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Content migration and future of content with Informa’s Narisa Wild

August 13, 2023 / 21:09 / E37

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This week we dive into the complex topic of content migration with Narisa Wild, who has spearheaded the digital transformation at Informa, a global B2B events and information services company. We cover the drivers behind content migration, and how to make data-driven decisions about migration and transformation processes -- and how AI is going to offer new opportunities, not just for migration, but for taxonomy, content, and the events space overall.


1:06 What does Informa do?
1:43 Narisa's role in digital transformation 
2:23 3 drivers for content migration
4:08 The #1 content migration question
5:04 Where content creation fits in
7:22 Why a composable stack makes migration decisions easier
10:21 How dashboards help
11:43 The future of content at Informa
13:53 How AI can aid content migration
16:57 How AI can impact event CX strategy 
18:27 Looking deeper at the future of enterprise content

Jasmin: [00:00:00] You might not have heard of Informa, but if you've ever been to a conference, you've probably benefited from their services. Informa provides conferences and content for almost every industry you can imagine. Narisa Wild is leading the company's digital transformation. Today on the show, she takes us behind the scenes at a topic we all deal with, content migration. Find out how the content powerhouse thinks about the drivers for content migration, the key decisions that need to be made, and how the process might be impacted by the rise of AI. You're listening to people Changing Enterprises.
I'm your host, Jasmin Guthmann, and please enjoy this [00:01:00] episode with Narisa Wild, Senior Vice President of Digital Solutions at Informa.

Narisa: Informa is a global business-to-business events and information services company. We connect buyers and sellers in our verticals that we operate in, and those are vast. We are in verticals that range from agriculture to fashion aviation, and there's really a supply chain for every industry right, from the buyer to the seller, and we see ourselves as the mediator trying to create opportunity for connections, whether that's digitally or in real life.
Jasmin: And what is your role specifically?

Narisa: My role at Informa is a Senior Vice President of Digital Solutions within our group technology team. We are a central team within a very matrixed organization. Supporting the three events, divisions within Informa, Informa [00:02:00] Markets, Informa Tech, and Informa Connect.
My role is primarily to support the brands within our divisions to fulfill their digital ambition and to take their ideas and innovation from a concept to something that is reality, that is serving our customers and helping us to connect with our end users.
Jasmin: You've become somewhat of an expert in content migration at Informa. Where did that need come from?

Narisa: Yeah, so content migration is a very interesting area. So I would say there are multiple pillars. One is a merger and acquisition pillar where, we have grown through acquisition, probably the single most important part of an acquisition is how you make them feel a part of the informal family.
And so that happens through people and culture and process, but it also happens through recognition of [00:03:00] the content of the services that they are bringing to the table as a new team member and how you can utilize the services and offerings that Informa has to support these businesses to grow. Right?
And so that's one pillar. The second pillar is, as we age, technology ages, right? And it ages at a very rapid rate. Like, thank goodness we don't age as fast as technology does. So you know, it's aging all the time and you're trying to keep up and it's a constant sprint.
We want to get to that pace where you're running a marathon and it feels consistent and it's achievable and you are on top of it.
And at the moment, you know, it's this kind of ongoing sprint where you're furiously trying to keep up with the pace of technology today. So that's another pillar. And then I would say the third is the digital ambition of Informa at large and our desire to grow media and digital solutions so that we can connect with our customers, [00:04:00] not just at our live events, but serve them and help them do their jobs better all around the year.
And across those three pillars, I would say that the most important piece is really understanding, what's the content that allows your customers to solve those problems. And how do you use data and insights, whether first party, third party, or analytics to really understand what are the behaviors and patterns, and then looking beyond the myopic view, how do you look externally at content and how it's performing? Or maybe content that you're not currently creating, and that could serve you during this migration process. And so migration itself, to really answer your question is a process of what do you hold onto and what do you let go of.

Jasmin: It's such a brilliant question for life. What do I want to hold onto? What are all the things that actually don't serve my purpose any longer? From your [00:05:00] experience, how difficult is that for companies?

Narisa: Content creation, it's an art, right? It's creative. It, you know, taps into the soul of the people who are writing that content and they are very emotionally attached to the content that they have taken much time and labor to create, rightly so. And when you can get data in real-time, that tells you that this content article that you've just released is crushing it, right? Because it's being read by, you know, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of users.
That's really a boost to your confidence as an editor, right? And so when migration teams like mine come along and say, okay, part of our analysis is to really look at over the last two years what's been going on with your 150,000 pieces of content editor A, let's analyze that data and let's really understand what content we really need to hold onto [00:06:00] that has long term, long tail value, and what content we have to take a really hard look at.
And together, you know, can we make that decision that it’s in our to deprecate that because implications, right? If you've got a hundred thousand pieces of content and you migrate all of it, that's a significant amount of cost from both the very specific APIs that we use with Contentstack to migrate content to the ongoing hosting costs, to managing that content as it gets older, and then we're adding new content.
So there's a ripple effect to that pretty difficult task that we have to undertake and is one of the first that we will do in a migration process. I understand and I have empathy with our editors as to why they are attached. There's considerable art in the work creation of content, and there's a lot of effort and focus I think that [00:07:00] as a central person in a migration transformation program, we just have to have that balance of this is human. We understand this process is not easy, but here's the data and let's look at this together and really understand if we remove, what opportunity does that create for you as an editor?

Jasmin: Absolutely, and I love the fact that you are looking at the data because what I can imagine is that sometimes, the creative people are somewhat removed, not by choice, but by way of architecture from the actual data. So some of these editors may just learn how their content has been seen or not seen when you come in and tell them. Is that a challenge that you see a lot of the time and is a composable way of building your tech stack? The answer to the problem.

Narisa: I think that a composable solution is a very [00:08:00] critical part in how you build out a strategy around your content that is gearing you up to be successful when you migrate your sites because you know there's your legacy content as we've been discussing that you're bringing over.
There's an opportunity to refresh that content to kind of go through and say, here are keywords that would be better suited to this piece of content today. Social sphere in today's content sphere, and how we're seeing this language being used for these particular subjects in these topics. There's also an opportunity to say, you know, we can take data in composable ways.
So whether that's Google Analytics, Chartbeat. You know, we have an internal data tracking solution as well, so there's three data sources right there, but each of them tells the slightly different parts of the story. And so it's how you bring those parts together to tell the whole, right? And so, for example, you know, [00:09:00]Chartbeat will give you the real-time information that editors seek when they launch newsletters for example and that’s rich and insightful, and it helps them with subject lines and it helps them tweak if they're doing multiple sends and that real-time feedback. But it's, and it's going to also help with something called circulation. So how much did an article help a user to navigate around the site and do other things?
So circulation is pushing them around into the sphere a bit more. Whereas, you know, long term you’re going to look at other sources of data to really paint the picture fully of how that article is performing, not just in the short term, but in the long term. So the composable elements are really important to paint the picture for each piece of content, and whether that's, an article, an image, a white paper, a webinar, you know, there are many content types and they all have different modes of success and ways of measuring them that determine if they are [00:10:00] rich and required by your audience.

Jasmin: Thank you for answering that because that would've been the next question. There are so many content types and you have to look at them all by type because their measure of success is going to be different. So combining three data sources sounds like the right thing to do, not the easy thing to do.

Narisa: Absolutely. You know, it's like you can crunch data till you start to turn blue in the face, but it's really what you do with it. Right? And also creating the dashboards. This is all part of the change management within a migration and transformation process that is very important to enable and empower your business teams to be successful is that you have to really support them through the change.
And the more you can do to set them up, the more they will buy into your technology, the platform, what you're saying, you as an SME, the trust, right? All of those things are built, so you know, dashboards that [00:11:00] really do all of the crunching so they’re just looking at the visuals and understanding what's happening and not having to dig into those three, four, however many data sources that you have, and create spreadsheets and do the work themselves.
It's, it's all of that. It's just a barrier to be successful. Right. And you know, I've seen it far too many times within different parts of this organization and others where it doesn't happen. And so these expensive toolkits are set up and nobody's using them. That's the other piece, you know,

Jasmin: I can only imagine that what you've just alluded to, content migration is really just the first step. We are talking about something that is much bigger, and you are on that journey right now. Can you tell us a little bit more about the way that you envision content to be used in the future?

Narisa: Yes, absolutely. So I think, you know, this phase of our transformation program is to really clean up our tech stack, get rid [00:12:00] of any tech stacks that are dying and aging, give people a reason to feel excited about their ability to innovate and use a platform and a tech stack that is enabling them to drive new solutions forward and not just juggling to keep all the lights on. And then I think, once we can get these migrations complete for media, which is really our content sites within Informa, then I think there's a very big conversation around directories and event websites and looking at the customer journey as a whole because there's no need for us to be sending them pillar to post, site to site to complete these tasks and transactions within the informal life cycle. So there's a great opportunity to explore a composable single repository for our content that has these, different interfaces that support them at different parts of their journey, whether [00:13:00] that's registering for a virtual conference, registering for an in-person event, signing up to attend thought leadership webinar, and so on and so forth.
It's just the journey that the user is taking. And just being able to weave them through that journey versus, it's kind of, it's a bit jagged right now to get from one place to the next and you can't see me moving my hand up and down. But you get the idea from the the sound effects, I think.

Jasmin: Absolutely. And as a, just, you know, as a customer from personal experience, I think we all feel and know what that feels like when you're like, uh, yeah. You know, I, yeah, okay, I'll, I'll do what you asked me to do. But it feels weird and off and it could be so much better if only all the components talk to each other in a way they are supposed to do that. I'm curious to hear what your take on AI is. How are you thinking about integrating that, [00:14:00] if at all?

Narisa: There is a proof of concept that we're trying right now with another partner where we're trying to speed up some of the migration process through AI, and so we're using an AI solution that we're in the process of sketching out to say, here is all your content, here are all the content types.
This maps to these six sources of data that we were discussing, pulling that all together. Here's the hierarchy and the order of importance of your content. And it's not just one data source like sometimes people just look at GA4, for example, or a SEO caller. Now we're taking 4, 5, 6 data sources that tell us how the content is performing for different reasons, whether that's heat mapping, whether it's, you know, viewability of ads in a content article, whether it's sharing of that article, page views, you know, the different parameters are important to pulling it all together [00:15:00] and using some fancy algorithm to say, here's the order and hierarchy of your content, which would take us not impossible in Excel. I think you can do anything right, but it would take a long time. So that's one step. And then the second part that we're testing very softly with AI is taxonomy, organization of content. So if we give information into the system of pulling data from social spheres, from external sources around these topics, can the AI solution then say, well, based on all this information, here's how you need to organize.
This is the AI card sorting exercise. And we’re testing it by ingesting a bunch of information of something we've already completed the taxonomy work for and looking at what results we're going to get from the AI solution and how closely or not it matches up to what the humans created. And then from there, we'll be able to assess.
And then I'd say a quick third use [00:16:00] case is really around content brief creation. So if you feed in enough information, keywords, topics, things of importance, you can probably create pretty good briefs that you'll still have a human edit, create, right? They're still doing the work, but it probably saves them quite a lot of research time. So maybe they're saving an hour and a half of into two hours per article. That's something we'll have to test once we get into that phase. And then on the event side, I think you know, with AI, the world is your oyster, whether that's help bots that are like the holograms in the event space, giving information, giving directions, right?
So they're getting people to go to very specific places or doing facial recognition and saying, well, last time you were here, you went this way around the show floor, this time you should go this way so that you see these exhibitors first.
I think there are many safe [00:17:00] solutions that can really support customers, whether digitally or for us at live events that we can foray into without feeling that people will feel spooked.
Because that's generally how we're gonna feel, right, is that we're being spooked as an example, right? You can get trends on restaurants. So if you are in Baltimore, Anaheim or Vegas, it's really easy to ingest a whole bunch of data on restaurants and habits and kind a, either, you know, here are better opportunities to get a table tonight, because in our experience these have all been booked.
Like that's a great way to use AI to support you, or here's the optimal times to be booking your Ubers and services like that. Or here are, maybe it's like finding friends to help you walk back to your hotel so you're not by yourselves at night. Right? Because you know, safety's a really big thing. So there are really positive ways to use AI to [00:18:00] create safety, security, better experience at the show, for example that could be really positive. So those are things that we're really looking into.

Jasmin: Absolutely. And probably it will only feel awkward the first time. It's a fantastic opportunity that comes with a lot of responsibility, I think. So super intriguing times. Fascinating. Anything else that you see on a content horizon for enterprises at large?

Narisa: I think content at the enterprise level is really about connection, still to your earlier point. I think the human connection is still very important and I think what we're finding at Informa is as we get better at content creation, the niches get smaller. So the topics and the areas that we're covering, whether that's thought leadership, education, is much more specific and we're really trying to help buyers and sellers in their [00:19:00] connections right. For me a website is like a trade show floor with the people visiting pages are the visitors and the exhibitors who have booths are the ones providing advertising or content marketing in the same way they scan your badge at the show floor for you to get product information, right? And I think that from a content standpoint, we're really taking data that we collect from any form of content marketing and getting more specific.
So we might start with, 2000 leads as a result of a webinar, let's say, and then we actually take the data about the customer and refine it to then say, here's a follow-up piece of content, another webinar or a virtual symposium or anything else. And then if those folks are attending based on the initial 2000, they come further into the funnel and from that 2000 we get 500.[00:20:00]
You know, the intent of those 500 is really strong. It's like the cream on top of the very rich dairy milk.

Jasmin: I love the mental picture almost that a website is a show floor, because it is, it's just the same in a virtual space. And thinking about that hopefully inspires some of the people that are listening to take a good look at their website and ask themselves, ooh, in this crazy madhouse, how would I even have any idea of where to go?

Thanks for listening to People Changing Enterprises. This show is brought to you by Contentstack. The leading composable digital experience platform for enterprises. Got a question or suggestion? Email us at if you like the show. Please leave us a rating or review on Apple Podcasts.

We'll be back next week with a new episode, helping you [00:21:00] make your mark.

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