It is time for document intelligence

Organizations are communicating with employees and customers through digital means more and more every day.  Every company, government organization, and educational institution has a website in which they inform, interact, and provide e-commerce services with customers, constituents, and students. 

Each of these websites are measured with tools like Google Analytics to gain insight into how users are using the website.  This website intelligence is business-critical information in which organizations react and optimize their website presence.  Digital documents are another way to inform, interact, and provide payment services.  So, why don’t we track the usage of digital documents in the same way that we track our website?

Today’s Environment

In today’s environment, documents are either distributed via email or from some kind of download site, whether it be a website (internal or external) or an enterprise content management system.  Once these documents are shared, the author has no business intelligence on who uses the document and how they are using them.  Not only do document authors lose data to improve the effectiveness of their documents, but business owners lose key intelligence on how to improve their businesses. 

Document Usage Tracking Solutions

New solutions are now available to track document intelligence.  Document intelligence tracks two things: the file itself and how users interact with the file. This can be applied to the file as a whole or to individual pages, giving you the most insight into how your content is being used and by whom. Document intelligence enables you to know:

  • How much time is spent viewing the document or specific page
  • Where the document was opened
  • The number of times a page is viewed
  • The pages that were most often skipped
  • Whether an offline copy was printed
  • Whether someone edited or annotated the file
  • When it was downloaded and to what device
  • And so much more

You’ll have instant access to page-by-page analytics that let you determine which pages readers find most appealing. If a page with a case study and graph is frequently viewed, shared, and bookmarked, for example, then that may spur you to optimize the content by presenting further studies or visuals.

When you’re tracking document for internal or external consumption, key capabilities in your document tracking solution should include:

  • Use of a common shareable file format, such as PDF.
  • Tracks usage anonymously for privacy reasons.
  • The usage tracking is transparent.
  • Doesn’t require the end users to purchase or download additional software.

Enhancing Documents

For authors, document intelligence through usage tracking provides a goldmine or information which helps them improve the quality of their document and how to best develop new ones.  Knowing information such as:

  • Pages that get read the most and for the longest time tells authors what their readers find most important.
  • Pages that get read the least or for the shortest time tells authors what their readers find least important.
  • If readers consume the whole document or stop reading somewhere in the middle of the document signifies that the document’s length and interest level is spot on or needs to be improved.

Improving Business Decisions

For business owners, document intelligence also provides information which helps them improve business decisions:

  • If your documents are being read in new geographies may signal you to expand your business through opening branch offices, increase sales and marketing spend, or translating your information to target these new geos.
  • An uptick in readership may signify that interest is growing and to invest to capture this upcoming new demand.
  • Provide new insight into additional products or services to expand revenue.
  • Revoke access if the document gets into the wrong hands.

Today, organizations are investing heavily in business analytics to optimize the business.  However, we are leaving out tracking a key platform that delivers information to our target market – digital documents.  Smart companies are currently looking how to further enhance their offering to customers and constituents through the important learnings of document intelligence.

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