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by Emerson Welch  |  July 21, 2022

Content Complexity

Content Complexity

Overcoming content ecosystem challenges for successful enterprise content lifecycle management

We’ve talked a lot about the role content plays in driving business growth. But what of the role our increasing desire for ‘content everywhere’ plays in the creation, assembly and publishing process? Without the right approach, it’s a chaotic area where content complexity can easily overpower authoring and creative ability, causing bottlenecks, quality issues and deadline failures.

Similar to how organizations invested in technologies to harness the value of “big data” years ago, they are now taking a long overdue look to see if they have the infrastructure in place to support the massive volumes and types of content flowing internally across the enterprise and externally to customers and prospects. It’s a ‘big content’ era, one in which content plays a vital role in scaling modern business. Organizations that are successful are making the necessary investments in technologies to support their content strategies, as they are acutely aware that content, which is the consumable form of data, is at the heart of supporting revenue growth in today’s digital-first era.

An organization’s content estate is a valuable asset and a competitive differentiator that must be shared with audiences in the right format, at the right time, in the right place, and on brand. Print content still has a seat at the table, but with consumer habits taking a fast shift to a digital-first preference for content consumption, organizations now are assessing their content strategies to keep pace with omnichannel consumption patterns of not just their external audiences, but internal stakeholders too. Continued advancements in tablet and mobile technology will continue to drive content consumption across digital channels. As such, creating content with responsive design features in mind for optimal resonance – improved rendering and increased usability on mobile devices – are critical to providing a standout customer experience. Add to this, content created must meet stringent regulatory requirements that vary by industry and geography. Organizations are understanding that investments in content technologies are required to support their compliance processes, meet their internal and external stakeholder expectations, and exemplify their brand value.

“Big Content” is complex

Today’s Big Content era is marked by volume, variety and velocity. Companies are creating mass amounts of rich media content in various formats, and they need to produce it quickly to meet stakeholder demands. Internally, it could be arming employees in the customer support department with the necessary standard operating procedures they need to enroll customers in a new service. Externally, it may be updating a web and mobile app in real time so customers can quickly see the new arrivals from their favorite online shopping site to place their orders for home delivery. And in a life sciences context, it could be updating a compliance-controlled global pharma label change or test specification document. All of this content must be created, approved and delivered fast, and adhere to corporate policies and regulatory requirements as required.

These are just a few examples of how creating, managing and publishing enterprise content is complex. What makes it technically complex, for example, is the hundreds of data input sources from across the wider ecosystem that may be required to power, say, an e-commerce platform. And that data manifests itself in many formats, including copy, interactive charts, forms, videos, shopping carts, etc. Many people across the organization have a role in supplying, maintaining and updating the core data as well as reviewing and approving specific elements such as the frontend copy and creative before it can be published. This involves cross-team interaction from marketing, IT, product management, finance and legal as well as operations, distribution and customer support. The final piece of content must adhere to regional corporate and regulatory compliance guidelines, translate across the numerous web browsers and scale up and down correctly on tablets and mobile phones for the most effective engagement opportunity.

Regulatory compliance is another form of corporate compliance, and these standards vary by industry and geography. They not only apply to health, safety and manufacturing controls, but they also apply to content. “According to Life Science Leader,” it costs between $800 million and $1.2 billion to bring a new drug to market. Meeting regulatory requirements for the associated content is a quarter of that cost. Consider that a pharmaceutical company might have to make more than 30,000 label changes during a year, and complex label changes can take more than a year. Understandably, content creation in highly regulated industries like pharma, financial services and government agencies comes with even more complexity. Each piece of content must meet legal and regulatory standards, which can bump heads with those across the organization who make delivery to market and a personalized customer experience a priority over meeting compliance requirements.

Content variety = challenges

A variety of factors are involved when creating content. It can consist of multiple different layouts, media types, formatting structures, component types, input sources and more. This translates to a level of complexity that’s technically more challenging for organizations to overcome if they have traditional manual processes in place working in isolation – a duplicative copy-and-paste approach if you like.

Let’s take a look at some of the factors that contribute to content complexity challenges.

Design layout – Achieving the most powerful visual impact within an easy-to-consume layout geometry often causes a design template to become heavy in file weight. Rich images, multiple formatting styles, detailed illustrations, complex structures, strict architectural schemas and numerous layers can all create issues with rendering, previewing and portability.

Aggregation – As ecosystems expand and content strategies demand the use of more integrated and enterprise-wide files and assets, it’s imperative to have a fast and efficient process for collating these into a central and compliance-controlled repository, so you can be sure your content is validated, up-to-date and compliant.

Volume – The sheer size of your content, whether that’s simply the number of print/web pages (which can run into the thousands) or the amount of sections, content types, presentation slides or citation components used within it. It creates a heavy processing requirement for your organization.

Data – Complex content is often pulling through real-time data from multiple input sources and in many different technical languages. Presenting it in a comprehensible format that’s easy to consume requires powerful server technology under the hood.

Interactive elements – The most common enterprise content types such as PowerPoint presentations, data heavy Excel spreadsheets and instructional videos are sometimes the most difficult to manage due to their weight and density and are susceptible to grinding simple content management processes to a halt. Enabling them as an automated output channel in the same functional vein as traditional print and web page channels demands the right software.

Overcoming content chaos

Automating content workflows eliminates assembly challenges associated with content containing numerous varieties and elements and support an enterprise organizations’ ability to create omnichannel content at large scale. With content automation, organizations can eliminate the duplicate creation of text, images, charts and other content types. They can dynamically assemble these components from a metadata-driven central repository that acts as a single source-of-truth to search, personalize and translate up-to-date componentized content under a universal taxonomy. This one platform makes it simple to adopt a COPE (create once, publish everywhere) strategy.

Now is the time for organizations to invest in technologies that modernize their approach to content lifecycle management. Analytics tools help these organizations understand who is consuming your content, in what format, and why, to accurately see the true ROI of your content strategies. Employees also benefit from automation as they can focus on where they add the most value to the content creation process and spend less time involved with inefficient content production processes, unnecessary manual review-and-approval processes, copying and pasting content, and more.

Quark Publishing Platform (QPP) NextGen automates every stage of the content lifecycle: creation, collaboration, assembly, omnichannel publishing and analysis. It is the only content automation software that eliminates content complexities by automating the technically challenging components that are most difficult to process and improve your organizations’ overall content strategy and execution.

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