Todd Barr, Marketing Officer

Member Article

Why IT execs should focus on content

Todd Barr, chief marketing officer of Alfresco Software explains why he thinks content should be the focus for IT executives.

Employees are now using their own personal devices to get work done and enterprises need to keep their data locked down more than the average person’s iPhone. However while we’ve been posturing about security and control, we’ve taken our eye off the ball.

IT departments need to optimise their systems and support for content delivery not devices. Security and control are usually the primary concern when provisioning devices in the enterprise, but ensuring employees can access content is, at best, a very distant second.

Content is the very output of the analysis and synthesis of knowledge workers. IT departments across the globe need to enable better, more agile content collaboration across workers, geographies and systems so that users can be productive and grow the business, while still protecting the corporate IP.

What matters is what is on these devices.

Stop Worrying And Learn to Love Content

It’s difficult for an IT department to move from a device-centric to content-centric view of the business. Information workers have created unique systems for the work styles that transcend laptops, smartphones and tablets and workers must be able to get things done on each device, depending on
the various tasks that make sense for each machine.

If enterprises can enable employees to create, share and collaborate on content in whatever manner suits them best, they’re going to shape a more efficient and agile workforce.

Measuring Up

Enterprises must start by analysing the company to find out what devices and software they use the most and understand the nature of the work and people in their organisation to prioritise investment and support them adequately.

There will be a mix of Apple, Android and Blackberry phones, as well as a very diverse mix of software from a broad sampling of vendors. Focusing on the majority, and looking for systems that can help manage content across the most-used device platforms and critical software will allow people to create, edit and share content, in a way that is appropriate to the device they’re on.

The challenge is that a lot of software vendors don’t play nice with other vendors and platforms but cloud-based offerings provide some freedom from these platform wars (although, even they present new lock-in scenarios). HTML5 and technologies like SproutCore and Sensia are a great way for IT departments to build home-grown apps that workers can access from a browser on virtually any device they own.

Businesses must do what they can now to make their content fabric platform-agnostic. Collaboration and file sharing solutions that play nice with other systems and speak open content standards, like CMIS or WebDAV, are an easy way to make sure IT politics stay the heck out of the way of workers.

Understand Your Workforce Personas

Every business and department is different, and needs to be able to support the use cases that are most critical and common. The relationship between people and the content they create and share is crucial. We’ve been focusing far too much on people and their devices. Content and people are what really matter and make business run, and win.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Alfresco .

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