position our public sector for ongoing success.

Make Sense Of The Information Chaos

Replacing something old for something new normally generates a sense of excitement—but within the business world the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality has led to a situation where workarounds to get clunky old-fashioned systems to do something useful has become the norm. This can’t continue.

Having connected, user-friendly business systems that can deliver true benefit for staff and citizens alike in today’s digital age must be an option. IT modernization might sound far off, but it’s not. Modernizing is a strategic project with very specific, well-defined and logical steps to move away from the information chaos within organization and departments today, toward an information system nirvana that can deliver instant benefits and provide the foundation to actually do full-scale digital transformation in the near future.