Enterprise Content Management Strategy for the United Nations

DPCI helps the United Nations define an enterprise content management strategy to support the organization’s multi-channel publishing goals.

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

Today, the UN provides a forum for its 193 Member States, to express their views through the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Security Council, and several additional bodies and committees. Forum discussions and other supporting documents are published in digital and physical form in the 6 official UN languages through the Documentation Division (DD) a subgroup of the Department for General Assembly & Conference Management (DGACM).

The UN felt that improvements to the workflow for creating Parliamentary Documents across the different Documentation Division sections, including the Editorial, Terminology & Reference Service (ETRS), the Translation Service (TS), and the Text Processing Section (TPU), were necessary to incorporate automation technologies, and to facilitate delivery of content across multiple channels for international officials. These documents range from 1 to 200 pages and include Draft Resolutions from the Security Council, Budget Reports, Ancillary Reports, and Compliance Reports, as well as complaints and inquiries from Member States.

The UN discerned that an XML workflow would help the organization publish content independently of presentation and achieve its multi-channel publishing goals. The UN looked to DPCI to analyze the current publishing workflow and introduce best practices for XML workflows.

DPCI conducted requirements workshops with the Documents Control Group (DCG) and all three sections within the Documentation Division to progressively elaborate on business and stakeholder requirements for a best practice multi-channel publishing workflow.

To thoroughly understand the workflow and its challenges, DPCI also analyzed existing document management systems, document identification protocols, computer assisted translation tools in use, productivity macros for formatting content, edit and style guides, and documents at various stages of production.

Throughout the discovery and analysis, DPCI found that 80% of the editorial staff preferred annotating and editing source documents by hand, rather than on-screen. This process introduced extra steps in the workflow to allow for rekeying of hand-written edits and then translation to the other UN languages.

In some cases, translators received documents before all edits were complete. Subsequent edits required re-keying and re-translation of the entire document. Some translators do not the computer assisted translation tools, but rely on recording devices. In this case, the recording is transcribed, reviewed and then formatted, complicating the editorial workflow and increasing the time spent in producing the documents.

At the close of the consulting engagement, DPCI presented best practice workflow and technology recommendations to the UN that focused on delivery of Parliamentary documents across multiple channels, the primary goal for the DGACM.

The primary recommendation was to implement a fully digital workflow, eliminating the traditional paper editorial process. Through the implementation of digital documents and solid templates, time spent re-formatting documents, delivering paper edits, and re-translating a document several times over is minimized, increasing productivity.

DPCI presented the technical advantages and disadvantages of various editorial file formats as the underlying asset for conversion to multiple devices and media channels. Then DPCI addressed process inefficiencies observed throughout the discovery and made recommendations on how to improve workflow across the different sections of Documentation Division.

DPCI also provided observations on the various document repositories in use at the UN and offered suggestions on which repositories are best suited for automation of multi-channel content delivery. Finally, based on the current workflow and technologies in place within the DGACM, DPCI made recommendations for specific target devices, distribution methods and distribution formats that would guarantee the broadest worldwide availability of content while remaining compatible with the UN’s existing content technology infrastructure.

Read more about DPCI’s strategic consulting services around Web content management, digital asset management, multi-channel publishing and workflow management.