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Content Sprawl And How CIOs Can Manage It

For better or for worse, we’re in the middle of a digital transformation. The success of enterprise organizations depends on being able to manage content sprawl and share relevant information with employees.

Many of us are working remotely. Remember back to when you first set up your home office. Your desktop was probably clean and organized. Fast forward about 9 months, and your desk probably has piles of file folders, sticky notes on the wall, random pieces of paper, and a few used coffee cups.

Now consider the amount of data, content, and resources that have been accumulated by a single enterprise company. Today’s organizations are storing content in as many as 5-10 content management platforms – maybe even more!

According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day searching for content and gathering information. On average, that’s 9.3 hours per week! On top of that, searching for documents creates a resource drain that costs businesses $3,900 per employee each year in productivity losses. 

So, what can you do to stop this productivity loss? Technology can help you provide a solution designed to manage, store, and organize business documents in real time. An Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform can help your organization streamline business processes and make day-to-day operations more efficient.

READ MORE: 9 Reasons To Adopt An Enterprise Content Management Platform

What causes content sprawl?

We are bringing in data from everywhere – the internet of things, mobile apps, websites, social media, and more. We use email platforms, share PDFs with customers and colleagues, and write blogs and thought leadership articles. The list goes on and on.

Not to mention that most companies are sitting somewhere between the holy grail of content and complete chaos. We share documents across multiple CMS platforms, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Slack , Sharepoint, WordPress  – you get the idea.

Here are typical signs of content sprawl:

  • Users can’t find the documents they need
  • Search results don’t help find the right information
  • Employees bug coworkers or other departments for documents
  • Duplicated content and incorrect document versions

So, how do you overcome content sprawl?

Why is it so important to fix content sprawl? Productivity is negatively impacted when employees spend too much time searching for the right document.

Here are 8 ways to manage your content sprawl and increase productivity, engage employees, and encourage collaboration:

Consolidate and migrate legacy content

Organizations may have legacy systems that are storing content up to 20 years old. Even after new content management systems have been created, companies still hang on to the old infrastructure. As newer technologies take over, multiple content management systems may still exit. Now is the time to reduce the clutter and combine the systems into one single repository so that everyone has access to the same information.

Complete a content audit

Enterprise organizations can set up content audits to determine where important information and documents are housed. Oftentimes, content is siloed in different departments or divisions, adding another level of complexity of content. An inventory can be created to determine where the documents reside, such as in sales or marketing departments or in specific business units. Content can be evaluated as ROT – redundant, outdated, and trivial – and if it doesn’t pass the test it should be deleted or archived.

Establish clear goals

You must begin with your purpose and establishing goals. It’s important that you have clear expectations and are able to focus on a specific problem area. For instance, start with human resources or the marketing department and create small goals to tighten up sprawl in these areas. It may be slow going at first, but you will soon see positive results.

Organize dynamic content

Your employees can cause content sprawl by how they manage and share files for their day-to-day work. Most of today’s content storage solutions cause content sprawl. That’s because the end users may create multiple versions of the same document. For instance, Sally creates a sales document in Google Drive. She emails it to coworker to review and provide changes. The coworker renames the document, makes changes, and sends it back Sally. Now there are three versions of it – the original in Google Drive, the email version, and the coworker’s new document.

Eliminate unnecessary content

Think of it as spring cleaning. Over the winter, you’ve gathered clutter in your closets, such as winter clothes you no longer wear, empty Amazon boxes from online shopping, and coats, gloves, hats, etc. that have gathered up over the winter months. Everything should have its own place to live. Now is the time to clean up the irrelevant content so that employees can find the information they need.

Incorporate the right tools

Choosing the right tools is critical to content management success. Cloud content management should be part of your strategy and will allow you to connect all of your systems and streamline how work gets done. Moving from on-premise date storage to the cloud provides a central repository so you can collect, cleanse, store, and retrieve your data. Your content will be secure, but also easily searchable so employees can locate, retrieve, and utilize the content they need.

Create a streamlined process for remote teams

Everything is going digital these days. Your remote workers need you to fight for them to have the access they need to do their jobs. You must provide clear access to the content they need and create a streamlined process to retrieve it. Content sprawl stands in the way of progress for enterprise organizations. It’s important that you fight content sprawl and take back control of your content.

READ MORE: Enterprise Leaders: Let’s Take Advantage Of Remote Work

Consider an enterprise mobile platform

At CatalystXL, we want to help you quickly and easily share information and foster collaboration across your entire organization – with employees and customers alike. We can deliver a no code, custom branded enterprise mobile platform that unlocks answers and provides insights via our Cardware™ platform – sharing categorized content in a powerful flashcard format.

Book a demo today!