Google Dictionary defines rationalization as “the action of making a company, process or industry more efficient.” At home, rationalization might mean organizing your garage or clearing out your kitchen cupboards. In today’s world of data, rationalization could involve removing unused content or documents and/or consolidating multiple pieces of content with similar structures or information into a fewer number of documents.
Over time, many organizations might duplicate content because, for example, they use systems that don’t support content reuse. Maybe a business asked for a change in an existing letter (Letter A) for a certain set of customers. So the document team took Letter A and made a few revisions to produce Letter B—even though 95 percent of the content in Letters A and B is the same. Over time, similar requests led to the production of Letters C, D and E, all of them slight variants of the original letter.
Or maybe a company has a standard disclaimer paragraph it includes in many documents—one that’s been copied from document to document over the years. If that standard disclaimer needs to change, the document team must then make sure that update is included in every subsequent document it produces.
With current customer communications management (CCM) tools, organizations can tap the power of reuse to avoid having to deal with such situations. But while this is great for creating new documents, it doesn’t help with existing content. The solution lies in rationalization: the process of getting content into a smaller, more efficient set so you can reduce the time and cost needed to migrate into a new CCM tool.
Rationalization the old-fashioned way
Rationalization has typically been a very manual process. Organizations would have to review each piece of content, looking for repeating content or information that looked similar. They would have to note each difference and why it existed to make sure it could be reproduced where needed. They would also look for smaller pieces of content that could be stored in a reusable content repository and referenced in communications. This would let them make a one-time change to a piece of content and ensure that change would be included in every correspondence.
In the case of one customer that OpenText™ Professional Services worked with, three people spent six months in a conference room every day, going through thousands of pieces of correspondence to look for duplicated and similar content. It was a labor-intensive, costly process. But the company saw real benefit from having fewer pieces of content to maintain going forward. It eliminated over 90,000 pieces of content—more than 70 percent of its inventory.
Today, there’s no need for such time-consuming effort. Automated comparison analysis makes it possible to detect even the slightest of variances—such as a missing comma—from one document to another. This has made rationalization more efficient, less error prone and much faster than humans can do it. Tools can ingest vast amounts of information and identify repeating patterns of content in a way that once only humans could do. These tools can also help to reduce your content inventory to make it truly efficient. Some tools can actually import rationalized content into newer CCM technologies with advanced capabilities for reusing content, ensuring that you don’t repeat the processes that previously led to inefficient content inventories.
Whether you are running an older version of OpenText CCM technology or using a competitive CCM solution, OpenText Exstream™ Rationalization can help reduce the scope, time and cost of moving to Exstream Cloud Editions (CE). And if you need help with your rationalization project, the OpenText Professional Services team is ready to help: it has years of experience with CCM technology and global qualified experts following best practices. Contact us to learn more.
Author: Dan Beeco, Professional Services Consulting