The distributed ownership of content inside an organisation can present problems for marketers. It is just as important for brands to address this issue as it is to find the best technological solution to break down the issues.

According to Andrew Lomas, director and co-founder at Creative Folks By nature of the way teams work in silos and the processes they have adopted over time, there can be some reluctance to share the content they have created for fear of misuse or of potentially exposing to other teams their ‘dirty laundry’.”

This, he says, is a normal human response but also a reminder of the need to create a Leadership team. “This should include representatives from each department, and the idea is to educate everyone on the bigger goal of the organisation.

He made the comments during his presentation in the Sitecore Content Conversations series. “Once they understand the ‘vision’ it’s easier to describe the benefits of having an omnichannel content approach to everyone,” Lomas says.

“Essentially, this will be a transformation project at heart. That means working with each of the distributed teams to understand their current state, their own pain points, and needs and then overlaying them with other departments as part of a discovery and workflow analysis before considering the technology.”

Andrew Lomas, director, and co-founder, Creative Folks

He also recommends content process transformation requires senior executive sponsorship. “Ideally, that should be someone who is respected amongst all the owners and is willing to stick to the vision for it to be successful.”

That leader needs to be able to massage both the technical and political issues that arise.

“And sometimes it is technical,” he said. “The server in the Design department is a Mac, and only the design team can access it and so the other team on Windows PC’s need to have content ‘thrown over the wall’ somehow,” he says by way of example.

“In other cases it’s political, and people fear that someone might ‘break’ or ‘not understand’ why the files are in the current state, and they may misuse them, so they feel the need to put a physical gate in the way. Frankly, there is a perception that being asked for access to content and the time and inconvenience that brings is still safer than making it accessible.”

Chaos theory

Without an overarching workflow, your content is just a collection of files.  “So we use folders and naming conventions to understand where in the process that file belongs. You need to break down the misconceptions that drive human behaviour and use technology to allow people better processes so that only the approved and most up to date content is shared.

Succeed, and we can stop ‘hunting’ and wasting time.”

Lomas also discussed the difficulties companies face quantifying the cost of inefficiency, for instance, in an area like approvals and sign-off. Yet having this understanding would help marketers get sign off for a business case.

“Approvals and the steps needed to manage the rounds and versions of content it produces is a good place to start quantifying. Analyse each step and do some time and click analysis as I call it. How many different applications and clicks are needed for each step of the process, how many emails need to be read, digested, and then overlaid with feedback from other people and the time it takes to do all of this.”

“In a recent Discovery analysis we did, the amount of money we conservatively saved was  $950K a year plus reduced need for freelancers.

That didn’t include intangibles like being able to add better value by using the team’s talents to advance their customer experiences and being more competitive, he said. 

“The savings are significant and with the other business benefits, it can make a compelling argument to justify a business case for the investment in both the technology and process change.”

Inefficiencies

During his presentation, Lomas spoke about the different stages for content such as requests, planning, triage, approval and revision, and was asked which of these stages has the most inefficiency.

“It’s typically the requests and Triage stages with the back and forth of getting all the information needed and asking for clarifications. Each person typically briefs differently, and some are more thorough than others in handing over requests. Trying to work out what is actually needed and ensuring enough time has been allowed is an admin battle.”

According to Lomas, “A job that takes 30 mins to action and complete, might take an hour of back and forth to get all the info. Also, Approvals are notorious for managing revisions, edits and corrections. Quite often people are responding to an approval request from two revisions ago and maybe these were already incorporated into the later one or they may need to even go back and incorporate the edits as no one else spotted it or it was a legal override.”

To here all of Andrew Lomas’s presentation, and to find the rest of the presentations in the series visit Sitecore Content Conversations

This article was produced by the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit, our commercial content arm.

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