Understanding the Basics of Content Categorization
If the person has blonde hair, she must not be very intelligent.
Japanese are workaholics.
If the person is of Indian origin, she should be good with software development.
If he is Brazilian, he must be a good soccer player.
All American Indians wear war bonnets made of feathers, ride horses and frequently let out a war-cry.
Australians are great sportspersons.
What do the above statements convey?
They convey a stereotype. We have arrived at inferences about a person based on his or her nationality or ethnicity or looks or some other group or category the person belongs to. And belonging to a particular category may have been a choice or merely an accident of birth. It is like arriving at a judgment about a person. We have slotted or categorized a person and our future interaction will be conducted in the shadow of this categorization.
We know that we should not ‘judge a book by its cover.’ We are told that it is demeaning to categorize people. While that may be the right thing to do, the process of forming opinions and views, being a subconscious process, goes on unhindered. It is not a process that can be legislated. We may choose not to act on those opinions, but we are unable to do much about the process. If we pass through a certain section of the city, we might clutch our bags more tightly for fear of it being snatched. On the other hand, if we are at a golf club, we might leave our belongings unattended as we do not expect them to be stolen.
These are instincts that enable us to process information. They could be based on personal experiences, or on the sound-bites we receive from our surrounding environment, that could include friends and relatives, it could include portrayals of people in cinema, it could be the news we consume. This process helps us in managing our lives. If we have an armed intruder lunging at us with a big knife, we are not going to ask a polite question, “are you mad at me?” or “do you intend to hurt me?” before taking action. We perhaps have enough anecdotal data to categorize this as a dangerous situation that calls for safety measures to be adopted.
What is Content Categorization?
Do the same rules apply with things? Or ideas? Or products? Or business assets?
Think about any item that you are fond of and tend to collect. Let us take the example of books. If you have a large collection of books, how do you store them? Would you pile them up randomly or would you classify them neatly; mystery in one section, biographies in another, cookbooks in a separate section, and so on. While at some points the books may end up in a random pile, the likely intention is normally to classify them in a manner that permits locating a book when the need arises. This is much more easily done if the books are stored according to a categorization system and not randomly.
Let us take a digital example. Many companies have a blog on their websites. Each post on a blog will probably have one or more categories as well as one or more tags assigned to it. This is also a way of categorization. The post will show up each time a reader selects one of the categories that have been assigned to it, as one of the possibly several posts that meet the reader’s interest in that subject.
Even date or chronology is a method of content categorization.
If we go a level higher, at the website level, they also need to be classified even though there is no ‘official’ classification of a website; no space you fill out while creating a website that defines its type. A news website or an entertainment website. A sports website or a medical website. And it cannot be left to the owners as they may have their own vested interest in classifying it as one and not another category. This is a task done by website classification services that ingest the information and decide based on their algorithms. Classification of websites helps in filtering content, blocking out suspicious ones and helping companies decide on placement of ads.
Relevance for business
With rapid advances in digital technology, websites and digital and online are gaining in prominence for doing business. In digital space, customers need to navigate themselves around the space. There are no in-store sales people or signs to guide them where they should go. There is no counter at which they place an order and a minute later a counter clerk comes back with the set of products they asked for. In the digital space a customer needs to navigate around the store on her own.
This brings into focus the need to ensure that the virtual store is laid out in a manner where the visiting customer finds it easy to locate what she is looking for, resulting in a sale for the business. Perhaps not just a sale of the product she had in mind when she came over, but also related products that she may not even have had in mind when she contemplated buying the original item. It is almost like we must anticipate the mental processes of customers and how they would go about the task of looking for a product. Knowing it will put us in a better position to create it in a manner that facilitates the task.
We know users will either use search engines or, if they know about your website, might go there directly and look there. In a world of choices, the website where the customer has reached, needs to make it simple for her to find the information and products she may have come for, while having a pleasant experience navigating the site.
Content categorization is the way the process of a customer finding a product is enabled. It is a part of what is known as the content management strategy of an organization.
Logical and intuitive structuring is what websites strive to do in order to make it easy to locate a product. But it is not as easy as it might sound. There are several decisions that need to be taken. The objective should be to make it easy for visitors while lending itself to changes that may need to be made later.
Is the categorization natural or intuitive? If you sell sandals, would it be better to categorize it under footwear, or clothes and accessories, or sandals? Which one will be easier for a visitor to locate?
Is the level of detail adequate? If you sell sports gear, would it be adequate to classify all items under sports, or should there be a next level like Tennis, Baseball, Basketball, followed by the type of item under each, like Rackets, Balls, Shoes, Apparel, etc.?
Is the sequencing correct? If you sell sports gear, is it better to first separate by item type and then by brand and not the other way round? For a Head tennis racket, the visitor should first be looking for tennis rackets after which she will be interested in identifying a brand.
Can it be modified later? Product ranges may be pulled, expanded or modified. Does the current method support ongoing changes?
Outsourcing content categorization
Having come to occupy an important place for companies, it needs to be done professionally.
The rise in volumes of this work has resulted in it emerging as a specialized line of work for many BPOs like oWorkers. While each company will need to decide on its own strategy, whether to outsource or not, it has emerged as a choice for many. With their experience across multiple clients, BPOs are also able to guide their clients on how they should be doing content categorization.
If outsourcing is your preferred choice, here is how you should go about identifying a partner:
The partner should have deep knowledge in the space so that the collective knowledge of the client and partner can be a force multiplier in ensuring implementation of the most suitable solution. This should also result in producing work of greater quality and accuracy.
oWorkers specializes in data-based services and has been identified as one of the top three BPO providers in the world. We have executed many projects for clients across the globe, with most of them being continuing and growing ones.
Remote work systems
With mankind’s recent experience with the Covid-19 pandemic, it becomes essential that the partner has systems in place to ensure continuity of work even if physical locations of work are not accessible. In other words, a team that is equipped to seamlessly operate from home when the need arises.
oWorkers was able to keep the businesses of their clients up and running during the most severe lockdown periods.
Access to deep hiring pools at reasonable prices is one of the distinguishing factors of successful BPO players. The pool is needed for ensuring adequate resources, including as replacement for the ones leaving.
Being a preferred employer in all its operating geographies, oWorkers is able to attract a perennial stream of walk-in talent looking for jobs. This gives oWorkers a choice for its various projects, like content categorization. It also enables oWorkers to support clients during periodic peaks and troughs by hiring at short notice, to the extent of additional 100 people within 48 hours, a huge saving for any client.
Being the key enabler that has made global outsourcing possible, technology capability of vendors is a critical capability. It facilitates transaction processing and frees up humans for value added work.
With the deep relationships forged with many technology companies, oWorkers has access to the latest technologies being developed. Our clients benefit from these relationships as the technologies can be used for their work.
Speed of turnaround
Outsourcing often helps in speeding up the turnaround time for transaction completion. It is a business for them, and not a support activity, hence it is done with care and attention.
For several clients that operate in different time zones, oWorkers is able to provide overnight delivery. By the time the client starts work on the following day, yesterday’s work, which would have been completed by oWorkers while they were asleep, would be available in the inbox.
All facilities of oWorkers are equipped to operate 24×7, for clients that have this need. This will also speed up transaction processing.
Business information holds value and needs to be held securely. A partner with information systems that can ensure the safety of information that is shared by clients for the purpose of transacting, is an essential requirement.
oWorkers is not only GDPR compliant but also ISO (27001 :2013 & 9001:2015) certified. It operates from secure facilities and its remote access tools are designed to keep client information secure.
While the ability to work from home constitutes an important element of the evaluation, there are times when a particular location or geography could be under siege with even telecommunication links not operational. This could happen in times of political and climate related events. At such times it becomes important to be able to operate out of facilities that are geographically distant and not impacted.
With its facilities in three distinct geographical regions of the world. oWorkers has the ability to provide business continuity options to its global clients, depending on need.
While there is convergence happening in technologies and languages, modern technologies are also making it simpler for people to operate in their preferred languages, instead of adopting a common language like English for their needs.
Across its three centers, oWorkers employs a team that is capable of delivering services in 22 languages most commonly spoken across the world. Each time your business expands, you don’t need to go looking for a new vendor to support a new language.
Pricing is always an important consideration in any commercial engagement, which an outsourcing arrangement is. However, care should be taken to ensure that focus on pricing does not result in other important factors getting low weightage.
oWorkers operates on a transparent pricing structure, with clients getting a choice between dollars per unit of output and dollars per unit of input resources. Our clients routinely note savings of almost 90% from their pre-outsourcing costs once they outsource to oWorkers. This is generally true for our clients from Western Europe and the US.
With a leadership team that has hands-on experience of over 20 years in the industry, your content categorization projects are in good hands with oWorkers.
Your work enables us to employ people from the less privileged sections of the societies we work in and give them an entry pass into the global digital workspace.