Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Controlled or Valuable? That is the question

I got the following feedback on an article I'm writing for KMWorld (which arose out of my The Long Tail Of Enterprise Content Posts) and thought it was interesting enough to share the feedback and my response to it:


Ok, there is something bothering me about the word “Value” all content within an organization is valuable, that is the point of SharePoint, our connectors and search working together. Is the left axis really value or “Controlled”.

My Response:

I agree that organizations have typically “Controlled” ( the 80/20 rule I mentioned) content in the enterprise to varying degrees, the question is how what is controlled is determined. It is in answering the question of what to control and how the long tail theory applies to content in the enterprise that I’ve used the content’s value which can be determined through computation e.g. risk analysis. We are also in agreement that all content within an organization is valuable, however I believe the relative value of content differs ( i.e. some more valuable than others) hence the tail of the curve, although it tends to zero it never touches the zero value line (i.e. the x-axis).

Content to control, in my opinion, is determined by the value of that content to the enterprise e.g. if regulation requires that the content be placed under control and there is a penalty for non compliance, then the relative value of the content is higher than content not subject to the regulation. Other factors as I indicated in the article can also be used to determine the value of a piece of content and hence if it should be controlled or not.

If, as you are suggesting, you graph the decision made after the content’s value is determined i.e. what goes into the Advanced ECM systems (typically the controlled content in the enterprise) versus what does not (typically the less controlled content in SharePoint and other non Advanced ECM repositories), you will not have curve let alone a long tail. You will end up with a bar graph or pie chart of categories of controlled content which does not lend itself to analyzing The Long Tail theory and it’s applicability to enterprise content.

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