Content management moves beyond crisis-response

The pandemic will continue to shape content management strategies well into the future, so it’s wise for companies to invest in future-proofing content processes.
Monique Williams, Hyland.

We are all assured that the severity of the COVID-19 crisis will wane, at some stage, but its impact on content management strategies and content-related processes will continue to be felt long after it has subsided.

Forrester Consulting notes that while more decision-makers cite budget constraints this year, a majority will maintain or increase their investment in modernising their content management practices over the next two years.

The Forrester survey reveals that about half of business leaders intend to grow their content management budget in this period, with 53% planning to increase their investment in cloud content platforms and 45% estimated to do the same for their mobile and employee productivity capabilities.

Investing in future-proofing content processes in this way is a wise choice. Forrester predicts the ‘roaring 2020s’ will be dominated by systemic risks related to disease outbreaks, political instability and climate change-related disasters as our global society becomes increasingly interconnected.

It foresees that as the immediate crisis fades, an opportunity emerges to design a content management strategy that can respond to emerging business needs as the standard operating mode, not just as a crisis-response.

Today’s environment requires technology that is ‘future-fit’ and rooted in customer-centric strategies that are capable of unprecedented levels of adaptivity, creativity and resilience.

Some 64% of decision-makers are prioritising content services with granular capabilities and APIs, often delivered in a flexible software platform, allowing developers and designers to create document- or process-rich content applications.

Modern content platforms continue to displace and extend the monolithic enterprise content management suites of the past two decades.

Modern content platforms continue to displace and extend the monolithic enterprise content management suites of the past two decades, particularly as demand for cloud-friendly platforms grows.

Forrester’s research indicates decision-makers continue to see content services as a vehicle to modernise their content practices and advance digital goals, especially those related to cloud services, data and analytics, collaboration, security, agile development and artificial intelligence. Content services support customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX) and resiliency.

The pandemic has unquestionably grown consumers’ digital adoption and employees’ expectations for employer technologies. Forrester found that the top objectives for content management are amalgamating around experience improvements, as its research findings revealed that CX and EX not only appear among the top objectives driving strategies, but are also the ones with the greatest increase in the last year.

Decision-makers today are more likely to cite CX and EX improvements as a content services benefit realised or expected, with over 50% believing it can improve their ability to manage customer enquiries and provide more personalised experiences. Over 50% also say that with content services, employees can more easily use content as a source of data for insight.

They can also utilise processes for creating, securing, storing, or disposing of content in line with laws/regulations; moreover, this can be streamlined.

Finally, respondents who prioritised content services derive the benefit of greater resiliency. Those that have thus far faced little or no pandemic disruption are twice as likely to be making content services a “top” priority.

Content service platforms’ true potential is unlocked when strategies are built on four key pillars:

  1. Agile adaptivity: Technology that is agile by design and provides the organisation with greater freedom to respond and adjust processes to meet evolving customer demands and business needs.
  2. Intelligent automation: Built-in logic, robust workflow, and learning abilities to anticipate user/customer needs and enable smarter processes, equipping the organisation to be more productive and efficient.
  3. Tailored solutions: Solutions built on a foundation of deep customer, process and industry experience.
  4. Reimagined business models/processes: Applying technology to enable new types of offerings, products and processes.

However, due in large part to the COVID-19 stress test, the Forrester survey revealed that fewer respondents believe their organisation is executing well on the capabilities that underpin these four pillars, when compared to how they felt a year ago. Notably, only about half or less reported the following outcomes from their company’s content processes:

  • The use of active data for insights into how new products and services are offered.
  • Access to a broad range of functionality in content solutions to address a range of needs.
  • Interoperability across multiple content platforms.
  • Rapid deployment of new applications to address changing needs.

However, as in any turbulent time, especially now when decision-makers’ confidence is rattled, segments of leading businesses continued to shine. The survey found that 80% of those that have adopted content services and report above-average performance against the four pillars describe their digital transformation strategy as successful.

This represents a 19-point gulf over followers (content services users that don’t have above-average scores in all four areas) and a 41-point surge over laggards (those that have not yet adopted content services).

On average, fewer than half of laggards exceeded the expectations of their customers or employees – even occasionally – as compared to over 70% of leaders.

Finally, leaders are not only less likely to report severe pandemic disruption: 21% of them report moderate or significant disruption, relative to 38% of followers and 36% of laggards but they are also more likely to rate their ability to respond to any disruption favourably.

In my final article in this series, I will reveal why cloud, artificial intelligence and external partners will grow in importance.

Read more