Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fragmented Content

I think one of the major challenges facing businesses is the enormity of information that is available out there. Which is why Search is such big business in the first place. After all, why else would someone need a Google Desktop to search their own desktop when they ought to know where they saved what, except that its getting so difficult to keep track of content.

What is making this issue trickier is that within an organization, there is no single "source of truth". I am yet to come across an organization where there is one repository where all artefacts are stored, so a user could search through all of them in a single search. Whether it be distributed LN DBs, or Team Rooms, or whether it be on the web, even.

The major reason put forth for this is Confidentiality. While thats a very noble thought, more often than not, it turns out to be a red herring. I have come across "Customer Confidential" documents which contained less information than what is available on public websites. Now, this may have been Customer Confidential at some point, but then, someone forgot to tell the author that the customer released it to the world.

This becomes an even larger issue when customers cannot find information because its fragmented. There has been a lot said and written about "Unified Channels", unifying the customer experience across various channels. Still, you will find instances that you can book a hotel room over the web, but not over the phone (or, you would be told rates which are different when booked over the web, and different when booked over the phone). Now, while its understandable that the overheads are different when booking over the two channels, that logic loses track of the customer somewhere.

Another example, which I find even harder to decipher is that of a newspaper, which makes sure that certain stories which are there on its print version are missing on its website! I wonder why they would do this, or hat business requirement does this meet.

This gets even trickier in today's age of social networking. Lets face it, word spreads like wildfire. And organiztions should wake up to that. One lost customer may not be only one lost customer any longer. One lost customer may be a hundred different guys on Orkut, for example. And I doubt if "engineered intervention" helps. People read through it pretty quick.

Reminds me of the Hindi song ... Ye jo Public hai, ye sab jaanti hai! (This Publice thats there, it knows everything!). And, this has never been as true as it is today, and i would think its going to get even truer tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

y simple to understand, a layman like me is able to understand the complex world of business so easily! Great effort! Keep it up!