Many organizations struggle with what is commonly referred to as “content” management. Content management is about ensuring that people get the exact information they need, when they want it and in the easiest way.
There a two core challenges with trying to establish a content management system.
- -There is a vast wealth of information generated in most organizations, some relevant, some not so much.
- – There are many potential consumers of information, all of whom have different needs concerning what they need, how they access it and when they want to use it.
In the past, organizations have attempted to address this problem through IT solutions — typically commercially available Content Management searchable databases (CMS). The underlying premise of these CMS systems is that a huge amount of content is generated and consumed, making it impossible to differentiate between the content and the consumer. While many CMS offerings have a capability to limit access and use various content typologies to organize the content, their core design could be characterized as any possible data, for any possible person or used at any possible time. The difficulties of trying to develop and implement such a complex, all-inclusive system becomes obvious and they rarely work.
One aspect of working with star performers is that they are ferocious and highly focused consumers of content. This has led us to examine what type of content they need and how they go about getting it, which produced an alternative way to approach content management. Our approach has been proven to be much more successful in creating an effective content management than most CMS.
The key idea behind a star performer-based approach is to understand that Content Management occurs as part of a complex content ecosystem. This ecosystem includes:
- – Consumers of content
- – Generators of content (both approved and informal)
- – A permissions process to separate approved from informal content
- – A permissions system to separate approved from unapproved users of the content
- – An access system to find the content
- – An searchable database that stores the content
- Most content management initiatives only focus on the searchable database, ignoring the larger ecosystem, which is one of the reasons they fail. However, by focusing on how the stars consume content, it becomes possible to drive the creation of the complete environment. Here’s how it works:
- – Go to 10-12 star performers in a critical role.
- – Ask each one to identify 1-2 critical instances where they successfully used content or were missing a critical
- piece of content. This will produce about 20 possible instances of content use.
- – Have each of them describe their top priority instance. Where was it? Who were they using it with? What was
- – Focus in on the specific content they used. What was it? Where did they get it? Were there any issues? This
- needs to be very specific.
- – Select 1-2 of the instances as the most important
- – Now use these high priority instances as drivers for defining and building the overall ecosystem – one section
- at a time including defining who are the generators (approved and informal) of the content, who approves the
- content, who can access it, how is it accessed, how is it stored and how is it used.
Remember, do NOT try to do more than 1-2 instances or try to combine them. Focusing on just a few instances of content use to define an entire content management ecosystem will be hard enough without expanding the scope. Once you have used these instances to define your overall system, add a few more instances and repeat the process.
Of course, this means that some important content will be delayed, leaving many people unhappy. But, by focusing on a few driving instances and using them to define the entire system, your organization can create real, effective content management – something that can’t be done just by purchasing a database.
Is your content management process working for you? If not, we’re here to help you develop an information protocol to better manage it!