8 Signs You Need Content Automation
Content automation helps organizations modernize and streamline systems and processes for creating, managing, publishing, and delivering content. And the reality is…to stay competitive and meet customer expectations, most organizations need to go beyond enterprise content management (ECM). How do you know if your company is one?
While there are a variety of issues that drive businesses to implement a content automation platform, you may not appreciate you have a problem with your content process. Here are eight signs that suggest the time has come to leave your traditional content process back in the 90s, where it belongs:
- It takes you so long to publish content that it’s nearly out-of-date by the time it gets to your customers.
- You need to publish more without increasing the size of your team.
- It is harder than ever to track who last updated your content.
- There are too many errors in your regulated documents or they are out of date.
- You need to find a way to reduce the cost of localization (or translation) of your content.
- Your customers are dissatisfied with the inconsistency of content across your web, mobile, PDF, and print collateral.
- Your employees have a hard time finding standard operating procedures.
- You are spending too much time re-creating content that you know already exists.
Sound familiar? It might be time for you to think about a content automation platform for your business.
New Content Automation Trends Report Coming Soon
Last year Quark, in conjunction with market research firm InfoTrends, conducted the first Content Automation Study to learn more about content strategies, struggles, and successes among enterprise organizations. The results were eye-opening…and also very much in line with trends that have taken hold in the past year.
For example, our study last year found that more than 50% of respondents considered customer satisfaction to be the most important business initiative related to content for the year to come. We also found that 30% of respondents considered their enterprise content management (ECM) solution to be difficult to configure, while 25% reported their ECM doesn’t support automated content reuse and updating.
These findings and more reflect similar trends reported by analyst firms such as Gartner, which earlier this year replaced their coverage of ECM with a new category called Content Services. Here at Quark we continue to study the major content challenges faced by mid-to-large enterprise organizations, the need for modern ECM solutions, and increasing adoption of content automation.
In fact, next week at Information Energy we will release the Content Automation Trends Report 2017. Information Energy is an annual gathering of content, information management, and technical documentation professionals. This year’s event will focus on structured content, content automation, cognitive computing, AI (artificial intelligence), and more.
Keep an eye out for this year’s Content Automation Trends Report or join us at Information Energy where we are presenting a variety of sessions, including:
Content Automation – The Future is Now
Wednesday, May 17 at 10:30 am CEST
Presented by Dave White, Chief Technology Officer for Quark
Building an Enterprise-wide Content Platform
Wednesday, May 17 at 2:00 pm CEST
Presented by Dave White, Chief Technology Officer for Quark
Content Automation in Action
Thursday, May 18 at 3:00 pm CEST
Presented by Ulrich Haag, Technical Sales Consultant for Quark
Using Content Automation to Improve Cognitive Computing and AI
Thursday, May 18 at 4:00 pm CEST
Moderated by Dave White, Chief Technology Officer for Quark
If you can’t make it to the event next week, check the Quark Content Automation Blog where we’ll make our findings available.
View from the Top: The Value of Content Automation
In November 2016 Quark was proud to be named once again to the EContent 100, EContent Magazine’s list of the top 100 companies that matter most in the digital content industry. Quark was selected based on its comprehensive solutions for content automation.
As digital transformation continues to drive organizations everywhere to transform their content strategies, content automation is critical. Now is a good time to revisit thoughts from Ray Schiavone, Quark President and CEO, from an EContent 100 View from the Top profile. The brief profile describes content automation and the value it brings to companies that must create, manage, publish, and deliver multi-channel content with precision.
“Our mission at Quark is to help large organizations transform customer experience through content automation. We do this with our content automation platform that removes manual and error-prone tasks from traditional content workflows. With content automation our customers are able to reduce time to market from months to weeks, weeks to days, and days to minutes.”
Today’s businesses create an overwhelming amount of content, most of which is critical to the vitality of their organization. And while the way people find and read content across multiple channels has changed beyond recognition, the traditional content process has essentially gone unchanged for decades. Infusing every stage of the content life cycle with automation helps get the right content to the right audience at the right time.
Read more about content automation in EContent magazine.
Some Assembly Required: The New Car Stereo
My upgraded car stereo has been installed in my truck for over six months and I’m still trying to figure out how to use it. The old “Mountain Motors” radio had big, bold buttons, was well illuminated and did a few simple things well. The performance was waning from years of pounding the dusty forest service roads to my favorite trailheads.
As I searched for a new radio, there were lots to select from but some had limitations to take into consideration. A big display with great features would not fit my dash out of the box and a super custom cut and cuss installation did not seem like a great idea.
To find one that did fit, I turned to websites that offer tools to find radios and compare different models and brands. I had a handful of requirements. My new radio needed to:
- Fit and mate to my existing wiring harness (priority #1).
- Offer Bluetooth compatibly (so I can finally use my mobile device hands free).
- Include satellite radio for a great signal when I’m far from local stations (which is often).
The radio I chose was a popular brand in single DIN configuration. Removing it from the box, I could tell right away it was much smaller than my OEM Mountain Motors radio. That’s okay because the vendor sent included a kit that promised to fill the gap with a professional look.
With the new radio out of the box I found myself with vendor instructions with lots of assembly photos that sort of looked like my truck. Then I had manufacturer instructions that combined assembly and operation in a booklet of very small print and line art graphics.
Yes, I read through all the instructions first because that is what I do. The challenge I had was the difficulty of memorizing the important parts and navigating key parts of the manuals. To help, I brought my mobile tablet to the garage to find the relevant manual online as a PDF. At least with the PDF I would be able to enlarge the text for better viewing. (Though navigation was a plain page turner PDF with no links to more helpful information.)
There was a lot of interpretation required to install the radio. I would take a few steps from the vendor’s lackluster photographic instructions then take a few steps from the OEM manufacturers instructions. Once the unit was finally locked in place it was plain to see the gap left by removing the old radio. Needless to say, I was disappointed.
That evening I installed and reinstalled my stereo at least three times. The amount of effort and time it took to get the job done wasn’t from my ability to do the task correctly. The challenge was the instructional content and how it was presented.
This is a case where I wish an experienced technician was preparing the content for my assembly instructions. There is a lot of value in technical authoring that comes from a technician that has spent years in field service or working on the manufacturing shop floor. These technicians understand how things really work versus how they were designed. All they need is an author-friendly way to capture their knowledge so that it can be shared, stored, updated and delivered with ease.
Content Automation Improves Customer Experience
Industries of all types struggle with capturing content and ensuring it is customer friendly throughout its lifecycle. In the ideal (and achievable, by the way) process, engineers and technical subject matter experts (SMEs) prepare specifications, requirements and instructions using a content automation solution. They focus on what to write and not how it’s written or what it looks like. Valuable structure, already widely used in technical communication industry, is automatically provided in the background.
Once the content is created, it is managed so that engineers, SME’s and reviewers can perform their work naturally, without complexity. The information is made available for technical communicators, auditors and other downstream users via a system of record. And, finally, the information is published in ways it will best be consumed. PDF, a printed hardcopy, valuable mobile formats, and/or an app.
There is genuine business value in the content automation process. Content does not have to be a necessary evil that is required to accompany products. Instead, content can and should be the driving force behind a buyer’s product decision. You can be sure the next product I buy where some assembly is required I’ll be looking at the instructions first before I’m caught up in the features.
Scott Allshouse is a US Navy veteran and a student of human behavior in how technicians, consumers and business people consume content to perform day-to-day and complex tasks. As a Business Transformation Manager, Scott highlights Content Automation technology value for manufacturing, financial, healthcare and other businesses wanting to improve revenue, margins and efficiency. He is a Regional Account Executive at Quark Enterprise Solutions.
Infographic: Content Automation Survey Results 2016
InfoTrends, the market research and strategic consulting firm, conducted a survey in conjunction with Quark to find out more about content strategies and challenges among enterprise organizations. The results uncovered data that supports the need for content automation solutions that solve issues related to customer experience, enterprise content management, omni-channel publishing and more. We boiled the key findings down into an infographic highlighting everything from the top ten business-critical content types and the average yearly spend on content technology.
For more detail beyond the infographic, download a free 18-page InfoTrends whitepaper about the survey results.