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Content management in the modern organisation

Part 2 of 3

Pitfalls and other disasters

A lack of vision might just be the biggest pitfall facing content management. Too often content management stays stagnant and is left to one or two people to manage and maintain in their spare time. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the aim of content management?
  • What are the objectives of our content management?
  • How does content management support and improve our organisation?
  • How do users perceive and interact with content management?

The answers to these questions will lead you to a content management vision. This vision will then crystallise into a content management strategy that will support and improve the organisation. Critical to the content management strategy is a strong and focused management that understand the importance of achieving and supporting this strategy. Once content management is embraced by the organisation culture you have achieved some of your goals, and avoided a number of possible disasters.

There are many disasters that can derail content management in the organisation. These disasters range from loss of your database, physical content loss, or a complete loss of confidence in content management as a whole. Even the best system can stagnate to nothing more than an expensive shared drive within two or three years of use. Make content management part of your business systems and business flows. Again, your vision and strategy need to be solid, many of these disasters can be avoided with pre-emptive thought and action.

Do the research! All technologies in the organisation need to move forward and improve. It need to change and grow with the organisation. There are ample white papers on content management on the internet, read what other organisations are doing and what benefits they get out of content management. This research will help you formulating your vision and strategy, it will also help you with aligning content management to best support the organisation in achieving its targets and objectives.

A word of warning though, any content management system that is not continuously maintained and improve will stagnate quickly into obscurity.

There are a number of role players in your content management cycle, find out what they want and how they want to use it:

  • External parties, they are the people creating and using your content. How do they want to send content to you, and how do they want to receive content from you.
  • Employees, they either extract information from content, or create the content to gather information. What tools do they want and how can you increase their efficiency.
  • Management, their role is to transform information into knowledge. How, where and when do they want to participate in content, information and knowledge management.
  • Senior management, they need the knowledge to make decisions and implement strategies. How must the knowledge be presented to them, and with what frequency.

Once you have answers to these questions, you are ready to create your content management strategy. Your content management strategy should support your vision and facilitate the implementation and management of content management in the organisation.

The first steps

As stated earlier, content management is already part of the organisation, whether this is done within a technical solution or not. The important thing to remember is that content management need to grow and change with your business, and any solution you consider must be looked at with this in mind. Even if you have a current technical solution that manages your content management, always remember that there is room for improvement.

Map every business process in your organisation

  • Don’t optimize, just map each process. Any optimization you want to do, do it on paper first, test the physical process before it becomes part of your business process.
  • Focus on all the interactions with the process, where its an automated interaction and where people interact with the system. This will provide you a map with the integrations you need, whether it is to a back-end system or to a user interface.
  • Map the content to the business processes, and more importantly, what content and information is needed where. This will greatly facilitate the indexing of content which would lead to the first level of information.
  • Classify the content types according to the type of content and where you will need it in the business process.

Start small, it is easier to grow on a good foundation

  • Start with the most automated business flows, this will help you implementing your integrations at the outset and have a subtle yet powerfull effect on your users when they start to consume content while working with data.
  • Score each flow on user interaction, what type of users are using this flow, and what type of feedback are you likely to receive from them.
  • The less users involve the easier the change management process, especially in the beginning, and with each new enhancement there will be experienced users that can assist new users.

After each implementation, evaluate the results, determine whether you get the results and feedback you envisioned.

  • What is the experience of the users, does the implementation facilitate or hamper their work.
  • What is the quality of the information and knowledge you get from the process and is it in line with your vision and strategy.

Invest in training, it’s expensive, time consuming but critical. It might just be the difference between people embracing or opposing content management. Make use of online videos, a blog and information on the internal intranet. Training does not need to be structured classroom type of training, also don’t force people into structured training. Titbits of training, a little every day will have a better and longer lasting effect on your workforce than a structured classroom type of training. Employees sees structured training as a problem and waste of their time, breaking training down into fun sections is the way to go.

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