Disruption is a natural part of business. We’re sure film projectors complained about VHS tapes, just like CD manufacturers complained about MP3 players, Barnes & Noble complained about Amazon, and taxis complain about Uber.
Which is why enterprises are constantly looking for efficiencies; efficiencies in how they offer their products and services, how they build and manage new processes, and how they grow and acquire new customers.
So what’s the next great efficiency for enterprises? We think it has to do with unlocking their content. Here’s why.
First, what is content?
Before we press on any further, it’s worth taking a minute to remind ourselves what “content” is.
When most people think of content, they think of content marketing: blog posts, articles, videos — you know, customer-facing work.
But content is (and can be) so much more powerful than a tool to drive leads.
Content can include:
- Tools to drive sales (as previously mentioned)
- Sales enablement tools (white papers, scripts, presentation decks, training manuals)
- Product documentation
- Process documentation to empower employee self-help and engagement
- User-generated content, both public-facing (e.g. social media conversations about your organization) and internally (e.g. comments, suggestions, and recommendations)
Content is any piece of information that an organization produces that might be useful to themselves or their customers.
So now that we know what it is, how can organizations use it to be more efficient?
Make Content Searchable
The best thing enterprises can do for their efficiency is to make their content searchable.
By reducing the time it takes for an employee to find what they’re looking for, enterprise organizations can immediately realize staffing efficiencies.
This is valuable for two reasons.
First, scale. Enterprise organizations are typically sufficiently large that even a small efficiency gain in time or cost can have a serious impact on the bottom line. Japanese auto manufacturing is a prime example of this, where tiny optimizations around tool placement or worker movements are used to try and shave seconds off production time.
Those seconds add up, and the same is true when staff are looking for content like:
- Sales teams trying to find the right white paper to send to a client
- Marketing teams looking for the right image to upload with a blog post
- HR teams looking for the right employee on-boarding guide ("the 2017 version, not the 2016 version").
These sorts of activities take time — and time costs money.
Second, by making content searchable and transparent, enterprises can gain a much clearer picture of the assets they have and what they don’t. This can vastly increase content repurposing, driving down the cost of creating new content as well as increasing transparency across departments.
For instance, finance and marketing might both have slightly different guides on how to process purchase orders. By making content more searchable, those sorts of duplications can be caught and expunged to move organizations closer to a single source of truth.
Make content device-, location-, and asset-agnostic
Aside from locating the right content to use and knowing when to use it, enterprises face a second potentially enormous efficiency gain with content.
Most enterprises are still stuck in developing content for specific channels.
Organizations might build out a mobile website, a desktop website, and an app, all with different content production teams.
The thing is, a lot (if not most) of that content will repeat itself — but under existing structures, it is relegated to only be used on a single device.
The same relationship exists with content locations. For instance, let's say an enterprise is moving. They’ll need to change their address on every single instance where it’s mentioned, like their terms of service, legal agreements, website footers, app About Us pages, and more.
But within that lies spectacular efficiencies. If content can be unlocked from where it’s stored and move into a free-floating, searchable structure, then enterprises are much more capable of reusing it when and where they need it.
More importantly, it means that the time, energy, and money that goes into maintaining content falls dramatically. By facilitating a ‘change once, change everywhere’ mentality, keeping content up to date is fast and easy.
Enterprises should be routinely looking for ways to optimize their operations, products, and services to be more efficient. And content is the next big space for optimization.
Many enterprises have effectively locked their content into immobile, clunky formats — formats that can only be used in one place, where it’s impossible to search everything; where duplication is common, and keeping everything up to date and accurate translates to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
But that’s beginning to change. The introduction of content services platforms (CSPs) are making content easier to search, reducing production costs with repurposing, clearing up duplications, and making content easier to manage and use as customers and staff move across devices and ecosystems.
Enterprises are always looking to stay ahead of the curve. And right now, that means unlocking their content.