Big Data and smart content: New challenges for content management applications

Content is getting bigger–way bigger–and this is scary to many technologists. At the same time, it’s also getting smarter, bringing more complexity and sophistication to applications, but also more options to information and enterprise architects. How will these changes impact content management technologies? It’s difficult to predict exactly, but there is insight to be found and used to plan for the future.

If there’s one topic that keeps cropping up when it comes to content management, it’s the continuous and seemingly unstoppable growth data and content. Accelerated growth, combined with new requirements and new sets of tools and technologies, is a direct consequence of enterprise software’s move to the web. The sheer numbers, which are covered in most enterprise content management (ECM) analyst reports, also extend to all aspects of the information technology sector, prompting developers to create a new generation of software and technology (such as NoSQL databases) or distributed computing frameworks (such as Hadoop) in an effort to cope with this scalability phenomenon.

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As a content management practitioner and information management professional, one might not be completely aware of things like “Big Data” and “NoSQL.” However, these topics are generating much attention, not only in the developer community but also at a higher level, as IT decision makers begin to question their commitment to specific technology providers.

Content growth is everywhere, in every nook and cranny of information systems. From traditional data warehouses to new consolidated Big Data stores, every piece of our IT infrastructure must be ready for this continuing scale, as it impacts the entire IT industry, including the ECM technology landscape–and cannot be ignored. 

Smarter by the second

ECM technology is evolving towards a platform-based approach, enabling organizations to make their own content-centric and content-driven applications smarter. This is another phenomenon that is regularly discussed amongst prevalent analysts, innovative vendors and users on the ground. 

The time for “out-of-the-box” CMS applications has passed; now each project has the ability to build a solution that can meet specific needs and individual requirements for a smarter approach to the way content applications work versus their predecessors. 

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One thing to note is that content and data, more often than not, come with embedded intelligence, whether through additional custom metadata, in-text information (decrypted by smarter algorithms and systems), or by leveraging attached media and binary files that leverage the ability to now build applications that utilize the power of structured or unstructured content.

This can be observed on many different levels across various domains. For instance, the arrival of what some have started to call Web 3.0, the semantic web and the related technology promotes intelligence out of raw content through advancements like semantic text analysis, automated relations and categorization, and sentiment analysis–effectively, giving meaning to data.

More traditional components of ECM, such as workflow, content lifecycle management and flexibility, demonstrate much of the same.;

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