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Mobile content development: the second piece of the puzzle

Mobile content development: the second piece of the puzzle 

Shawn Cruise has been hammering away at that question for a few years now. The vice president, public sector, for Adobe argues that the way we engage with content has changed. He delivered that message again last week at Adobe’s third annual Digital Government Assembly in Ottawa (for an overview of the conference, see here).

“If we are not thinking of content as a best practice, we are missing an opportunity,” he said, suggesting that organizations need to think about “creating content from the get-go that can transcend every user experience.”

His colleague, Arun Anantharaman, Adobe’s senior VP of technology, noted that app usage is now almost on a par with TV viewing, so understanding how to make, manage, mobilize and measure the effectiveness of content is crucial.

If you have followed the debates about IT security, you’ll know that the primary knock has been the tendency of many developers to view it as an add-on, a feature bolted on to the program or device at the end of the process, not something designed in from the beginning.

Cruise wants to ensure that conversation doesn’t happen with mobile content.

During an interview last fall at GTEC, he explained why that matters.

“People [now] have higher expectations of the content they are able to access. [Our] experience at home is what we bring to our expectations of the public sector. So it is challenging how government mobilizes content: how from inception and creation of content does it prepare itself to actually deliver and analyze the content.

“When you talk about mobile, it is not about the device. You can say we have a mobile strategy because we support ABC devices, but that is the wrong way to look at it. [It should be], how do I create mobilized content? And then what is the strategy to mobilize the content across our entire infrastructure, with the end result being the citizen who is able to get the service or program or complete a transaction with me faster, more efficiently, and in an operationally more cost effective way?”

That requires removing some silos and approaching content from a whole-of-organization and whole-of-government perspective.

“I see all levels of government struggling with their digital strategy,” he said. “Most often we confuse content repositories and content management with content strategies. The theme I often hear from all levels is that government has to understand its infrastructure and how it actually publishes content. But it is one step larger. [We need] to look at those creative work flows and content flows, which by their very nature bring in web developers, communications, marketing, ad agencies, integrators, and start to look at that whole process and say, how are we developing processes that produce really rich content?”

As examples, he points to the immersive yet simple processes now employed by companies such as Nike, ATT, Amazon and others to engage a customer in a personalized, rich and efficient manner.

“When was the last time you had a 30 second interaction with government? In order for us to take advantage of the opportunity, we need to rethink not only web and backend content but we have to embrace the whole process. How do we start to create content that, from the get-go, is designed with security, accessibility, and mobility? It starts right at inception of the creation of the content.

“If you look at some of the better government sites like Tourism New Brunswick or the LCBO, they understand that. If you look at BC Lottery Corp, they are using advanced techniques for analytics, for personalization, for mobilization of content so that when you enter, they are able to establish criteria about you, even if they don’t know who you are…there is so much ghost data that can be garnered to improve your experience. If governments embrace that frontend and design [this] from the start, the efficiency, the service improvements, are off the charts.”


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