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Modernizing your content services strategy in three steps

Content
(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Bakhtiar Zein)

Content takes many forms within an organization – from credit card applications to manuals, employee handbooks to product safety sheets. Content represents more than just documents; it fuels experiences, is the focal point of numerous processes, and, left ungoverned, puts enterprises at financial, regulatory, and brand risk. 

Enterprises navigating their digital transformation journeys this year will need to build a content services strategy roadmap to simplify the way they manage, govern, and transform their usage of exploding content volumes. Follow these steps to overhaul your content services strategy to become a content-driven business:

1. Discover and digitize content across the enterprise.

While some organizations have, in large part, captured and scanned paper documents into archives, many enterprises haven’t made much of their content discoverable and actionable. File shares, SharePoint, and Teams site usage has exploded as more employees work remote. Unmanaged, the sensitive and valuable information in documents, images, spreadsheets and more on these file shares and sites contributes to productivity loss and increased risks. Organizations miss out on opportunities to glean valuable business insights from this content when its unmanaged and ungoverned.

Digitizing your content is the first key step in your content services strategy. Digitizing isn’t just the act of capturing and scanning documents into digital form. True digitizing of this information results in discovering what content exists, what it contains and understanding what value it presents to the organization.  Digitizing this content extracts valuable metadata, enabling the organization to apply policies to best manage and govern the content – perhaps it contains personally identifiable information and needs to be redacted when used. This process also enables the organization to identify if content is redundant with other sources and helps to eliminate costs. Moreover, the organization can use the digitized content to automate processes, including content-rich processes involving complex interactions among humans, content, systems and processes, such as employee onboarding, compliance audits and opening a new bank account.

2. Deploy a content services solution to both govern and put content into action.

Digitizing your content is only the first step to transforming your business’ content services strategy.   The goal for organizations should be to make their content actionable – and the way to do that is by using a content services solution that can both govern content and make it accessible to the people, applications and processes that need it.

Modern content platforms offer an open, flexible and scalable architecture enabling organizations to better manage existing content located throughout the enterprise and put it to use. Federating access to disparate content sources makes it easier for organizations to centralize access without having to migrate content to a single repository while minimizing the impact online of business applications and employees. 

In today’s privacy-conscious business world, content services solutions must help organizations govern this content in support of regulatory and privacy compliance demands.  This includes applying policies to effectively govern content usage, on the fly, based on what the content contains. It also includes applying specific actions, such as redaction of sensitive or personally identifiable information, when content is accessed and used by different people in the organization. Governance of this content also requires automation to manage both the lifecycle of this information and the handling of requests – such as capturing and managing a request for removal. Doing so makes it far easier for organizations to locate and govern sensitive content to conform to data regulations – such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) – and easily handle deletion rights requests, if and when they happen. This can help organizations avoid hefty regulation fines, while increasing business credibility and position them as a good corporate citizen.

3. Make sure your content services can span a hybrid IT environment.

Companies are increasingly looking to deploy applications across on-premises, private and public cloud and multi-cloud environments to better meet customer needs in today’s uncertain business environment. According to the Flexera report, 93 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, and 87 percent have a hybrid cloud strategy. The interoperability of a hybrid IT model has been especially important with the rise of remote work due to the pandemic as it allows content and data to move between private repositories and public clouds as workflows and business needs change. As well as tracking the movement of content through the enterprise, a hybrid model also lowers organizations’ costs of ownership than enterprises that operate in an all-cloud environment.

Many organizations are now moving into the digital era by deploying a modern, cloud-first approach to manage their content. Cloud-first strategies are important to modernize your business and enable enterprises to take advantage of the resilience, scalability and agility of the cloud. However, many organizations have multiple content repositories – both on-premises and across multiple clouds – so enterprises need to make sure their content services can span a hybrid IT environment.

To operate in a hybrid IT environment, organizations must locate the data that they house, evaluate its risk and value for the organization and determine where and how long it should be kept. The data must then either be migrated to the cloud or retained on-site depending on its requirements. This can all be achieved with the right content services solution that spans the entire hybrid IT environment for end-to-end governance and comprehensive content management. Once these steps have been taken, organizations can realize the cost savings and flexibility of leveraging a hybrid IT model while ensuring data security and compliance.

As content continues to grow abundantly in today’s business environment, it must not go unleveraged or unmanaged and should be treated as a modern information asset to drive business forward. By taking these three steps to modernize your content services strategy and IT infrastructure, organizations can ensure secure collaboration, accelerate business processes and eliminate information silos while also increasing productivity and reducing risk by ensuring information is available wherever and whenever people need it.

Kyle McNabb, SVP of Product Marketing, ASG Technologies