Content analytics fast becoming an essential business tool

Content analytics is fast becoming a pivotal business tool, with six in 10 enterprises saying it will be essential within five years’ time, according to new research with business leaders by independent information management analysts, AIIM.

Three-quarters of enterprises in the AIIM study, ‘Content Analytics: automating processes and extracting knowledge’ believe there is real business insight to be gained from content analytics, further highlighting its position as a technology that adds true value to an organisation.

Content analytics – which analyses and derives insight from in-bound and legacy content – is also seen as increasingly essential to addressing risks associated with incorrectly identified content. Respondents felt auto-classification of content helps protect against security breaches, sensitive or offensive content, and exposure to compliance regulations. More than half of enterprises (54%) feel that their organisation is at considerable risk from such threats.

“The sheer volume of legacy content, combined with increasing volumes of new in-bound content, mean that content analytics has the potential to be the single most valuable tool at an enterprise’s disposal,” said Doug Miles, AIIM’s Chief Analyst. “It can provide meaning and insight to content and help protect organisations from risks associated with unclassified content. But content analytics programmes need strategic direction and people with the right skills to realise the potential. Organisations must look to address these shortfalls as a priority.”

Despite contact analytics’ potential, 80% of survey respondents are yet to allocate a senior role to initiate and coordinate analytics applications. This lack of designated leadership and also a shortfall of analytics skills is restricting the potential and holding back the deployment of content analytics tools, according to almost two-thirds (63%) of the research respondents.

‘Dark data’ – content that contains sensitive or personally identifiable information about customers or staff, or has business sensitivity – has long been an issue for many enterprises. The AIIM research shows that dealing with dark data was a big driver for deploying content analytics, with other drivers including process productivity improvements, additional business insight, and adding value to legacy content.

Around three-quarters (73%) of respondents feel that enhancing the value of legacy content is better than wholesale deletion, while more than half (53%) say that auto-classification using content analytics is the only way to get content chaos under control.

But as inbound capture extends across more and more types of content, especially where the digital mailroom concept is employed (centrally or distributed), recognition of content types and automated routing to specific processes is seen as very useful.

“Organisations are drowning in content and staying on top of high volume, multi-channel, inbound content is fast becoming one of the major challenges for any enterprise, especially if they rely on manual processes,” continued Doug Miles. “Automated handling is as accurate as humans, and more consistent. It is encouraging to see most respondents expect to spend more on content analytics in the next 12 months, including auto-classification.”

Other key findings include:

• Nearly two-thirds of respondents say that content analytics is either essential (17%) or something they definitely need (48%).
• 34% of organisations are using content analytics for process automation, information governance, contextual search or business insight.
• Benefits from inbound analytics include faster flowing processes (50%), happier staff (32%) and improved governance (20%).
• Content analytics early adopters are already seeing the benefits, with 68% reporting ROI within 18 months or less.
• Most survey respondents expect to spend more on content analytics in the next 12 months
• Incoming customer communications and help-desk streams top the list for live or near-time alerting

“We have seen increasing interest and adoption in recognition and routing of inbound content, automated classification of records and email, metadata addition and correction, and all of the improvements in access, security, de-duplication and retention that flow from this,” concluded Doug Miles. “But content analytics can offer so much more than this, with many applications and uses yet to come, and by 2020 will be one of the primary tools used by any enterprise.”

The research for ‘Content Analytics: automating processes and extracting’ was underwritten in part by Kofax, Rocket Software, SPS and OpenText.

The full report, which includes a number of recommendations for progress, is free to download at

The survey was taken using a web-based tool by 238 individual members of the AIIM community between April 17 2015, and May 08, 2015.

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