Marcia, The motivation and use cases for intelligent content are staggering, from tech comm, to the marketing stack. And you’re absolutely right to point out that the intrinsic nature of structured content has been around since time immemorial: since the study of language as a conveyance of meaning. The Greek philosophers got us started, but the study of semantics, linguistics, semiotics has matured over time into discrete science. Empowered by real-time digital delivery, structured content takes on new importance.
On the marketing side, the entire premise of content targeting and personalization depends on structured and enriched content.
On the tech comm side, I would refer you to Joe Gollner’s excellent presentation at the recent DITA conference for illustration. He does a good job of making a business case for reusable, structured content, in this case in the form of DITA.
And, I think there’s a broader conversation here that transcends all the compelling technical and operational reasons that content should be enriched.
The needle will move when we can demonstrate the economic return that content assets offer organizations, and the measurable growth in value that comes from efficient content reuse among multiple external and internal channels.
When we’re able to move the conversation from an operations view to a financial view, on the economic returns of content assets, then I believe we will change the direction of capital investments. Practices and tools will follow.
In any ways, I think the content cognoscenti can best move the conversation by demonstrating specific economic return of content assets, measured by the impact of content reuse.
But more specifically to your point, Marcia, it sure would help if we had an aggregated view for intelligent content use cases with ROI numbers collected into a common structure for easier analysis by sponsors and other stakeholders. However, the use cases alone will not necessarily drive change. A move towards reclassifying content as assets on organization’s balance sheets will.