by Erica Driver.

Something really big is happening. Many companies and even software vendors aren’t aware of it because they’re so busy trying to get their arms around content—put it in repositories, integrate the repositories, manage corporate records, get people to stop emailing documents around—that they’re way too busy to see the ground shifting underneath their feet.  This groundswell is about putting content to work—and that means, quite simply, doing something with the content that’s being managed so it creates business advantage.

For years, enterprises, vendors, integrators, consultants and others (including me) have strived mightily to get content under control. It’s still a massive problem: there’s so much content — written documents, presentations, email, web pages, spreadsheets, graphics, videos, podcasts . . . the list goes on — and it’s in every filing cabinet, drawer, hard disk and memory stick. Even today, after years of investing in document imaging, document management, collaboration, and web content management systems, most content is not locked down, versioned and searchable using metadata or tags.  But it’s time to move on — “simply” (that’s a laugh) managing content isn’t enough.

There are countless ways to put content to work—enterprise search, RSS feeds, content analytics, content centric apps, mashups, information management, business process management, and contextual content, to name a few—and it’s time to get started. Probably the easiest way to get started with putting content to work is by taking a hard look at marrying business process management with documents, or by looking at the emerging market for content solutions—we call them content-centric apps—that automate specific content-intensive processes like deal management, proposal management, and contracts.