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ECM moves on: managing the flow

This article appears in the issue June 2014 [Volume 23, Issue 6]
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Trends in the enterprise content management (ECM) market such as storage in the cloud, access through mobile devices and adding a social dimension are helping to drive usage. Most importantly, more effective use of content is being made in performing processes related to daily tasks. Predictions for this market by 2017 are generally in the $8 billion to $9 billion range, indicating a steady increase in market size over the next few years.

The most recent Gartner Magic Quadrant report on ECM assigned greater weight management in its evaluation criteria to workflow and imaging than it did to document management. “Information is not static; it flows like a river,” says Mark Gilbert, research VP at Gartner. “It moves through a process, and the same bit of information might have 10 different roles in a financial department. One person might use it to pay a bill, and another might use it in a contract.” The best way to think about content management, according to Gilbert, is to simply think about how it can help people do their jobs better and faster.

Pushing out content

Hologic is a developer, manufacturer and supplier of premium diagnostic products, medical imaging systems and surgical products, with an emphasis on serving the healthcare needs of women. Having grown exponentially in the last 10 years, Hologic found itself facing a major increase in the amount of information needed to run the business. Much of the information was technical, sensitive, dynamic and contained in large files.

As a temporary solution for distributing information, the Hologic IT group set up a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) server for sharing files with the field and customers, but synching the content from desktop to mobile devices was cumbersome. “We found that only about half of our account managers were using the FTP transfer,” says Brad Shafton, senior manager of user services at Hologic, “and we were not confident that the most current content was being downloaded.”

In addition, Hologic wanted information that the FTP server could not provide, such as whether the content was being used or how often it was being downloaded. “We really wanted a system that would push out the right content and provide the type of reporting we needed,” Shafton says.

Hologic discovered bigtincan through a demo presented by AT&T. Bigtincan is a software product designed to distribute relevant content to users and to monitor usage. The content is stored in enterprise repositories, and bigtincan provides access to the content through links. “As soon as we saw the demo, we knew bigtincan was a match,” says Shafton. “It could push content out to our mobile devices as new information was generated, and give us the numbers we wanted that would document usage.”

The benefits

Now that bigtincan has been deployed to the sales team, Hologic can ensure that the right content is being used, monitor who is using it and to what extent, and can take proactive steps to optimize its value. “We are aware of the materials being used by our superstar sales reps and can ask them how they are using those materials, for example,” Shafton says. “We can then provide suggestions to other sales reps.” In some cases, the sales reps might be sharing a presentation with a client, and new reps would benefit from knowing which ones were most effective.

Access is controlled via roles and at the content level. “Sharing information is very easy with bigtincan, which is a great benefit, but we need to make sure that the sharing is appropriate,” says Shafton. “There are some materials that are for in-house use only, but in other cases, such as an educational video about one of our products that a doctor might play for patients to make them more comfortable with a procedure, the materials are used more broadly.”

Bigtincan is helping Hologic manage and deliver its content more effectively. “We can be sure now that the most up-to-date material is being used, because we are pushing it out, and we are gaining a greater understanding of materials that the sales team is finding useful,” Shafton explains. “The feedback we have received from our users has been very positive.”

Relevant delivery

Bigtincan was founded six years ago to develop consumer apps for mobile devices. The founders saw opportunities in enabling mobile content, and in harnessing content intelligence to get the right information to the right people. “Bigtincan ContentIQ capability makes decisions about what content to surface at what time to the users,” says Patrick Welch, president and CEO of bigtincan.

Some studies indicate that 70 percent to 80 percent of content never gets used, according to Welch, “because people can’t find the relevant content when they need it.” Bigtincan pushes content out in curated fashion based on what content users are likely to need. “Many projects fail because there is too much content, not too little,” Welch says. “And frequently, companies do not know what is happening with documents, videos and presentations.”

When a new account manager is hired, experienced employees can share their top 10 materials to save the newcomer some time. “Relevant content may depend on different criteria,” Welch explains, “such as recency, high scores from users and so on. All content is not created equal. Our advantage is the user interface and the way in which we organize and deliver the information.”

In an unusual twist, bigtincan developed a desktop version after the mobile version. “Our customers wanted the product on the desktop, so in the last release, we produced a Windows client and took the mobile design back to the desktop,” says Welch.

The workflow piece is increasingly critical. “We are not trying to be a BPM solution,” Welch emphasizes, “but when you start with a piece of content, you are also starting with a task. We want to streamline the whole continuum, putting all the relevant information in front of the users.”

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