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The importance of execution in content management

Organisations usually have an idea about what they want when it comes to their online strategy. However, execution within this seemingly easy but typically complicated part of the value chain is not always that straightforward. Many stakeholders are involved and the ways that systems interlock with processes makes that many decisions need to be made throughout the organisation, taking into account peculiarities of that same organisation, its IT systems, its value systems, its short term and long term goals, etc.

On different levels, the right decisions need to be made and re-made, often on a case to case basis, to yield the most long term value for the organisation from existing systems, the people involved and resources available. This puts the emphasis on execution: with the limited resources available, how do we as a company best support and execute our content management?

Key words are then: information availability and sharing, oversight and insight, competences, project management, coordination, communication, sensitivity, but also timeliness, a focus on quality, and performance measurement.

High quality execution of content management is very much reliant on good communication and a deep understanding of both systems and the organisation. It requires well trained professionals that not only know how to efficiently use the tools of the trade, but who can also see and think further than the immediate task at hand, who keep their eye on the bigger picture (of the long term organisational goals).

For the above reason, an argument can be made in favour of hiring experienced content managers who are also skillful project managers. People that are both attentive and smart users of the CMS, but who also have the freedom and skill to plan, coordinate, and communicate when it comes to their projects. These people will get more work done, with more grace and less fuss, with fewer defects and future corrections required, and in the process of this all also using up less time and energy from the current organisation and the future one.

This is in support of the bottom line (i.e. profits) by supporting sales, reinforcing brand value, and reducing current and future costs: work gets completed on time, with more accuracy, with less resources expended within the current organisation as a whole, and with less rework weighing down tomorrow’s organisation.

Quality execution in content management also implies the CMS is treated as a strategic asset. From the cost perspective that means that it’s better to spend an hour more today to get things done with care, that way saving the organisation a few hours of effort required to get an issue or even a mess cleaned up tomorrow. But it’s also better to do things carefully from the sales perspective: a quality web presence with correct, complete and consistent information supports sales and future brand value.

The alternative might be cheaper or quicker or easier in the short term, but comes at a cost. Save now, pay later. That’s easy to say, but short term cost savings in the content management world are often visible, while the (often indirect) costs of such an approach are hidden, distributed over other parts of the organisation and to be incurred only on a later day, be it in a month or a year from now. This makes it notoriously hard to make a sound and complete business case for any improvement program that requires the costs to be made in advance of the (much larger) benefits.

Maarten Fokkelman
Twitter: @mfokkelman