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The critical role of enterprise content management in digital transformation

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Personalizing content

One of the hallmarks of digital transformation is the ability to personalize content, rather than presenting a default or static response regardless of the individual’s role, characteristics, or history. Whether the recipient is an employee seeking research documents or a customer looking for a sweater on a retailer’s website, the ability to personalize is an indicator that an organization is managing its content well enough to deliver what each individual needs. In addition, it indicates that the organization is invested in saving end users both time and energy.

Personalization engines use behavioral and other data relating to an individual or a group similar to that individual to select appropriate content, which might be emails, products, or ads, for use cases such as marketing or ecommerce. “Personalization software tools are more powerful and accessible now,” said Jeffrey MacIntyre, founder and principal of Bucket Studio. The company provides services and solutions for organizations that are investing in becoming more user-centered and data-informed in their digital operations. More software choices are available, meaning there are more solutions that suit a variety of scope, scale, and investment levels, said MacIntyre. “The products provide many tactics or ‘recipes’ for personalizing content. Making decisions about what and how to personalize are often the most difficult for the organizations I meet.”

Personalization engines can be used as standalone products, or their functionality can be embedded more selectively in applications such as web content management systems. Sometimes new content must be created, but even if it already exists, it must be mapped to the organization’s personalization recipes. This may relate to different audience or behavioral segments, the customer journey stage, or other attributes. One of MacIntyre’s primary roles is to help clients better organize their content. “I spend a lot of time working on messy content,” he commented. “For one thing, the content needs to be tailored to each segment before it can be delivered to the right target.”  

One rewarding aspect of making the effort to personalize content is that the return can often be seen right away. “The value is highly measurable, whether by reduction in abandonment rates, increased dwell time on the page, or positive movement in another key performance metric,” MacIntyre observed. “The important thing is to begin with a solid, thoughtful design: Strategy is all about making choices, so organizations should identify a few key areas in the customer journey where there is a clear gain to be made.”  

Chatbots support customer engagement

Another element that is frequently a part of digital transformation is the use of technology to improve customer engagement. Chatbots and virtual assistants are being used for customer service and tech support, for example. Gartner reports that 31% of CIOs have deployed conversational platforms or plan to do so shortly. Hundreds of vendors have entered the market, and this fast-growing sector is predicted by MarketsandMarkets to increase from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $9.4 billion by 2024, a rate of nearly 30% per year. The primary ?driver is that the technology offers cost-effective customer engagement, answering the simpler questions and freeing up customer service representatives to deal with more complex issues.

All of the conversational platforms must provide content for their responses, although they do so in different ways. The simpler ones use a standard library of responses that are delivered when the customer uses certain phrases, while others have developed sophisticated neural network and machine learning approaches to generate more detailed responses. Some chat software packages have templates that help developers produce chatbots tailored for specific functions such as marketing, sales, and customer support.

The content for responses is typically (although not always) stored within the chatbot application. It can be in text or audio form. Some content relevant to the conversation may also include collateral that is sent to the user in response to a question. Finally, customer data may also provide inputs into a chatbot solution to personalize the responses and other content that is delivered to the customer.

“Organizations have an opportunity to leverage their knowledge of customer preferences and needs in chat interactions,” pointed out Seth Earley, CEO of Earley Information Science. “You can think of chatbots as a channel for content retrieval or a prediction engine based on customer intent. In either case, customer signals in the form of actions, preferences, or past purchases can inform the answer. Unfortunately, most companies are not making good use of customer knowledge.”

A well-designed content management system external to the chatbot repository can allow reuse of existing enterprise content. The right methods of chunking content, along with a good taxonomy and metadata, can enable this. Otherwise, chatbot projects can quickly become large-scale information management problems. “The information supporting chatbots can result in further fragmentation of knowledge unless it is intentionally tagged, cataloged, curated, and managed,” Earley emphasized. “This strategy can prevent content from becoming one more silo in the enterprise, and remove the need for replicating content.”

Despite the connotations of “transformation” as an instantaneous phenomenon, digital transformation is not a moment in time; rather, it is a lifestyle. When mechanisms designed to adapt to changing circumstances replace ones that focus on maintaining the status quo, organizations are in a much stronger position to compete in a quickly evolving world.

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