Monthly Archives: August 2016

Content Management Plans – the Components

Please read the first post in this series.

A Content Management Plan consists of the following parts:

  • People
  • Culture
  • Systems
  • Process
  • Audit and Control

There are also other considerations and I usually include a summary when I present to a client. The above are the main components. The parts interlock and affect each other, but are also important in and of themselves.

In my work, I like to use the existing data repositories and systems and overlay them with different user interfaces, where possible. This makes for a smoother transition to new processes even knowing that new systems may be coming soon. This idea is based on allowing workflow to continue as uninterrupted as possible. This idea may not be possible or it may be only possible in part or it may be possible as a long term plan. Based on the information gleaned from the process I will outline over a series of posts this idea can adjust and change to become a valuable content management system that works for the organization.

It should also be noted that planning is great, but triage and content crisis management will have to happen simultaneously. Triage consists of calming ruffled feathered and developing interim solutions to facilitate smooth workflow to run the business of the organization while longer term content management issues are resolved and implemented. This element of the process will also provide additional knowledge that will inform the process.

Existing Data Repositories

Many companies have grown up with a fluid approach to content management. Tech companies allow their employees to save content on Box or DropBox or other systems. The policy, if you can call it that, supports other tech companies and allows employees to be comfortable with at least one aspect of their work.

In small companies, this works fine because someone can yell across the room and ask where to find a document. As companies get larger, this doesn’t work as well. Searching these systems isn’t always successful and searching multiple systems, assuming access is granted is time consuming.

I suggest that an information manager or enterprise content manager be brought in early on to begin to build a foundation on which a content management plan can be implemented. Decisions about document lifecycle and versioning can be made not just decided upon by default. Box and DropBox can be connected to a larger system to facilitate searching and findability.

Running the Business

The reality is that most start-ups won’t do this even when they get to 200+ employees. Content Management isn’t their business, funds are often tight. Decisions have to be made. The challenges come to the fore when a company is starting to get its ducks in a row for an IPO. Documents can’t be found, or take a Herculean effort. Nobody knows whether this is the most recent version or if Joe, who left last week kept the most recent version in his DropBox.

What is your content management policy? Content Management has been hijacked by Marketing people and often deals with content creation. There is a whole other layer to which business owners and managers need to pay attention. Information is an asset and should be treated as such.





























Cutting to the Bone Isn’t Enough

I was pleased to see an article about legal engineers recently. I was not pleased that the author thought that IT Department folks were the only ones capable of this type of job.

My latest thought having to do with the sad state of law firms is that law firm management does not understand its assets. This includes technology, everything from the latest innovations in Word to West KM and CaseMap. Law firm management is also behind the times in cataloging its people assets, such as Librarians, information specialists and knowledge managers. Finally, law firm management has created departments such as, eDiscovery and not utilizing them to the fullest.

There are only so many costs to cut before a firm has to become more more efficient. Being innovative is about  understanding the assets and the firm and using them fully. Many management teams see the way through this difficult time as hiring new laterals and cutting costs further.

Firm managers must inventory what they have, people and technology. Then, they have to implement, and I mean fully implementing including training each person on various technologies the firms already own.  Management has to understand that moving tasks better suited, for example, to librarians, and away from attorneys will shift work that is better done by librarians, thus lowering costs and improve capacity. If lawyers aren’t working with clients, their time is being wasted.Of course, this brings up the question of what lawyers enjoy doing. Not all of them enjoy working with clients, which means the partnership structure may need to change.

Clearly the operative word is change. law firms have lowered costs almost as much as they can. Morale among staffers is at an all time low. The only way to stay in business is to inventory assets, implement technology and shift tasks. I would also say that content management is key, so that information created can be found and reused.

While these strategies will take time, they will make the firm more efficient and lower costs.

Content Management Plans

I worked with a client recently on a contract that turned into a project to develop a content management plan. This will be the first in a series of posts about content management plans.

Content has a value in the same way that software or furniture has value. If employees in organizations cannot find the information or content they need to complete tasks critical to the mission of the organization, how much is the content worth? If people have to redo work because they can’t find a template or model, what is the cost of that hidden content? Content, information, data are all assets despite their pseudo-intangible nature. Management needs to understand the value.

A Content Management Plan is used to outline how an organization manages large amounts of information. Any organization that routinely produces large volumes of information is involved in content management[i], whether they have a formal plan or not. It is important keep content up to date and organized as effectively as possible[ii] so that people can find the information they need at the right time. One goal of a content management plan would be to establish repositories where cleared users have easy access to[iii] the information they need. Information can be internal (reports, news, marketing collateral, policies, model documents, etc) and external (books, magazines, commercial databases, other digital materials, etc). Format is immaterial. Content management applies to the entire cycle that information and data must move through in a business environment. This cycle starts with acquisition or creation, moves through editing or updating, publishing, translation or transformation, to archiving and retrieval. Many people may be involved. Creators, editors, technicians, programmers, etc all create content. There are often other departments affected that are not directly responsible for content such as[iv] sales people using marketing collateral created by the Marketing Department or an outside PR firm. In order to get the most value of the organizational content, as a start, lifecycles should be documented and managed.