I’ve been at Burton Group now for three and a half months, and haven’t been blaring it to the world, for a reason. I was waiting for a shoe to drop – and it finally did. Today, Burton Group announced that it had started a new practice: Collaboration and Content Strategies.
Analyst firms have covered content technologies -- e.g., document management, Web content management -- for a long time. Collaboration is also a perennial coverage area -- remember when knowledge management was all the rage? However, Burton Group is convinced that these areas need a new look -- that technologies such as XML, blogs, wikis, Web 2.0, social networking, and folksonomies are creating a world where the old ways of looking at those market categories are breaking down.
Thirty years ago, people were agog at the first machine that could create unstructured, digital content: the Wang word processor. Enterprises loved the idea that secretaries didn’t need to retype a three-page memo if they got one sentence wrong -- they just needed to fix the offending sentence and hit “Print” again. This helps explain why Wang Laboratories went from $100 million to $3 billion in annual sales in ten years.
Now, everything is digital. Today, if a company doesn’t have a Web site, it’s either clueless or a scam operation. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 19% of online American teenagers have their own blogs. Microsoft, in Office 2007, is rethinking the user interface for how people create office documents. Google OneStep, an enterprise search appliance, retrieves PO records from a company’s ERP system.
Rather than merely retrieving documents, systems now need to
supply content in a form that allows users to take instant action. In short,
content, collaboration, and context are all intertwined, which is why the new practice
covers all three areas.
So expect the CCS team – Mike Gotta, Karen Hobert, Peter O’Kelly, Craig Roth, and myself – to come out with some thought provoking but realistic reports. Content is now too crucial for enterprises to get it wrong.