Content Management Options for IBM Watson Conversation Service (now Watson Assistant)

The Reality

Things change very quickly in the cognitive world. The provided information is as current as of the last update date. It is very possible that, like everything, things can change. The options provided here are some of the possible options, but not limited to.

The Purpose

The topic discussed here is to provide some options of how to manage your content in Watson Conversation service.

The Considerations

Many factors such as the User Scenario, Use Cases, Requirements and Data should be used to determine what approach is taken. Some examples of things to think about regarding your Data are “Is the answer data structured or unstructured?”, “Are the answers dynamic and context-dependent?”, “How large is the answer data (units)?”

And now, here are some options…

Option 1 – WCS Provided User Interface

This option is to use the out of the box tooling provided with the Watson Conversation Service for all your content updates.


  • You can begin making content updates immediately (no additional development effort for a content management solution)
  • No additional tooling required
  • No additional cost
  • No additional components – all content managed within WCS


  • Possibility that it can get tedious to manage, depending on deployment type

Option 2 – Leverage WCS APIs

This option is to use a simple data source, such as a spreadsheet, to manage and house your content and then use that to update your WCS workspace leveraging the WCS APIs.


  • Easier to manage content updates
  • No additional orchestration of answer retrieval needed
  • No complex database needed


  • Requires development of additional component (custom code & spreadsheet configuration)
  • Maintenance – Like anything with custom code, you will need to maintain the code any time the leveraged APIs change
  • Error prone when using a spreadsheet (identifying error may be challenging)

Note: There are various different ways that this solution could be implemented, such as using a web application, that I will not dive into here.

Option 3 – Leverage a Database

This option would involve creating a custom web application to manage content updates. This option also requires a custom database to store all the WCS data, including answer data. This would require creation of some additional components to make this work such as a service orchestration engine and UI.


  • Easier to manage content updates
  • Less error prone than using Excel  (with controlled web app)
  • WCS API updates would not affect the custom web app & database which manage the answers as those are independent of the WCS APIs (however, standard changes in the application orchestration layer will apply)


  • Requires cost, development & management of additional additional components (Web App, Orchestrator & DB)

DB Considerations (some examples):

  • Type
  • Sizing
  • Regional hosting options
  • Cost

Note: There are various different ways that this solution could be implemented, but this should provide some context for different ideas.

The Conclusion

There is no one specific solution that is the best fit for every scenario. Each project will require careful consideration of the items discussed in this blog post and other factors that may not have been mentioned here that come into play. There are likely other options out there, but hopefully this has helped get you thinking about the possibilities. The key is to consider all pros and cons along with the hosting environment, team skills, and more, to make a best decision.

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