Content is everywhere in an enterprise, because it is the basis for all customer experience. Content now originates from virtually every function within enterprises.
Throughout our organizations, content expresses itself in many forms, all of them related. Topic-based content, for example content describing facets of a particular product, has permutations and modified renditions as versions crop up across marketing, support, and other departments. Enterprise content therefore might be seen as ‘fractal’, faceted endlessly by various usages, a concept [A] Master Architect Joe Gollner has been advocating and educating on for almost 20 years, exploring how integrated content management and intelligent content are also connected to a fractal enterprise (Gollner, 1999, 2016a, 2016b). If we are to ever create coherence, common standards become essential to ensure connections, consistency, and integrated asset use and discovery.
The goal of a Content Services Organization should be to orchestrate consistency across fractal uses of content. This requires a healthy degree of balance, exerting influence on authoring and the entire content supply chain, without requiring every single fractal of content to pass through a centralized governance regime (an impossible task when permutations become infinite). In any workflow model there must be an appropriate balance between facilitating content from “the edge” (content creators who are nearest the customer) and content and editorial cycles from the “center” (content producers in centralized shared resource groups).
An extreme or overly-constrained governance of content from a central authority can constrict content creation and lead to resentment and resistance from all content stakeholders, ultimately threatening the governance regime. Therein, lies the story of many gutted and abandoned governance efforts.
[A] has devised the Core Content Model (CCM) as the framework and structural backbone of content intelligence. It allows enterprises to adapt to aggressive product release cycles, increasing market specialization, and rapidly evolving customer expectations requiring integrated and personalized experiences.
A balanced solution has reasonable authority to maintain and facilitate content structure and semantic standards utilized by shared content authoring tools, systems of record, and templates -- to move content throughout multiple publishing lifecycles with a minimum of friction. The Content Services Organization ensures all the various content-producing groups remain in harmony with agreed-upon foundational standards, established at the “center” of Content Strategy, while listening to and adapting the structural and semantic standards regularly based on the needs from “the edge”.
Established standards should be based on an overarching architectural framework that helps to unify people, process, and tools. At [A], we call this the Content Intelligence Framework ([A], 2019). Regardless of the architecture approach chosen or defined internally, Content Services Organizations need a documented framework to steer and manage by, otherwise risking creating more confusion than coherence. The Content Services Organization then evolves beyond just being the repository of enterprise-wide standards but also enables cross-functional collaboration, facilitates shared schemas and taxonomies, and works with IT and vendors to make sure system schemas encompass standards, strategy, software, and integrated systems.
All of these functions housed within the framework work in unison under the oversight of the Content Services Organization
and inform the entire organization’s operating rhythms. With the CSO facilitating, content producers, marketers, and product groups have plenty of room for variation and nimble improvisation as needed to assemble new content experiences from the agreed-upon ingredients, and business function owners can be assured that all content assets are able to conform to set criteria, laying a foundation for sustainable content intelligence.
This “fractal approach” to the organizational Content Orchestration Model
also provides the benefit of allowing vast, distributed teams to be meaningfully engaged and recognized for their vital role crafting customer experiences. Authoring groups become empowered and supported by the Content Services Organization, not stifled by a centralized governance function that gets in the way of publishing.
[A] provides services and consulting in Content Operations
, Content Strategy
, and Content Engineering
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