The following is a guest post by Noz Urbina, organizer of the upcoming Congility conference, held May 24-26 in Gatwick, UK.
We live in a multi-in, multi-out world. There are so many information pipelines running into, out and around the organisation these days that it's overwhelming companies the world over. The famous information overload is in stark contrast to an endless pressure to deliver excellent content — quickly and cost effectively.
The only scalable answer is to change not (only) the process and skill set (or sheer number) of the people working on content, but actually change the content itself.
We need content that inherently does more for us than it does today. I call content that does this magical 'more', content with 'agility'. But what does that even mean?
For many organizations, the expectations of their customers have outpaced with the information managers can provide — and in some cases, can even conceive of. The notion of 'agile content' would thus seem to encompass several aspects: development of increasingly sophisticated information in multiple media, storing it in such a way that it is accessible and relevant throughout an organization, and designing the optimal user experience when the information is needed.
In my own experience as a field consultant, the 'can even conceive of' part of this snippet rings very true. Just this month I was doing an onsite Content Strategy Audit for a high tech company. They said to me quiet succinctly and eloquently:
So — they get it. They could be delivering presentations at an CCMS or structured content conference discussing the business drivers. But they actually couldn't even envisage a solution. Several dialogues included phrases like, "Maybe a solution is just not feasible", "Maybe I'm asking for magic", or "It would amaze me to see something that could actually solve these problems".
What this tells me is that the world is far too divided into the haves and the have-nots when it comes to content with agility. Even though solutions have been around, and falling in price, for decades, understanding of them has not permeated the market nearly far enough.
In my own opinion, content has agility when it is meaningful, optimised for business and user goals, reusable, portable and accessible. To do these things it needs to be:
I'm impassioned enough about these issues to, for the fifth time, be organising an international event gathering globally recognised experts around breaking down these barriers.
Congility 2011, this May 24-26, just outside London, England, is for content professionals looking to advance their organisation's goals with better content strategy, management and process. It is the only European platform bringing together such a diversity of content experts and learning opportunities under one roof. Learn from 'The Mother of Content Management', Ann Rockley, renowned content strategist Rahel Bailie, and case studies from eBay, Nokia, AMD, IBM, AGFA and more.
As part of an arrangement with this blog, you could attend completely free, by taking advantage of this unique discount code. The first person to use the code below will be given access to the conference (but not workshops) at no cost to them besides travel and expenses. Everyone else who uses the code will be entitled to the 20% discount*:
* If you can't go even at 20% discount, you can cancel your registration without commitment or penalty.
B. Noz Urbina is a marketing and presales manager for Mekon Ltd, where he defines and enhances the customer engagement process from beginning to end. With years of experience as a content strategy and content management consultant, he has provided services to Fortune 500 organisations and small-to-medium enterprises. Since 2006, Noz has chaired the Congility events platform (formerly known as X-Pubs). You can connect with Noz through the following links:
Congility is a sponsor of I'd Rather Be Writing.
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include the following technical communication topics: Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, and certificate programs. I'm interested in information design, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.