Have you been hearing a lot about APIs recently? Or maybe the Create Once, Publish Everywhere (COPE) thinking that came out of NPR? It doesn’t matter whether you have or haven’t really. What’s important is that we understand why APIs are on the rise.
Why did the big guns invest heavily in APIs and are now reaping serious benefits. Netflix, NPR, Twitter, Facebook, Expedia, Guardian, Google, to mention a few, have well established APIs that grant third parties, that’s people like you, me and other companies, controlled access to their functionality and content. That’s right, these companies have created a playroom filled with shiny new toys (content and functionality) and have given us the key (API) to play with them. But why?
What value do these companies see in APIs? Why do they continue to invest in them? And how do I get me some API action?
On Thursday, 16th May, David Beckham retired from the beautiful game. Unplanned, I joined him. I was out playing 7-a-side football that Thursday, scored the first goal. A left-footed scorcher into the top-right hand corner, and was turning up field to collect a second. Then smash, someone took me out. Hard. I heard a massive pop deep down in my left leg. I turned around to give some young scally a right dressing down but no-one was there. I tried to lift my left foot and it was like jelly. Game over.
You want to create multiple navigation structures from a taxonomy and prevent people from creating multiple taxonomies for navigational purposes.
Taxonomies are the organising principles behind metadata and the values that populate metadata fields.
Not all classifications are taxonomies.
You need clear rules for when the business will own metadata vs when technology will own metadata.
Use metadata to drive our content models.
Always tag by id and never by term, so that you can change terms without impacting the taxonomy.
Need to sell business value of taxonomy to business users.
You cannot have a single standard for metadata that will cover all types of content for the Internet of Things. Embrace that and move on.
You have to provide context to concepts to make them meaningful, which makes it difficult to beg, borrow and steal taxonomies from one business and apply it verbatim within your own.
What seems like a taxonomy at first, may become a process.
Information metabolism is about enabling the business to make information decisions faster. You need frameworks in place for improving an organisation’s information metabolism. Example given of Motorola going form 4 weeks to 24 hours.
Understanding the different paces of change within your organisation clarifies a lot. You need adaptability in fast moving layers and stability in slow moving ones. Pace-Layering.
You must pay attention to the clock speed of your process (e.g. web content (medium), e-commerce(very fast), intranet dev(slow))
You need a universal remote control system for taxonomy. Each application has a remote for their system, a way to implement taxonomies, but there are not universal. They only pretend to be.
Metaphor around moving house was valuable. So when migrating content, you need to touch it and see where it adds values, instead of just moving it.
Every business case has ancillary benefits, that are harder to quantify. Stay focussed. Baseline, benchmark, and have a clear understanding of what value your intervention brings.
Be clear on the relationship between maturity and capabilities, and where you as an organisation are on that journey. Then map your process requirements within the context of known capability gaps and seek to plug them and/or address them later. Use taxonomies in different ways depending upon your maturity.
Always build capabilities on solid foundations. Invest in change management because whilst some folks gradually evolve with you, others have been forced into that change, so build capabilities with this in mind.
Don’t ask data architects for taxonomies. Ask for reference data. That’s what you really want.
When doing taxonomy, you must be thinking about search and SEO.
Searchers search ambiguously. We need to help them disambiguate their queries by giving them values. Values derived from taxonomies.
Beware what happens when you fix search, you find out that your content sucks.
So, after a couple of years of writing for other blogs, which I will continue to do in earnest here and here, I’m coming back home. No major changes. It will continue to be about the stuff I feel most passionate about: digitalcontent, technology and productivity.
Why? Because I love writing. I’m not great at it and I’m okay with that. But it’s the most effective way for me to structure and prioritise my ideas. Seriously people, I have far too many of the buggers. Also, writing keeps you honest and engaged with others. If you think you know something,write about it. Writing is a surefire way of finding those pesky gaps in your knowledge that others, often very much smarter than you are, will help you plug.
This year has been a little bit crazy. It’s mid November and I’ve called time on 2011. I need to slow down on the conference and seminar scene and try to digest some of the amazing things I’ve learnt listening, reading and watching great people in action.
It’s amazing to see different schools of thoughts appearing in content strategy, clients figuring out what mobile means for them, brand managers trying centralise and re-use digital assets, content producers proactively seeking better authoring experiences to make campaign management low(er) effort, and companies becoming more like publishers online. Times are definitely changing.
However, the real 2011 eye opener for me is that fact that consumers are digitally smarter than the companies trying to engage with them. I mean way ahead.
Meet Tom. He’s a 6th grade mobile app developer. He’s smarter than you and I, and his TED talk video has gone viral. So when trying to engage with folks like Tom online, the digital savvy consumer, to convince him we’re worthy of his time and (soon to be countless) digital dollars, companies are continually being caught with their pants down. Failing to understand social media. Delivering sub-standard customer experiences. Creating disconnected and impersonal user journeys. Exhibiting poor listening skills. The fact is you can’t hide from these digital disasters online. But when the likes of Dell, Burberry and John Lewis, to name a few, demonstrate that they are stepping up to the challenge, 2012 can’t come fast enough.
Consumers have definitely raised the experience bar and they expect all companies they do business with to get with the programme. Read the rest of this entry »