Content management in the modern organisation
Part 1 of 3
What is content management?
From wikipedia: Content management, or CM, is the set of processes and technologies that support the collection, managing, and publishing of information in any form or medium. In recent times this information is typically referred to as content or, to be precise, digital content. Digital content may take the form of text, such as documents, multimedia files, such as audio or video files, or any other file type which follows a content lifecycle which requires management.
A lot of the focus on content management these days are on the technology being used. We need to realise first however what content is. I don’t see content as the physical form or medium that is being managed, but rather the information and ideas that is represented by this medium. Once we move our focus away from the physical medium, we will get a better understanding as to the importance of content management.
Content management has been around for much longer than the technology we use today. In fact, the earliest example of successful content management is the rock paintings left by the cavemen. Those paintings were used to convey experiences, ideas and information back then between members of the tribe, and is still relevant to us today for research and understanding of our ancient ancestors. This reflects the real purpose of content management, the management of knowledge on different mediums available to everybody that needs to benefit from it.
Content management also can not be viewed in isolation, it is part of a bigger system, which must be aimed at collecting and managing the knowledge in an organisation. Just having a content management system and using it is a big file store is an extremely effective way of wasting money and inefficient at managing content. The goal of a system that manages ideas and information is to combine it into knowledge to be used by the employees in a company. Therefore the management of content must be a way of life for the employees, critical for them to finishing their daily tasks on time and with ever improving qaulity.
The infrastructure around a content management system needs as much attention and thought as the content management system itself. A good business process manager is needed to make sure that the unfiltered content is received by the people that must use it. And then you need to integrate it into the rest of your systems to make better use and sense on the data already available in the system. This is the first steps towards building knowledge in your organisation.
Employees must see content management as part of their daily work life, something they would want to do. Content management in the first place is not technology dependent, it is people dependent. If we had to wait for technology to do content management, we never would have had the rock paintings and the history of the human race would have been lost long ago. In todays era however, we can not just depend on people to do content management, there is just too much of it out there, it must be a colaborative effort by people and technology. Employees must embrace the technology and in turn the technology must make daily work easier for employees.
Advantage of content management
There are many reasons to have a content management system. Versioning, advanced security and collaboration are just some of the reasons. But to have an advantage, you would need a well integrated content management system. Most organisations today have a content management system, in fact, most organisations has more than one system in place. So by just having a content management system does not differentiate an organisation from it’s competition.
A content management system only becomes an advantage once it facilitates the transformation of information into knowledge. Every step and decision in the business is driven by content, this content can be anything from a new product design to a phone call. The advantage of a well integrated content management system is that these decisions will not only be based on content, but will be based on the knowledge accompanying the content.
Knowledge management must be seen in the same light as intellectual property. In fact, it must be part of the intellectual property and more than that, it must be available to employees when they need it. This is the advantage that a content management brings to an organisation, savings – a saving in time, a saving in cost, and a saving in the learning curve of the employees.
Content management can not be seen in isolation. If this is the case, there are very few advantages to having a content management system. But once content management is seen as the whole and part of the company culture, the advantages and benefits is what sets the company apart from it’s competition. A well integrated content management system is the first step to building a well structured knowledge base in the orgranisation of all employees involved. And that is what will set an organisation apart from it’s competition, and this differentiation is the advantage that a content management system can provide.