All commerce starts with the thought “I could make that and people will buy it”. But what allows us to marshal the resources required to turn that one thought into a viable business, or product, or service? It is the documents, the spreadsheets, the drawings (back of napkin, or advanced 3-D CAD). It is the captured ideas which convey and communicate the thought and turn it to reality. It is the content.
Extrapolate that “back of the napkin” idea to the combined thoughts of a large organization. There are literally thousands of ideas and thoughts to be captured, communicated, analyzed, and examined. Some (about 10%) of those ideas are captured and transmitted through a structured process using structured content (database records, ERP systems, MRP Process Control Systems). That leaves 90% of the organizations content in unstructured form. But make no mistake – these two forms of content are neither mutually exclusive nor independent. The unstructured content informs and provides context for much of the structured processes.
The struggle faced by organizations today is making coherent sense of all this content in all its varied forms. Some solutions involve better systems of information taxonomy, better metadata, collaboration tools, and even semantic navigation and content analytics to drive understanding into these vast content repositories. I believe the application and use should and will be the driver of which set of technologies can deliver the best results.