My title is a play-on-words “Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink.”, from the poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (text of 1834), BY SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE.

This article has nothing to do with the poem, but the title has been buzzing around in my head since our recent Using Intelligent Content Webinar with Jim Burns.

Content is a rapidly rising tide in our inbox and file systems. But finding what is NEEDED and using it quickly is a problem causing the average knowledge worker and salespeople to lose on average, an hour a day, searching-for and recreating documents. (IDC)

The problem of finding, using and reusing relevant content, even in a micro-business is significant. In Jim Burns’ consulting company, they keep various types of content in 18 different repositories. You heard it right, EIGHTEEN! Imagine the frustration of FINDING the RIGHT content when you NEED it most.

How many content repositories must your customer-facing and channel teams negotiate to get the answers they are looking for?

How bad is the finding content problem?

According to IDC’s 2013 Sales Productivity Benchmark Database, in answer to the question, “How long does it take for a sales-rep to find ROI related sales assets within your organization?” Only 35% of survey responders were able respond to customer inquiries in less than 4 hours.

Presumably, this is due to an inability to locate the right answers vs. an inherent delay in responding to inquiries.

The implications for companies, whose sales reps or CSR’s can quickly find and deliver the right answers to customer questions the first time is a perception of responsiveness, vs. being seen as unresponsive. In our hyper-competitive real-time world, where alternatives are a click away, responsiveness gives a clear competitive edge.

The amount of relevant content generated, that is of value for salespeople has doubled in the past 3 years, yet little has changed in the way content is developed, managed and shared in the past 30 years.

This “content problem” of finding, using and reusing relevant content is gaining recognition as a problem worth solving.

A problem worth solving

In a panel session in the recent SRII conferenceMaya Strelar-Migotti, Head of Ericsson IP and Broadband development, presented a slide showing 6 enterprise problems worth solving and “finding information” was on the list.

I asked Maya about her context after the presentation, here is what she said. “Today’s communication networks, fixed or cellular, are producing vast amounts of data, so do users of these networks.  The ICT industry will continue to innovate new services and solutions that Big Data Analytics enable. Recognizing and collecting relevant content from networks will be the base for creation of new businesses as well changing the way we operate and do business in an all connected world.”

“At the business/individual user level, easily finding relevant content, using and reusing it, is a critical and important problem that affects every company and individuals and requires new approaches and technology”, she added.

Not Another Platform Migration

More-of-the-same approaches to creating content will not solve the “content problem” for salespeople, where 70% of content created by B2B marketing is never used. (Sirius Decisions)

Really important content exists in documents, images, videos and presentations in dozens of repositories throughout every company. The answer to the content problem is not to move it to yet another platform.

If content is current and relevant, leave it where it is. Create a link to access it, give that link meaningful metadata and it becomes intelligent content. In this way existing content trapped in Portals and file stores can be made easily discoverable, with its own instructions on usage and context, so that anyone with appropriate access can use it.

Using and Reusing Unstructured Content

Many alternatives exist for document storage and there are numerous applications for storing notes and jottings.

What is needed is a single repository to find, access share and reuse structured and unstructured content and linked content that salespeople and knowledge workers can use simply by keying in a Google-style query and using the result immediately.

This is one of the reasons for my continued excitement about our WittyParrot offering. We help knowledge workers (e.g. salespeople, marketers, customer service and HR professionals) find, use and reuse relevant content at the point of use, in the moment of need.

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