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When Communications Becomes Content

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On No Jitter this week, Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research has a post summing up the latest announcements from Box, the content management company whose platform, Zeus points out, two-thirds of the Fortune 500 currently use. Box focuses on content management, but it has partnerships with many of the biggest communications/collaboration providers, including Microsoft, Zoom, Slack, and Google.
 
The critical quote from Box CEO Aaron Levie: “The way organizations work with their content is going to be fundamentally at the center of many critical business processes.” Communications is also at the center of many of those same business processes, and so the intersection of content and communications is becoming more salient for enterprise IT decision-makers.
 
Users of Box and other content management systems have traditionally thought of such platforms as the place where you park or transfer big files — videos, presentations, and the like. Increasingly, users have been able to employ real-time collaboration tools to work together on these sorts of files. But it’s not just about adding communications to content; we need to see communications itself — what we “enter” into the system when we talk or video-meet together — as content.
 
The most obvious example is video transcription, which is now standard in many collaboration platforms. When the number of meetings exploded with the onset of COVID and remote working, one of the common phrases we all got used to hearing — alongside, “You’re muted,” or “Could you mute if you’re not talking?” — was, “I’ll record this for people who can’t make it.” Usually, the reason they couldn’t make it was because they were on another meeting.
 
So that was great: Now I could spend what little time I had when I wasn’t in meetings — listening to the meetings I missed. A year ago, I rarely availed myself of this opportunity. But now, if I miss a meeting that I really needed some information from, I find it’s pretty convenient and effective to locate the file, scan the transcript, and watch the snippet I really need to hear.
 
But of course, that transcript — and the recorded video file it documents — become, well, documents containing proprietary information, confidential company data and trade secrets, and (unfortunately) words and actions by employees that could be discoverable in litigation or regulatory proceedings. That’s why one of the first things we did as we started creating the program for Enterprise Connect 2022 was to add a new track on Security & Compliance. One session in that track, led by Irwin Lazar of Metrigy, will deal with the enhanced need to secure these systems from attack; another session, led by Sorell Slaymaker of TechVision Research, will focus on the emerging privacy issues that new collaboration technology creates.
 
As we fill out the program for EC2022 — which takes place March 21–24 at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Orlando, Fla.— we’ll talk more about the ways that communications is becoming more embedded in our business processes. This integration capability has been around for awhile now but has yet to really take off at scale. As Levie’s quote above suggests, the pandemic has accelerated the desire to bring our business processes more closely in synch with the objects and products of those processes. I’m looking forward to seeing how this trend plays out for communications and collaboration systems.

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