Content Delivery—The Real Objective of ECM

The preoccupation with tools and technologies of Enterprise Content Management is quite likely to make organizations forget about the ultimate objective of content management—delivering information to users in a manner that helps or triggers action.

Meeting the actionable delivery of content involves two key elements. Firstly, relevant content must be FINDABLE. Secondly, it must be delivered in a FORMAT that highlights the significance of the information.

Findability of Content

Users find the content they need with the search facility that comes with an Enterprise Content Management system. However, findability is not just a matter of searching for words in the query.

The enterprise content repository will be a huge one that contains varied types of content such as text documents created using different standards, graphic objects like drawings and photographs, and audio/video material. Different items of content are also likely to be related to each other in different contexts.

In response to queries, relevant content is displayed either as a list or as a more meaningful, informative report. To do this effectively, all relevant content must be findable not only for the terms used in the queries but also for the semantic intent of the query.

In addition to the semantic issue, there’s also the fact that users can query the repository for different purposes, using very different terms.

The above is the context in which findability becomes a serious issue.

The solution adopted is to ‘tag’ the content with all possible query terms, and also attach other kinds of metadata with each content object.

For more complex report generation, the content might have to be stored in structured databases that can indicate the relationship between different items.

Delivering the Content

Content can be pushed to the user through such channels as e-mail, or pulled by the user through queries or otherwise. Either way, if the result that the user sees is not presented properly, it might not be acted upon or even read.

In addition to the page (or rather, screen) layout, the structure of the content is also important. Instead of delivering a mass of information, it’s best delivered in a structured fashion that enables the user to select just what’s relevant, such as a particular page or sub-topic.

To do this, you have to look at the content and the ways it can be used. Does the content need to be accessible in parts, such as a particular chapter of a book? Who are likely to use this content? For what purposes might it be searched for and what kinds of presentation could help each of these purposes?

Based on the findings of the investigation, content can be configured to meet intended purposes, through such means as structuring, tagging, and meta description. The media channels in which it’s delivered can also affect its effectiveness in different contexts.

Speaking of context, even the geographical location of the user can be considered before selecting the content to be displayed. For example, ads for a product might point to the nearest stores considering the user’s geographical location.

Equally important is the intent of the content deliverer. What is the purpose for which the content is being delivered? Is it for education, brand building, sales, provision of decision-support information, expediting customer payment, or something else? The presentation has to be appropriate to this purpose.

Media channels of delivery can be paper, Web page, mobile device, e-mail, and so on.


Enterprise Content Management software has to attend to the issue of content delivery by looking at the persons who will use the content and purposes for which they will use the content. These factors (and also the location of the user) determine the structure, presentation, and media to be used for delivering the content.

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