Without a well-defined enterprise content strategy, your enterprise will face unwieldy content burdens and poorly secured data, draining your IT resources. No one from executives to satellite workers will ever be able to find mission-critical information, and your productivity and profits will go down the tubes.
Now that I have your attention, here is how to avoid that dark and dangerous future. In case you’re already there – maybe your original information architecture went horribly awry – an enterprise content strategy will also help you get back on track.
In Part I of this blog series, we discussed the first steps in developing an enterprise content strategy – content assessment and user research. Here in Part II, we will explain how to transform that data into a data-driven strategy for building a portal in accordance with industry best practices. The rest of the series will cover implementation and governance.
Since you have completed your content assessment and user research, you have all the information you need to develop an enterprise content strategy. The data gives you a clear picture of where you are right now, so the strategy comes in deciding where you want to be. (When we get to Part III, implementing your enterprise content strategy, we cover the steps it will take you to get there.)
Depending on your current content position, of course, your intranet might face some problems. Here are some common scenarios:
- You may simply need to refresh your existing intranet, or it may require a complete do-over.
- Out-of-the-box SharePoint might not meet all your needs, and it’s time to consider some customization.
- You have a lot of unfindable, unused, and/ or unnecessary content that is a burden to maintain, and your best content may be locked away in departmental silos.
- Your document workflow in particular is hurting rather than helping employee productivity.
- The security of key enterprise data is at risk.
If these are your problems, then reviewing your user research will help you identify solutions. A solid content strategy is all about the user, and the personas developed in your user research will help you keep your worker in mind at all times. For example, will Persona A use this feature? What about Persona B? In what situations will the feature be used, and in what sequences of action? Which is the more critical need, and which feature should you develop first? What is Persona A’s most highly valued information? What is their least – and how many of the other personas share this characteristic?
Once you understand your users’ priorities and goals, you can build the best possible intranet to serve their needs. Overall, the best portal you can build is a system that helps your enterprise and your workers evolve and adapt in response to disruption, change, and competition, while facilitating both productivity and innovation.
Industry Best Practices
A solid content strategy not only keeps users at its heart, but incorporates industry best practices. A recent Forrester brief outlined some of the major requirements for a next-generation portal. Each item also has implications for enterprise content strategy:
- Content creation and maintenance. The key is that content tools can be delegated to business units and SMEs, rather than controlled by IT. Options range from traditional publishing to document workflows and multimedia capacity.
- Searchable business content. For search to work well, your content cannot be fragmented over several locations. Your employees also need to be able to search for all content from one place. Period.
- Enterprise social. Your worker found or created an important piece of information – now, can they share it and collaborate effectively not just with their team, but also contribute to the knowledge base of the rest of the enterprise?
- Integration and access. Can your portal incorporate line-of-business data and processes? This content is critical to many business workers.
By the way, given skyrocketing mobile usage rates, portals also need to play nicely with responsive design. The odds are excellent that your workers are checking in at all times of the day and night, often through their phones or tablets.
Good news – the research and strategic analysis for your enterprise content strategy are now complete. The next two blogs offer recommendations on designing and planning your intranet with SharePoint 2013, as well as tips on content creation and system governance.