Congility conference retrospective

I spent the last two days at the Congility conference, held near London, and chaired by Noz Urbina of Mekon. This event is the successor to the X-Pubs conferences held in previous years, and was all about making your content more agile (“content” plus “agility” makes “Congility”).

There was a first rate line up of speakers, including Ann Rockley, Rahel Bailie, and Don Day. There were fascinating insights and field reports from representatives of different industries, from household-name web sites to medical device manufacturers via open-source ECM vendors. The common theme was the same – how to produce better content and disseminate it more easily. There was generally one answer as well: devise the strategy that’s appropriate for your content and your company first, and then work out what technology solution you want to implement to support your goals. This message might have been a little uncomfortable for some of the technology vendors who were supporting the event as sponsors and exhibitors, but it was one that I returned to when I gave an updated version of my presentation on “Content Strategy for Everyone” in which I explained the progress that was being made with the internal content strategy project I’m involved in at my work. (I’ll publish more on that soon.) We have made great progress already, but are still a long way from deciding what, if any, new technology we need to buy.

Overall Congility was a really good event with a great atmosphere, and I am already looking forward to next year’s event to see what progress has been made.


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3 Responses to Congility conference retrospective

  1. Sarah Maddox says:

    Hallo David

    Thank you for writing this up. It sounds like a very valuable conference. I wish I could have been there! Do you plan to blog about the individual sessions that you attended?

    In an ideal world, I agree with the strategy of devising your content strategy and then finding the appropriate technology solution. The only proviso would be to make sure that it does not take too long to analyse and define the strategy.

    The reason for not waiting too long is that things change. In many environments, they change rapidly. Customers’ environments and requirements are changing under our feet too. If we spend too long designing the strategy, it will be out of date before we start implementing it.

    If possible, it would be great to run the two exercises in tandem. Get something up and running as soon as possible, in an evaluation version of the platform that looks best after initial analysis. Then test the platform and the strategy together, within the company and perhaps with chosen groups of customers.

    What do other people think?

    Cheers, Sarah

  2. Kirsty says:

    Sarah, in a umber of my customer areas, they are not changing under my feet. Hard copy or at least printable doco is still essential, locally-installed help (rather than internet-based, because interent access is not a given in remote mine sites or on ships in the middle of an ocean) is also required by many of our customers. Other companies can be more dynamic, due to their products or customers, but some companies and their customers are just not at dynamic places yet. Our customers might become more dynamic, but I still have to deal with a potential lack of internet access at work, long implementation cycles (it can take a year or more for an ugrade to go through; you certainly don’t want to stuff up Payroll or OHS functions!). Not all of our software is like this, but a fair amount is.
    I have some upgrading customers happy about the doco (yay!) but partof that is because they are upgrading from the software released in 2002 to the software we are writing now. We’ve done a lot on the past 9 years, and it isn’t as though these customer are especially recalcitrant in upgrading.

    It czn be hard to trial new ideas when no customer will see them for 1-2 years.

  3. Sarah Maddox says:

    Hallo Kirsty

    Thanks for the window into your world! It’s very interesting to think about the different environments we are all working in. I guess the word “agility” takes on a whole new meaning in some environments.

    Do you have much contact with the end users of the documentation? It’s great to know that some of the upgrading customers have let you know they’re happy with it. 🙂 It’s so often the case that we don’t hear anything unless people are unhappy.

    Cheers, Sarah

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