Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The COLD War Rages On

The COLD war has consumed my entire professional life.  No, not as a secret agent working for "the company" and not the Cold War as in "Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall!"  I am talking about the struggle to manage and present huge volumes of computer generated content.  The term Computer Output to Laser Disc died sometime between Sputnik and unilateralism but COLD lives on as a term for this struggle, and if you are wondering, COLD warriors never die.

This post lays some groundwork on the basics of COLD because there are fascinating topics to be explored just over the horizon.  Output management is a very significant focus within ECM due to some peculiar traits about this content type.  Did you know that high volume transactional output (HVTO) is by far the most voluminous content type managed by corporations?  The specific content we are talking about here includes statements, letters, notices, invoices, and reports.  Reports, by the way, represent a whole other conflict.

Most organizations either implement separate COLD systems or attempt to store and retrieve output from their existing ECM's.  There is a hot list of do's and don’ts that will be explored here soon.  The traditional differences between COLD and regular ECM are:

  • COLD data is transactional, and therefore fixed in time, static
  • Other content can be evolving, not static, and is more likely to be linked to workflow
  • High percentage of COLD is repetitive, think of millions of customer statements: the only data on the page that change are customer name, address and unique transactional data
  • Repetitive = opportunity to condense, stack, and "store-once-use-many"
  • COLD is way high volume, usually measured in millions of pages per day/week/month
  • COLD data is often used to answer customer questions about transactions, either internally through front-line CSR's or externally through portals
  • Because of the service angle, there is a huge impact to efficiently storing COLD documents and retrieving them with scalded-dog speed

So, you can begin to see how different COLD is to, say, Accounts Payable Invoice Capture, for example.  Its uniqueness represents a launch pad for other opportunities to consolidate systems, use emerging products like SharePoint, improve customer service, reduce costs and even to look to brand new technologies that might obviate COLD as we know it.  Stay tuned for posts next week because COLD is not dead, just lurking under some new identities.

No comments:

Post a Comment