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Comply and Get Personal

September 20th, 2006

Better usability. Productivity gains. High availability information for customers, employees and partners. Competitive edge. Not statements you would naturally associate with compliance. But businesses have an opportunity to drive web engagement by extending the investment they have made in content management for compliance, to deliver personalisation to customers, partners and employees.

This is no marketing tactic. Ovum identified search and personalisation as key tools to help users take control of the vast amounts of information available to them. Other major social trends – including new working practices and personalisation – are having a real impact on the way organisations do business. And there is no doubt that consumer expectations are high in terms of engagement quality and information availability. But, enterprise IT is falling behind, in part due to the constraints of budgets and legacy systems.

The result is that rapid technology consumerisation is having a dramatic impact on the expectations of your customers, partners and employees. Interaction quality is vital, both for productivity and loyalty, and is often used as a benchmark for competing offerings. Gartner predicts that: “the technological empowerment of end-users within the organisation represents significant challenges to the enterprise – in particular, employees and customers will own and manage their own information.” So, personalisation comes of age.

The good news is that understanding users’ preferences and responding with the most relevant content is no longer the domain of high-end e-commerce sites and enterprise portals. The technology to build user profiles, identify relevant content and data and deliver it securely is now available.

The bonus for those businesses that have adopted ECM for compliance is that it will have helped businesses to redefine new business processes, implement new management policies, overhaul storage, agonise over structured and unstructured data, and document everything. In short, the foundations for personalisation will have been laid. Specifically:

1.Roles and permissions of staff and user groups have been confirmed; this may extend (via LDAP, for example) to your immediate supply chain business partners, members, investors and customers.

2. Records, document and content management implementation has guaranteed access to the right information, at the right time, by the right people.

3. Implementation ensures standardised treatment of future records, documents and content.

4. Unstructured data has been augmented with keywords and metadata for improved discovery and retrieval.

Getting personal

When you compare the achievements outlined above, it is clear that the first two steps to define and deliver personalised experiences to stakeholders have been done: Confirm or improve current systems for assigning and managing permissions (profiles) for employees and external stakeholders; Confirm or improve data quality. Is it accessible, searchable, permission tagged / structured?; Define your requirements in terms of: Explicit personalisation (software controlled based on user profile); Implicit personalisation (software controlled based on the user’s past click-stream); Customisation (user controlled).

The market is pushing for personalisation, but building from the user engagement experience back will help to shape the strategy. Stakeholder examples clarify the opportunity:

Employees

A multitude of roles, needs, challenges, information requirements and productivity objectives typify the employee challenge.

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