What is Content Enablement? Five Essential Factors to Consider

What is Content Enablement?

This is part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of contributed columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories. In this submission, Templafy co-founder Christian Lund offers answers to the question “What is content enablement?” with five essential factors to consider.

Premium Content BadgeIn today’s digital HQ, content is the lifeblood of business and requires a significant amount of attention from each and every employee. Each department – sales, marketing, legal, etc. – is responsible for creating and housing content to do their jobs, all of which must be up-to-date with the latest branding and compliant with regulatory requirements.

“Content enablement” is emerging to solve for this. The term can be defined as technology that allows content to find people within their workflows, not the other way around. Enabled content means all materials created are accurate, on-brand, and compliant with business standards, and it drives growth with meaningful insights assets across the entire organization. In short, this tech helps businesses get the most value out of their content.

For a better understanding of what content enablement is and why it matters, let’s dive into its four pillars and a comprehensive look at the state of business content in the modern enterprise.

Content is Everything 

In the digital HQ, content is everywhere and everything. It isn’t just static documents that live in Microsoft Word anymore; now content lives throughout an entire organization’s tech stack. And, as the way we do business evolves, so too has the definition of business content.

A whopping 94 percent of US-based respondents to Templafy’s Content Is Everything Report agreed that given the increasing amount of work interactions that occur in a digital environment, “everything is content.”  This includes productivity assets (35 percent said is content) and even classification and metadata (33 percent said is content).

But this new reality of content comes with new challenges for today’s enterprises. Searching through repositories for the right logo or compliance disclaimer used to be somewhat difficult and time-consuming, but with so many digital technologies outputting and storing enormous amounts of content and data, tracking down the right materials has become impossible.

More than half (51 percent) of respondents said their company doesn’t have a common database of approved content, meaning employees are turning to other avenues to find information needed for important materials: 32 percent said they ask colleagues on a daily basis for this type of content help, and a disturbing 87 percent said they’ve used Google to search for a company image or logo to include in a piece of content or presentation they’re working on.

In today’s digital-first environment, content needs to find people within the workflows they already have.

Creation Points are Multiplying Quickly

The digital HQ has been defined by a proliferation of tools to help us do our jobs. Content creation, for example, used to largely take place within Microsoft Word, a singular platform for a disparate workflow. But now that content is everything (and everything is content), content creators have access to a vast array of tools that accomplish everything from document generation to digital asset management to AI-powered spell-checking.

In fact, 82 percent of respondents agreed they have more tools than ever before to create and house content, with 57 percent using 4-7 such tools and 26 percent using 8-11. But all these apps mean nothing if they don’t integrate with one another. On average, respondents believe 47 percent of their company’s tech stack costs are unnecessary, which means the average company is bogging their employees down with tools they don’t need or use and wasting money in the process.

This means integrations that connect content to existing business workflows are now imperative.

Regulations on the Rise

As creation points multiply, businesses are under mounting pressure to ensure compliance across all proprietary content no matter where it’s stored, otherwise, they run the risk of hefty fines (which are never ideal and can be especially dangerous in today’s turbulent economic climate). 88 percent said security requirements are increasing and upholding them has never been more important.

The expanded definition of content means anything can put your business at risk: 61 percent of respondents agreed a lack of control when it comes to metadata and classification poses a significant financial risk, while half of the respondents said the same for business and brand risk. Additional ramifications include damage to reputation (55 percent), legal fees (51 percent), legal ramifications (50 percent), loss of revenue (50 percent), and a loss of customer trust (45percent).

With more than half (51 percent) admitting their company has accidentally shared a sensitive document with parties not authorized to view it, it’s clear that when the burden of compliance and classification falls on individual employees, businesses leave the door wide open for costly mistakes.

Data Needs to Drive New Content 

Without insight into how your content actually performs, what’s the point of creating it in the first place? 58 percent of respondents said their organization does not have enough actionable data around content performance, which means they cannot build a data-driven content strategy for their marketing, sales, legal, or financial teams. What’s more, 58 percent said they lack comprehensive knowledge of what metadata is or why it’s important to business document management and creation, and 45 percent said their company urgently needs a better system to support user metadata.

Despite the plethora of tools available, all of which store this vital information, the average enterprise is not using this data to their advantage. Now that content is everything, flying blind with your content strategy simply won’t cut it anymore.

The Content Enablement Umbrella 

Content enablement is a movement within the industry that is emerging to solve for the issues outlined above. Its methodology impacts existing content management solutions like document generation, digital asset management, sales enablement, document management systems, and content creation platforms, and is an evolving concept that will continue to change the way these solutions operate. Moving forward, we envision all content-related technologies will build their technology around the four truths of content enablement to adequately serve modern users.

By leveraging a suite of tools under the content enablement umbrella, enterprises can manage their overwhelming amount of content; integrate creation workflows; govern and classify every piece of content and bit of data, and access actionable insights to inform their content strategy. As content enablement continues to grow, we’ll begin to see more comprehensive content solutions burst onto the scene so enterprises can leverage this critical asset to its fullest potential.

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Christian Lund
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