Monday, June 11, 2007

A Train Of Thought



Information is the result of a successful communication process. Technically speaking, a message has been sent from a sender to a receiver who has interpreted it successfully. A communication process can also transmit experiences (compare a time table vs an artwork). It can of course transmit both information and an experience.

Content is the vehicle with which information and experiences travel in the digital world. A sender (producer) creates content to transfer the information and/or experience to the receiver (consumer). The information and/or experience is created by cognitive processes in the head of the receiver when the content is perceived and interpreted (or experienced).

Knowledge is applied information. It is created when the receiver has understood and reacted on the information.

Data are small pieces of content that need more context to transmit something of value to a knowledge worker. A small piece of content (datum) need to be put together with other pieces of content to get more context. By aggregating data and presenting them in spreadsheets or diagrams, them can communicate how a business is performing and help to make business decisions (Business Intelligence). But alone, these small pieces of content are practically useless.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is about efficiently and securely producing, managing and delivering content within an enterprise context. The purpose of the content can be to transmit information and/or experiences. If delivered to the right person in the right time in the right way, it can create the proper reactions and generate (transfer) knowledge.

Until now, ECM has primarily focused on unstructured content. However, it is reasonable to suppose that it will also extend to including production, management and delivery of structured content (data) in the future. By combining delivery of structured and unstructured content and prodividing collaboration tools to facilitate collaboration, knowledge workers will be able to make informed decisions together and increase their productivity, efficiency and innovation capacity.

The overall approach for aligning structured and unstructured content and delivering the right information (or rather content that transfers information) to the right person in the right time within an enterprise is Enterprise Information Management.