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Magazines > Information Today > October 2021

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Information Today
Vol. 38 No. 8 — October 2021
INSIDER'S PERSPECTIVE
Improving Content Management to Maximize the Value of Information Assets
by Carl Robinson

The ultimate goal of any business is efficiency. Efficiency allows organizations to successfully innovate, meet business goals, and gain competitive advantage. For organizations that rely on content for driving revenue, this means they must be able to quickly discover, manage, and reuse this content. 

The truth is, we create and share content in silos. If we think of the range of professionals within a single organization who develop and manage volumes of mission-critical content—knowledge managers, marketing professionals, learning and development leaders—they all invest in a wide range of resources. From internal content such as guidelines, templates, and job instructions to external licensed content such as databases, each piece of content is often unindexed and stored in numerous places throughout the organization, including on Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox. This makes finding that content challenging.

In order to maximize the value of both internal and external digital information assets, organizations must eliminate data silos to make content more discoverable and agile and, in turn, improve the efficiency of content development workflows.

ELIMINATING DATA SILOS

When we think of business efficiency, we think of producing more with less, whether it be time or resources. In the context of content management, this means eliminating friction in finding the right piece of content an employee needs for a specific task. For a salesperson, this might be accessing the right product guide before finalizing a sale. For a human resources professional, this could be retrieving an employee handbook before preparing to onboard a new hire. 

Regardless of role or department, each employee relies on some sort of content in order to do a job effectively. In Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she urges readers to pare down belongings. While the key takeaway of this directive is to help us feel more inspired, content managers can take this concept to declutter their own content and start using it more efficiently. The first step in tidying up content is to conduct an audit of the entire organization’s content library. While it may take time to track down every piece of content, this helps you understand what content you have and how much of it you have. Once this step is complete, you can then figure out how that content should be organized.

A single piece of content can be consumed in a variety of ways. For example, a product guide can be used for both marketing and sales collateral. Approaching content organization with these various formats in mind and organizing content in a format-agnostic way will provide greater flexibility when it comes to using and reusing that content. The way to add real value to content is through metadata: information that relates to location, descriptions, copyright, and any other data that will help future users find that content based on specific details.  

RETHINKING CONTENT DEVELOPMENT WORKFLOWS

If we take a peek under the hood of most organizations’ content development procedures, they usually consist of antiquated, monolithic systems that require lengthy and sequential workflow processes that take days until the content can be published. These workflow processes also often include multiple review cycles and gateways with rigid and constraining steps. What’s more, they offer limited-to-no traceability, making it impossible to see who interacts with an asset, to identify its versioning or rendition history, or even to search for it effectively.

With the right content management platform, employees can easily author, edit, and collaborate on content. The content management system should also be able to:

  • Track and manage the details of any piece of content from start to finish, from authoring, editing, and approval to publication, promotion, and reporting 
  • Streamline revision and approval workflows to ensure content is up-to-date and that there are no redundancies. This establishes a single source of truth, which will significantly reduce the chance for errors to occur and the number of hours spent correcting those errors.
  • Provide centralized overviews for content-processing teams and enable efficient handovers of information
  • Support faster workflows for content updates and changes
  • Rapidly assemble existing content assets into new products for new audiences

When thinking about efficiency, many businesses overlook their content management systems, structures, and workflows. By eliminating data silos and rethinking how to manage content, an organization effectively increases its teams’ agility to create, use, and reuse the information assets that keep the business moving.


Lois WasoffCarl Robinson, senior director of presales and consulting at Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), has been in publishing since 1995 and has worked for Pearson Education, Macmillan Education, and Oxford University Press. At CCC, Robinson’s focus is on helping clients look at business vision, goals, and strategies around their content and tooling to enable flexibility and readiness to meet the ever-changing demands of the digital market. Send your comments about this article to itletters@infotoday.com or tweet us (@ITINewsBreaks).