Managing business content has become complicated, cumbersome, and expensive, especially for large, complex documents with government-regulated or corporate-regulated subject matter. In the “good ole days”, monolithic documents were created, printed, and shipped via some physical channel – and though that procedure was slow, error-prone, and less-than-secure, the process was singular and linear and generally required limited updates.
Today, it’s a different story. Content must be securely delivered via multiple channels, both physical and virtual, including web pages, chat streams and SMS messages (to name a few) in addition to print. On the receiving end, expectations for timely (or even immediate) and accurate information have increased significantly. And the pace of business continues to accelerate, meaning that organizations must be nimble – and smart – in order to keep up and remain competitive.
The content creation and delivery process has been transformed. It is no longer linear, as assets must continually incorporate updates mandated by the business, regulatory agencies or even consumers of the content. It likely involves multiple individuals who are functionally and/or geographically distributed. The era of the monolithic document is over.
Recent IDC research shows that, in a typical organization, 142 people create or edit content directly from that organization’s content management system, and this number is expected to increase by 23% over the next two years (IDC’s CMS Technology and Use Cases Survey, June 2021, N =540). On average, each of those individuals spends 26 hours per week creating and/or editing content.
Of course, this means that the content-related challenges that organizations face has also grown exponentially. Key challenges include keeping up with the demand to create new content assets, understanding which of those assets resonate with the audience, creating and managing metadata and speed to publication – not to mention cost!
Q. Which of the following are the top 3 content challenges for your organization?Source: IDC, CMS Technology and Use Cases Survey, June 2021, N =540
These challenges become even more problematic for large, complex business documents with government-regulated or corporate-regulated content and/or content that has reusable components, all of which must be kept current. Think of a training manual for an airline pilot, a standard operating procedure to establish customer identity in a bank, or the documentation required to introduce a new drug to the market. Even in simpler use cases, it is often an imperative for a company to effectively manage its brand across multiple assets and multiple delivery channels. Content must reach customers, partners, and employees in the right format, at the right time, and in the right place according to your unique corporate and industry requirements. So, given all this, what is an organization to do?
The right content management solution can drastically reduce the impact of these challenges. That solution must provide services around the entire content lifecycle, it must be accessible to all individuals who participate in that lifecycle, and it must be secure. At a high level, the content management solution must support:
- Content creation, including authoring and design
- Management of content components, including metadata management, enabling easy access, update, and reuse
- Collaboration, including routing for review, edits, and approval
- Publishing to multiple delivery channels
- Analytics on engagement and usage
In our research, organizations that have adopted a modern content management solution have experienced a number of benefits, including improved responsiveness, increased customer and employee experience and reduced business risk.
Q. Which of the following are the top 3 business benefits your organization has experienced by adopting a CMS?Source: IDC, CMS Technology and Use Cases Survey, June 2021, N =540
When evaluating a “smart” content management solution, ask yourself the following questions:
- What content is your organization creating and for what purpose? How much of that content is redundant (or worse, uncontrolled)? What content can be (or should be) reused?
- Who is producing, reviewing, approving, delivering the content? In other words, who participates in the content lifecycle?
- Who is consuming it and when? Is similar content consumed at various stages of the readers’ relationship with your organization?
- What format(s) is required for creation and delivery?
- What integrations are required with other enterprise systems to truly automate and transform your document processes?
- How are you measuring use and engagement? Have you established a feedback loop?
Once you answer these questions, you will need to find the vendor and solution that best meets your need. Given its long content-centric heritage, IDC believes that Quark and its end-to-end content automation solution should be given careful consideration. Though perhaps best known for its pioneering graphic design solutions, the company today offers a flexible, open platform of tools for closed-loop content lifecycle management, particularly suited for complex business documents delivered via multiple channels.
In today’s digital-first world, it’s time to build a smart content strategy!
Holly Muscolino is the Research Vice President, Content Strategies and the Future of Work for IDC, responsible for research related to innovation and transformation in content solutions, including intelligent document processing, esignature and other and content workflow services. Ms. Muscolino’s core coverage also includes work transformation and the role of technology in driving the Future of Work.