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Our Director of ECM Solutions, Kristen Harris, attended the Gilbane Conference 2013 in Boston December 3 – 5. The following is a recap of her experience at the event.

Gilbane_Conference_logoI spent parts of last week at the Gilbane Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. It was my second time attending Gilbane and my first time as a speaker at the conference. If you don’t know much about the conference, the focus is on empowering decision makers to align content technology decision-making with organization strategy, product development, business process, and people.

Never surprising for Gilbane, the conference was very well planned and thought out. There was a mix of technology vendors, exhibits, product labs, and presentations from experts in content management, digital marketing, and publishing. The overall structure of the conference was balanced into complimentary, yet focused tracks:

  • Content, Marketing, and the Customer Experience
  • Content, Collaboration, and Employee Engagement
  • Re-imagining the Future: Technology and the Postdigital Experience
  • Digital Strategies for Publishing and Media
  • Product Lab / Case Study

A new and interesting track this year (and the one where my presentation fit in) was  “Re-imagining the Future: Technology and the Postdigital experience”. For many of us, the concept of something being “Postdigital” is pretty tough to imagine, since we’re so immersed in leveraging mobile-this, cloud-there, and integrated-technology-everything. I think the track had great intentions, but could’ve been better supported by attendees if it had not tried to take things past the nuts-and-bolts of how you approach content problems in today’s quickly moving digital world.

My session was a combination of presentation/panel discussion regarding mobile strategies. Our focus was “How to Build an Enterprise Mobile Strategy for Content Applications“. My portion was really targeted toward useful techniques to building an enterprise mobile strategy and working at the pace of mobile today. Sticking to my goal of giving my audience some useful techniques to use when they got back to their offices the following week, I walked them through the value of and techniques for devising a mobile strategy. I focused on the strategy itself: how to get started and how to have a really useful conversation with Information Technology experts when beginning true planning for rolling out mobile technologies in the enterprise.

Vikram Pant, Lead Associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, presented the other half of our session. Vikram provided a wealth of knowledge on the planning side of the equation, and together, our presentations provided a well-rounded story.

One of my favorite sessions of the conference was the Day 1 Keynote delivered by Meghan Walsh, Senior Director – eCommerce Platform System Management at Marriott International. Her style was light and candid, and she certainly has a wealth of experience in the web content management world. Her talk set the tone for approaching content management problems using an adaptive web design approach – a newer term to some, but something those of us in the content-centered design world have been striving to achieve for many years. At the core of it, is was her quote, “Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants!” that set the tone for much of the rest of the conference! I believe she was quoting others who have coined the phrase before, but it hit home with the audience.

In essence, don’t ever design your content for a single medium (website, phone, intranet, etc.). Drive your content decisions (modeling, managing, or technology) based on what you need to tell your audience, and strive to repurpose it in as many places as you can. This is really what great content modeling is all about, yet it’s still so difficult to achieve across an organization of silos and competing voices and priorities. Meghan’s presentation covered some of the same ground I’ve heard and lived first-hand before, yet it reinvigorated me to continue to fight the good fight. Make content king – and if you do it right, distribution becomes easy. Well, that might be optimistic. Perhaps it just becomes easier.

The most important point: don’t spend time writing, storing, and managing content if you are going to just be stuck with it in that one medium or system. Strive to model in order to repurpose content in many different ways or forms. Zia Consulting’s agile, solution-driven approach can help companies across numerous industries with the challenges of digitally driven content. Contact us to learn more.

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