In enterprises, content harvesting translates into an effort of collecting (usually manually) nuggets of information so they can be packaged into repositories of information that can be easily accessed, refreshed and used over and over again. By that token, content harvesting has become the end game of any knowledge management effort. The usefulness of such repositories is in direct proportion to the contribution into them and the number of times the same information can be extracted and repurposed. The information is used for internal planning and business development. In the same vein, Big Data and Data Analytics are the next threshold that commercial enterprises need to cross successfully, in order to mine valuable insights from the zetabytes of data they collect both through their enterprise systems as well as through social media. As the information created expands exponentially and companies find themselves battle emerging demand trends, volatile markets and non-sticky customers, they find the need for real-time decision making is more real than ever. The likes of IBM and SAP are trying to gain a first mover advantage in this space.
On a smaller scale, a startup Nektoon (producer of note taking app, Memonic), has recently launched a beta of its research app, called Squirro. For anyone who conducts research for professional purposes, this will be of interest. The app that runs on many mobile device platforms is able to curate content from several sources - social, internet, news sites, blogs and even enterprise systems (CRM) but claims that it is more than just another feed. Squirro will offer integration with Salesforce.com, SAP and other enterprise applications because it is aiming for a one stop content harvesting solution. Its target for now - the most obvious organizational group in need of up-to-date market intelligence for decision making – the Sales and Marketing function (others like New Product Development might be next). Squirro’s taglines - a ‘noise cancelling headset’ and a ‘personal research assistant’.
Others like Mendeley and Zotero, also ‘personal research assistants’ resemble Squirro in their content curation and social sharing features (albeit targeted to scholarly researchers). What gets my attention with Squirro though is its promise to integrate with the (somewhat elusive) content that can be extracted from the business systems in most enterprises. The holy grail of all content curation would be the combination of both internal and external content in a way that makes it easier to see the trends and make well-informed decisions faster.