Disruption is accelerating digital ambitions

Businesses must elevate content management practices to satisfy the growing need to engage in more innovative, reliable, efficient and flexible ways.
Read time 4min 40sec

The pandemic has ushered in a long period of physical distancing, which in turn has heightened everyone’s – consumers and employees alike − need to communicate, transact and work digitally.

This is according to the findings of a Forrester Consulting survey that aimed to evaluate the state of organisations’ content management strategies, and also examined the role modern content services can play in advancing digital objectives and enhancing the experience of customers and employees.

While vaccines have slowly ushered in some return to normality, organisational strategies, including those for content management and content-centric processes, will be forever changed. Companies need to prepare for the next business stress test with content services.

Basically, if businesses are to succeed, they must elevate their content management practices – only in this way will they satisfy this growing need to engage in more innovative, reliable, efficient and flexible ways.

Given the challenges with which they are grappling, it’s no surprise that decision-makers are more critical of their digital transformation efforts than they were a year ago, when the Forrester research revealed 48% rated their digital transformation as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ successful.

Many are now said to be doubling down on the priority they’re placing on their digital initiatives. On average, about 50% or more have already completely or significantly evolved their content management strategy to account for various trends in the market.

Meanwhile, some organisations have had to make trade-offs between the digital initiatives they can prioritise; over a third are accelerating mobile, agile development, AI and automation aspects of their content management strategy specifically due to the pandemic and other disruptive events.

Acceleration is greatest for cloud computing and digitisation of business processes. Cloud-based apps and services are better suited to serve distributed and remote workforces and ease information exchange among both internal and external stakeholders.

Digitisation of essential processes, while historically a top driver for content management investment, becomes even more important as organisations seek to eliminate lingering paper dependencies.

Some companies are still lagging

A growing number of decision-makers are reported to appreciate content services’ strategic value, with leading organisations said to be faring better in today’s disruptive environment. However, its full potential remains largely untapped for many, with disruption driving businesses to examine their content and processes in a new light.

The extraordinary start to the 2020s, which was characterised by instability in the form of social and political unrest, climate-related disasters and a deadly pandemic, has forced businesses around the world to adapt to a new normal – in fact, this term is now almost a cliché.

More than ever, companies need flexible, reliable and secure content access to engage with internal and external stakeholders.

Traditional tactics face obsolescence and the threat to business stability is very real. Over a three-year period, the Forrester survey reports a steady mind-shift around content and content-centric processes among decision-makers.

They have moved from simply addressing back-office goals related to compliance and storage, to the realisation that content management’s value has expanded to address strategic objectives like serving customers with differentiated experiences and promoting employee productivity.

This trend has continued into 2021. More than ever, companies need flexible, reliable and secure content access to engage with internal and external stakeholders. However, a shrinking minority report their content processes align with this vision.

Critical processes − including external content sharing and maintaining security/privacy standards − are even more likely to be challenging issues.

The pandemic has played a large role in this confidence decline. Only 16% of those surveyed report facing no pandemic disruption. For the rest, this event upended day-to-day operations due to:

  • The obvious and immediate shift to remote work, leaving organisations − virtually overnight − scrambling to offer content access to a majority-remote workforce. Challenges finding critical information hidden in information silos and difficulty accessing internal systems or storage by remote workers meant valuable employee time was wasted in the search for required information.
  • A concurrent increase in content management complexity as users have moved to remote working, with the volume and diversity of data being shared growing considerably − along with security concerns. Some companies have been exposed due to a lack of coordinated governance, while others have struggled to wrangle numerous content management systems or partners, resulting in uneven content distribution and protections.
  • A collapse of paper-based processes. Processes that are critical to day-to-day operations but that assume workers and files are in the same place have crumbled with most or all employees working from home. Paper-reliant or highly manual processes – where digitisation had been deferred – have caused immense headaches for decision-makers who have struggled to migrate content and integrate with newer systems.
  • A loss of resources and expertise. Revenue declines and economic uncertainty have put pressure on budgets – to put it mildly, with many businesses reporting a lack of budget as an obstacle to leveraging their content effectively. Resource spending that was once easy to approve is now subject to greater scrutiny.

In my next article, I will explain why the pandemic will continue to shape content management strategies well into the future.

Monique Williams

Southern Africa regional sales manager for Hyland Software.

Monique Williams is the South Africa Country Manager for Hyland Software, where she is responsible for sales on Hyland's Content Services platform.

She has in excess of 20 years' experience in the information technology sector and holds an Honours Degree in Marketing Management and a Bachelor of Social Science in General Psychology, Industrial and Organisational Psychology, from the University of Cape Town.

Williams has worked for Hyland Software for over a decade and in that time, has been partner manager for UK and Scandinavia, and business development manager in South Africa. Her duties in her current role include generating revenue for Hyland Software by establishing and leading the execution of a plan to market, as well as managing existing and newly recruited partners in Southern Africa. Since being appointed to this role, she has increased sales revenue and has achieved year-on-year growth of a minimum of 30%.

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