I recently had the pleasure of hosting Cruce Saunders, Founder and Principal at [A], and the author of “Content Engineering for a Multi-Channel World,” on an episode of the Nuxeo Content Journey’s podcast.

Our fast-flowing conversation covered many topics from Cruce’s lifelong quest for the “freeing of knowledge,’ to the disciple of content engineering and its impact on content management, and how some platforms get in the way of content’s free movement. Cruce is a passionate speaker with a wealth of insights into the many-faceted world of content.

Here’s a little taste of the conversation:

Alan:
What do you think about when you hear the term “content” used in a business environment?

Cruce:
I think content gets a bit of a bad rap within the enterprise, at least in many parts of an organization. Because content means “that which is contained,” sometimes that’s interpreted to mean the stuff that ends up filling our campaign pages, technical support communities, documentation repositories, and other process-oriented customer experience touchpoints. Content is really much more than this.

It’s the intangible intellectual property that powers every customer experience across an enterprise. It’s the manifestation of knowledge that comprises an entire organization’s value, and it shapes into various representations within multiple channels.

I think it should be seen as a kind of electricity, a power source, that is available to everyone. It has a fluid and malleable quality that makes it a unique asset within an enterprise landscape. But unfortunately, it’s often seen as a cost associated with delivering a finite organizational function on a limited time scale.

So, I think the reputation of the content itself is evolving and changing within the enterprise, and it’s moving from being an accidental commodity to being the foundational asset on which all customer and shareholder value is ultimately built.

Alan:
What are the benefits from a productivity perspective of taking a systematic engineering approach to working with content?

Cruce:
Knowledge never rests. Customers’ needs evolve by the minute, and organizations, products, services, and processes also constantly change. So, it never makes sense to consider a content model or a taxonomy, or a content strategy “done.” It’s natural for systems to evolve over time, and knowledge systems most especially need ongoing attention to strategy, engineering, and operations.

The content model needs to be updated along with changes in the way that content is used, displayed, searched, transformed. So, there needs to be an ongoing engineering function involved as part of a permanent functioning content services organization.

Alan:
What would you consider the one area that content professionals could focus on right now to drive more value from their content?

Cruce:
One key unifying focus is “content-as-a-service”. When building APIs, we have to have structured, available, portable content. It helps to drive Content Intelligence initiatives to have a clear objective like CaaS.

Really, all content leaders should be participating in the bigger market conversation. We formed a group called the Content Order to help bridge the discussion in different parts of the content industry. There’s so many fantastically deep practices within content, and we all need to start working together to align practices and disciplines within the space, so that enterprise publishers, and really publishers of all sizes and shapes can benefit from an organized, accessible, and holistic approach.

Currently, the content industry is thriving, and in other ways, fragmented. Roles are continuously changing and evolving, but so is the shared vocabulary. We’re still working on reaching a consensus in multiple arenas. The content industry is better off when people break down the barriers between disciplines, and knowledge sharing is essential for that. When content leaders come together, organizations and enterprises are better off.

Join us for the full conversation on The Content Journey podcast, now available on your favorite podcast service, and at nuxeo.com/podcasts