Which Comes First, Your Content or Your Process?

By Steve Weissman posted 04-29-2011 12:47

  

With Passover and Easter now behind us, my brain is filled with deep thoughts surrounding the humble egg: symbol of new beginnings, new life, and a longstanding question about whether it or the chicken came first.

From here, it’s a short hop and a jump (you should forgive the bunny reference) to your enterprise information and a given business process. Both really need to be optimized and synchronized to provide maximum total value to your organization. But which should you tackle first?

The answer, of course, is “yes” – meaning that they must be considered in parallel if you are to achieve any kind of meaningful improvement.

Think of it this way:

- Content is what your people need to do their jobs: without it, and good quality “it,” they can’t make good decisions, effectively serve customers, etc. But if that content can’t quickly and efficiently get to the people who need it, then its value is seriously degraded. That’s the process piece.

- Conversely, process is what your people need to ensure their work flows quickly and efficiently all the way through to completion. But if that process lacks quality information to move from one place to another, then its value as a solid transport system is seriously degraded. So that’s the connection to content.

So how do you get your arms around these conjoined endeavors? That, unfortunately, depends heavily on the particulars of your situation – not only the content and processes you have in the cross-hairs, but also the nature of your corporate culture, the departments and people driving the initiative, and other similarly individualized factors.

The one universal statement I can safely make is that identifying and addressing these dynamics are not for the faint of heart – which is why I now teach AIIM certificate classes in both content management and business process management, and work with organizations wanting maximum total value from the solutions they buy.

Whether you and I end up talking about this or not, I encourage you to keep both content and process issues in mind whichever side you start with. Otherwise you run a real risk of achieving less than satisfying results, and perhaps ending up with, um, egg on your face.



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