Yes, organizations focus their digital efforts more heavily on external than internal applications. But three areas are important to both external and internal platforms: structuring, customizing, and governing content. How do web and enterprise compare on these topics?
1. Structure your content
We (content specialists) tell organizations to structure their content. To optimize it for consumption on any device. To enable easy sharing of content between platforms. To improve the chances of it being found by search engines moving towards semantic search.
Structuring content on the web
The business case for structured content is easy in the WCM world. A crappy mobile experience will cost you revenue. And there is data to prove it. A Compuware survey, for instance, found 40% of the users in the survey turned to a competitor's site after a bad mobile experience on another.
Structuring content in the enterprise
The business case for structured content is harder in the enterprise world. Investments in making internal platforms mobile friendly are being made, but by a minority of companies.
- Working remotely is nowhere near a standard yet.
- Organizations struggle with bring-your-own-device policies fearing security and confidentiality issues.
- Knowledge-sharing technology is less inherently mobile-driven than modern web tools.
2. Customize your content
We tell companies to customize their content aiming for optimal relevancy for their prospects and clients.
Customizing content on the web
The business case for customized content is easy in the web world. Personalized content creates measurably higher conversion rates. Real-time recommendations based on rich behavioral data, focusing on content that meets their specific needs; these are essential in a modern online funnel. Ecommerce is all about data. If an effect cannot be measured, it doesn't count.
Customizing content in the enterprise
The business case for customized content is harder in the enterprise world. In general employee productivity is hard to measure, which means the benefits of more customized information are equally difficult to predict. Even if companies would want to invest in more customized content for their personnel, they have a long way to go in the data department: quantity and quality of metadata associated with the content, as well as accurate professional profiles to match the content with, are both lagging behind.
3. Govern your content
We tell organizations to create and manage their content efficiently, with clearly divided responsibilities. In other words, to govern it (well).
Content governance on the web
The business case for governance is hard (!) in the web world. Because of the heavy focus on short-term, measurable results, organizations accept multiple instances of essentially the same content, as long as conversion rates are satisfactory. ‘Forking’ can actually be considered worth it. It takes people with guts to explain that non-forked content might not increase conversion directly, but is essential in retaining a consistent online presence and reputation. Brand inconsistency is one of the 7 deadly sins of marketing.
Content governance in the enterprise
The business case for governance is hard in the enterprise world. Even though internal information is often presented structured by organizational entities, the information is not necessarily governed better. Department A and B might publish the same information twice, because they both claim ownership. From a governance perspective there should be one owner distributing the information to whomever needs it, wherever they work in the organization. And at the same time making sure people who shouldn't see it aren't given access by accident.
Web will stay ahead in structuring and customizing
So when it comes to structuring and customizing content, the web world will advance faster than the enterprise environment. Internal information providers can only catch up by truly perceiving employees as customers (people use mobile phones in the workplace too and you can target internal information better), and by realizing internal branding is a prerequisite for effective branding in the outside world.
Governance is hard for web and enterprise
With respect to governance, both web and enterprise have a lot of homework to do. Organizing content – whether customer-facing or internally aimed) is one of the most difficult things to do. Because:
- Organizations are still in a transition from paper-based to fully digital.
- Responsibility for content is unclear between communications, marketing, and IT.
- Customer expectations of organizations' online presence grow much faster than internal processes can be changed.
- Employee expectations of the collaboration tools organizations provide them with grow at the same rate. The intranet search box ideally mimics Google.com.
Because it's hard doesn't mean we shouldn't try. On the contrary. The governance department is where much can be achieved for the good of both organization and users. And of course we can help you structure your content and improve its metadata.