Content Automation Emerges in Cluttered Enterprises

There is no shortage of content flowing through today’s enterprises, including data, documents, graphics, videos, and more. This is raw material that provides a wealth of opportunities—many of which are untapped—to businesses. The catch is that this data and content is scattered across various systems inside and outside of enterprises. Plus, there is not enough understanding of who views which content, and what is motivating them to consume the content. As more organizations seek to embrace digital transformation, they are turning to content automation as a way to deliver information quickly and effectively to their customers.

These are the findings of a survey of 262 executives and professionals conducted by Information Today, Inc. in partnership with Quark Software, Inc. Content automation as a category has grown significantly in awareness (90%) as well as in adoption. More than half of the respondents’ organizations already own, are currently adopting, or expect to buy end-to-end content automation platforms, according to the research report titled, “2018 Content Automation Research: Content Practices and Challenges, Technology Trends, and Investment Outlook within Enterprise Content Publishing."

Fast-Growing Content Stores Pose Challenges

The survey confirmed that content that serves both internal requirements and customer requirements is critical to today’s organizations. There are numerous forms of business-critical content that are seen as integral to emerging enterprise content management initiatives. While it is no surprise that customer communication is a business-critical content type, an internal content type, policies and procedures, is a close number two, the survey found. In fact, if you were to group standard operating procedures (a similar content type) with policies and procedures, together, they would top the list of business-critical content types.

Managing and extracting value from fast-growing content stores is the norm for most organizations seeking to manage their services to customers and employees. Overall, enterprises are faced with challenging requirements for content management, including the creation of high volumes of similar documents and revisions, cited by roughly seven in 10 respondents. Reuse of documents is another pattern adopted by seven in 10. More than 60% also reported their content management processes are relatively uniform across their enterprises.

At the same time, regulatory mandates loom large for content managers and creators. Forty-four percent of respondents indicated that their created content needs to comply with changing regulations. This is even higher in industries such as financial services, in which 83% cite this requirement.

Content Budgets Going Up

The survey also found that content technology budgets are on the upswing, with more support going to customer experience initiatives. Budgets for content-related technology are expected to grow over the next 5 years, the survey affirmed. Almost half, 46%, are spending more than $1 million on content management and related services, a number that is likely to grow. The average spend per organization on content technology in 2018 is $920,000, with financial services leading the way at $1.4 million annually. Seventy-nine percent of respondents to the survey said they expect their budgets to increase, and 68% said the increase will be greater than 10% a year.

Customer experience (CX) reigns as the most important objective of content management strategies, the survey showed. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said improving CX is the single most important high-level business initiative tied to content management over the coming year. Reducing costs for the business ranks second, with 24%.

Ad Hoc and Manual Approaches Don't Work

Managers are pushing back against ad hoc or manual approaches to managing content, the survey also found. Editing and preparing content is another burden for many. Locating content—or helping users to find content—across ever-growing stores is an intense challenge for a majority of managers. Seventy-five percent acknowledged their enterprise content is too difficult to find. Email has been on the corporate scene for more than 2 decades now, and it has long been the most common way to flow content through review and approval processes. However, content managers said they are growing weary of handling emails back and forth. The majority (56%) said they find email an inefficient way to review and approve content. In addition, editing and updating content is another challenge for many organizations—54% of content managers said this is taking up too much of their time. Managing PDFs is also seen as a challenge affecting many content systems and processes.