Market Trends

We recently wrote about the importance of leveraging the data in your content in our IT Strategist’s Guide to Transforming ECM. What we’re talking about specifically is making strategic use of your unstructured content and making it work harder for you by enriching it with metadata to control, organize and track it – especially as it moves through your key business processes.  AI, Machine Learning and Blockchain play a key role in this practice, as these technologies can uncover insights, patterns and relationships hidden in various unstructured data – which can in turn benefit the way you run your business.


Delving into the topic further, we’ll be hosting an interactive webinar discussion on October 23rd called Content Climbs the Value Chain. Featuring Craig Wentworth, Principal Analyst at MWD Advisors and our very own Harry Peek, Senior Product Manager, Alfresco, we’ll be talking about the different ways that companies can get smarter about using the data in their content. To kick the conversation off, we speak with Craig Wentworth, who gives us a preview of a few of the topics we’ll cover during our live discussion.


Julie McClure: Can you elaborate on what we mean by “enriched content?”

Craig Wentworth: We’re basically talking about metadata, but far more than the rudimentary metadata that’s already commonplace to hold about items of content – such as author details, timestamps, interest tags, and so on. When you process your content through AI and insight services that can “see into” the content and extract far more information about it, you’re able to associate that content with more useful and actionable metadata – such as summaries, translations, and sentiment analysis of text; object and person recognition in images and video; transcriptions of audio, etc.  And when you pull it all together to come up with workable data about the content you hold, it leads to easier discovery and directly drives meaningful business processes.

JM:  How have you seen companies use enriched content to accelerate their digital transformation? Any particular industries that come to mind where you’ve noticed recent success?

CW: It’s data from content that’s at the heart of driving digital transformation processes. Companies can use what they learn about their customers through content analysis. Coupled with better understanding about their own products, services, and environments to pre-empt customer behavior, content analysis can also help companies offer more tailored services as well as train their employees to have more fruitful interactions.

Unsurprisingly companies operating in an all-digital environment are in the best position to capitalize on the benefits of enriched content – online retailers, digital media, telcos, etc. However, there are also knowledge worker use cases across other sectors where benefits can be felt. In fact, traditional industries have the potential to see the greatest acceleration, as modern AI-service infused content management now provide the means for them to go from pre-digital processes to “enriched digital” in a shorter time frame.


JMWhat role does AI/Machine Learning and Blockchain play in this space and why should companies consider using these technologies?

CW: AI and machine learning are terms often used interchangeably (whereas arguably there are differences in scope and approach), but if we can agree that what we mean here is the application of machine learning and deep learning techniques to identify patterns in data, then we can use the insight gained to deliver enhanced content-based services. Additionally, we can use the data using deep learning approaches to improve operational processes, and learn about “behavior” to improve our understanding and modeling of what’s going on in a real-world scenario.

For example, AI services can enrich the metadata we hold on image, video and audio content, and streamline it at the same time, as there’s too much of it available for humans to process it themselves.  These services can also “smarten up” business processes by applying intelligence to the system that provides recommendations on the best next action to take–based on past behavior, observed across a vast numbers of interactions.

Blockchain has a number of potential use cases with content and process services which we’re seeing companies explore. On the one hand, blockchain’s smart contracts can “extend the process zone” where multiple parties are interacting in an ecosystem and processes need to extend beyond any one company’s borders. In the content sphere, blockchains provide a mechanism whereby content can be cryptographically “hashed,” and that value encoded in the chain as a “digital fingerprint” that proves authenticity (i.e. it acts as a “proof of existence”).

JM: What role does the cloud play in enriching content?

CW: Cloud platforms play a pivotal role in opening up companies’ content to the myriad services available which can provide the sort of enrichment I’ve been talking about. With your content on a modern, extensible, open cloud platform a wealth of world-class analytics, AI / machine learning, and now blockchain services become readily available. Your content applications can now exploit the continuous innovation in these spaces that the likes of Google, AWS, Microsoft, IBM, and others have to offer. New platform thinking paradigms (with the heavy lifting done for you by specialists, and an enhanced developer experience that accelerates time-to-value) make it easier and economically viable to meet your customer demands with AI and blockchain-enhanced services.

Learn more from Craig and Harry in our upcoming webinar discussion, Content Climbs the Value Chain, where you can seek further insight into these topics and have the opportunity to ask your specific questions.

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