Despite the promise of new technologies, effective enterprise content management feels more elusive than ever for a lot of companies. Part of the challenge is that there is simply more content produced than there used to be.
While organizations still have huge quantities of documents, employees are embracing new ways to record and share information which is everything from wikis and social media to websites and videos.
These new formats open the door for more dynamic, interactive communication. But they also create content management hurdles, especially since the content tends to be unstructured and trapped in different systems.
But even beyond that, the way people access and consume content is changing to reflect a workforce that is increasingly hurried, mobile and collaborative. No one wants to read long reports or manuals any more. Employees demand just the information they need in the format they want. They assume the enterprise search function will work like Google, regardless of technical constraints, security restrictions, and cultural norms about how different parts of the business share information. And they expect content to be delivered to them seamlessly no matter where they are, what network they are on, or what device they’re using.
Organizations need to anticipate content needs and link people to the best information to support their jobs.
Putting Content in the Flow of Work
The best practice organizations use a range of tools in pursuit of the elusive goal of “findability”. It is everything from advanced search solutions to intricately crafted taxonomies and hand-picked search results for particular keywords.
However, making it easy for employees to retrieve content from repositories is only half the battle. To get the most value out of content, the best practice organizations must put it directly in the path of employees so they can access it in the context of what they are doing at a given moment.
Many best practice organizations build templates, guidelines, best practices and FAQs directly into business processes and applications and all either mandate or strongly encourage employees to use that content in the context of their jobs.
What does it mean to build content directly into business processes and applications? It depends on how an organization is structured and the type of work it does. For companies that operate according to well-defined business processes, it might mean arranging content in line with process documentation so people can drill down into information on specific tasks and activities.
But if a company's work revolves around client projects, it may want to push content directly to project team sites so relevant resources are immediately available to people in the field delivering projects. Still other companies embed how-to information, FAQs, and tips and tricks into software applications where employees do their work.
One of the most direct ways to incorporate content into the flow of work is by inserting it directly into enterprise applications where employees enter data, complete tasks and interact with customers. Companies can integrate procedures, job aids, templates and links to customer folders into the account management system and service portal so client service consultants have relevant information at their fingertips.
Underwriting content is similarly embedded in software for sales quotes and renewals. Content integration is customized by job role so that guidance is based on the specific role and workflow in question. The integration points provide a fast track to relevant resources, ensuring that employees benefit from collective knowledge even if they’re in the middle of a quote or speaking with a customer.
Provide Mobile Access with Mobile Apps
The other key to putting content into the flow of work is to make sure that people can access that content when they are working, even if they are not in a traditional office environment.
All the best practice organizations provide native mobile applications enabling access to enterprise content, regardless of location. Those apps are significantly more effective than mobile browsers, which are how most organizations currently provide access to content.
Content apps offer the same search and filtering capabilities available on desktop computers, which means employees have similar experiences in both contexts. Some apps are read-only, but others let people upload data or comments.
Regardless of the specific functionality provided, the best practice organizations agree that mobile access increases engagement and makes it more likely that employees will access content when they need it.
Of course, when you start putting enterprise IP and data on smartphones and tablets, security becomes very important. The best practice organizations have thought a lot about protecting content in the mobile environment, and each has its own strategy, such as for example a secure firewall that requires login credentials.
But despite the challenges, mobile access is necessary. Organizations can’t ignore the risks, but they have to move forward. Employees expect to interact with enterprise information from their devices, and employers must deliver mobile access if they want to reap the full benefit of their content.
The best practice organizations do everything they can to ensure that relevant content is delivered directly to employees in the course of their work.
Galaxy Consulting has 17 years experience in connecting content with people and delivering it to employees when they need it to do their jobs.