The Rise of Big Content and Big Value
Whenever I talk to customers about Information Governance, we talk about the technology and processes that help to balance the risk, cost and value in the huge volume of information we create and accumulate. Inevitably however, we end up talking more about risks and cost. We talk about costs because they are tangible and measurable. We talk about risks because of past experience, or events that happen to like-organizations. Value on the other hand is typically acknowledged as a goal, but then it often fades into the background amongst the many challenges facing organizations as they take on Information Governance.
Why is the value of our information always secondary to the risks and costs?
I think there are three prime reasons:
1. It is very difficult to quantify value – and especially put a return on investment on value
2. Due to the size and growth on unstructured content, the risks and costs are overshadowing the value conversation
3. Nobody really knows how to go about getting value out all the unstructured content we create and store due to the complexity of sources, formats and sheer volume
A New Way to Look at Unstructured Content
If there is one thing that the Snowden affair has done, it has been to raise the public consciousness of the power of Big Data. Big Data is primarily about capturing the electronic wake of our digital lives found in logs, click streams and transactions to analyze and obtain valuable information from these exceptionally large data sets.
Big Content is not the wake of our activities, but the byproduct of the knowledge economy. It is the huge volume of freeform, unstructured information that organizations are creating and storing. It is our email, documents, spreadsheets, and media being created on the desktop, on mobile devices, and increasingly, in the cloud. Like the “3V’s” of Big Data, Big Content has significant challenges that need to be addressed in order to be useful. Big Content is Unintegrated, Unstructured, and Unmanaged. In order exploit this information and gain insight from this information,
we need to solve the “3U’s” for Big Content
Announcing the OpenText Discovery Suite – Solutions for Big Content
This week at Enterprise World, our annual user conference, we announced the coming availability of the as part of our upcoming release. The Discovery Suite has been specially created to address the problems of Big Content.
Integrating the Unintegrated: Instead of getting smaller, the list of systems that host unstructured information is growing in most organizations. This, combined with a perception at the end user level that there is no cost to hoarding information, means that unstructured content is found in every nook and cranny – including fileservers, archives, email systems, ECM, ERP and increasingly in social media applications and the cloud.
The OpenText Discovery Suite eliminates these silos with a Unified Information Access Platform for enterprise sources and content. The Discovery Platform has connectors for critical Enterprise applications and it processes and indexes documents found in the enterprise. It also provides a rich library of UI components and APIs so that developers can embed search directly into line-of-business applications.
Bringing Structure to the Unstructured: Normalizing and enriching content brings structure and consistency to otherwise freeform content. In order to have the confidence to act on information, whether that be delete, migrate, or reuse content, it is necessary to understand and locate the content. Metadata that is added to unstructured information can be used for search, for reporting, for faceting, and to visualize the information.
OpenText Discovery Suite uses OpenText Content Analytics to bring structure to the unstructured. It extracts semantic information from content and applies it as structured metadata. Semantic metadata includes people, places, organizations, complex concepts, and even sentiment. This, combined with file metadata and permissions metadata,
provides a way to query and organize unstructured information in ways not possible before.
Managing the Unmanaged: Big Content, more than anything else, is unmanaged. We need to first manage the content so that we can differentiate between the valueless content and the content that is worth keeping. Information Governance and defensible disposition can be used to reduce the risk and cost of the content found to have no value. By enriching and making the content more findable, valuable content becomes more accessible, more valuable, and leads to improvements in productivity and engagement.
OpenText Discovery Suite has applications to manage specific Big Content problems that organizations struggle to solve every day.
Search and content analytics alone do no solve business problems. Business logic, roles, reporting, and much more needs to be built on top of the platform in order to support the use case and provide a clear return on investment. Some of the Information Governance use cases include auto-classification of content, collection, and early case assessment for eDiscovery, remediation, and migration to control the lifecycle of content. Some of the engagement and productivity use cases include site search, intranet, and extranet search applications.
A Roadmap for Innovation
The release of the Discovery Suite in April of 2014 is a significant milestone in the in the roadmap for search and content analytics at OpenText. The R&D group, which owes its roots to the acquisition of Nstein, started with an industry leading Content Analytics solution and built upon that to deliver the Discovery Platform, InfoFusion,
the industries only Auto-Classification solution with built-in defensibility, as well as the innovative site search application Semantic Navigation.
The innovation continues with the release of the Discovery Suite. At Enterprise World we are providing sneak peeks of two new applications that will be included in the Discovery Suite. Both these applications are great examples of the power of integration in EIM. The first is the integration of the Discovery Suite and the Experience Suite. InfoFusion will provide semantic search for the Experience Suite,
significantly differentiating the search experience. The second is an integration with the Content Suite, where we extend lifecycle control of content outside of the Content Suite. Most critically, it will allow organizations to light up the dark content that lives in Fileshares and legacy application. Based on an understanding of the content, organizations can delete content, leave it in place, or migrate the content to the Content Suite.
The Way Forward – Making Big Content Valuable
In solving the “3U’s”, the Discovery Suite encapsulates the processes required to identify value in Big Content. First, in order to derive value from Big Content, we must first determine what is not valuable. We need to find and deal with this content using defensible disposition policies. Discovery applications like Auto-Classification can proactively or reactively assess content against the organization’s policies to identify business relevant content, records and transitory content.
Once the valueless content is being managed, it is possible to focus on securing and managing the valuable content. Discovery Application can move content from unsecure locations like fileservers to OpenText ECM for ongoing retention and archiving.
Finally, the value of the content can be amplified. Enriched content provides better access, greater productivity, increased collaboration, and content reuse.
In developing a repeatable process for garnering and increasing the value of content, we actually address the other two issues. The first step in the process is separating the valueless content, which is where a huge amount of the risk and cost resides in Big Content. Doing this is going to make the IT and Legal teams happy. Lastly, by making content more accessible, more findable, it is going to be easier to see where Big Value is being realized.