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Friday, July 13, 2007

Information Management & Content Management

4:19:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , No comments
With the term "content" we refer to what is inside, what is contained within, something. When managing content, the key question to address is not what exactly is within the container, or what the purpose or goal of the content is. No, the key question is if the container provides us with enough information about how to manage and deliver it to the receiver (a human or machine) in an efficient and secure way. Like the postal service, those who have been assigned the responsibility to manage and deliver the content to the receiver should not need to open the envelope to read what the letter says in order to fulfil their responsibilities. Instead, there must be information on the envelope that tells them how to manage it and to whom and where, how fast and in what way to deliver it. Their job is simply to manage and deliver it to the receiver in an efficient and secure way. So, there you have Content Management in a nutshell.

Information Management, on the other hand, deals with the purpose of the content and its effects on the receiver. The key question to address in Information Management is if the message is delivered in the right time to the right person (not system), if the message is interpreted and understood correctly, and if it leads to the desired actions. The message is usually communicated via digital content, but it could just as well be communicated by other means, such as by voice in a person to person conversation, as long as it satisfies an information need. Because what really matters is the end result - that the right person got the right information in the right time and that it resulted in the desired actions. Information Management tries to ensure that this is done and in an efficient and secure way by employing the capabilities of modern information technology. But in the end, it is more about human-to-human communication than technology.

Content Management is a little more straight-forward than Information Management. Simply put, the postal service has done its job if it has securely delivered your letter to the receiver you wrote on the envelope in the right time. It cannot be held responsible if the letter was sent to the wrong receiver because you wrote the wrong name or address on the envelope, if you composed the letter in a way that the receiver could not interpret or understand the message correctly, or if the receiver understood the message but just didn't react to it as you wanted him/her to.

The fields of Business Intelligence, Document Management, Records Management and so on are all about both Content Management and Information Management. Although they are taking different perspectives on communication processes based on the type or nature of the content that is to communicate the message, they share the same goal - to ensure that the intended receiver(s) gets the right information or experience in the right time. In other words, they are all about Information Management. And, they are all about Content Management since the process (content) needs to be managed if the content is to be handled and delivered in a secure and efficient way to the intended receiver.

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