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Why Content Is Vital to Business Resilience

By Michael Andrews Apr 9, 2020

Businesses right now face two pressing issues: adapting to a changing and fluid situation, while maintaining the continuity of their operations. Digital content plays a crucial role in supporting both these needs.

Resilience is a characteristic that businesses must develop to stay relevant in the face of changing circumstances. In the book Resilience Engineering, Andrew Hale and Tom Heijer note that resilience encompasses “flexibility, coping with unexpected and unplanned situations and rapidly responding to events, with excellent communication and mobilization of resources to intervene at critical points.” From this description, one can see how important content capabilities are for maintaining a resilient posture.

In the current dynamic situation, businesses are promoting their relevance. They are focused on making the right content available to those who need it. And they are realizing they need to give more attention to their content production and delivery capabilities. How quickly can they produce or update content and distribute it where it’s needed?

Never before has it been more important for businesses to connect and integrate all forms of digital information. Enterprises from all industries need two critical capabilities:

  1. To integrate content about specific topics and issues with up-to-date information about pricing, inventory, and logistics
  2. To deliver this content to any channel needed, whether the web, apps, social, or email

Businesses Need to Run in the Cloud

Today’s turbulent situation coincides with a once-in-a-generation structural change in infrastructure: the shift from on-premises IT systems—including content management—to the enterprise cloud. This structural transformation will only accelerate as customers and employees depend on access to critical information online, no matter what events arise. 

To address fluid requirements, enterprises must be able to coordinate the management of internal content for employees with external content for customers. It is difficult to keep these two in sync when they are managed by separate systems.

Resilient businesses are able to provide information seamlessly. Problems often arise when marketing content is managed in isolation from customer service content. We can see recent examples of firms that have pushed ahead with existing marketing plans, yet their business operations have been caught flatfooted by unforeseen events. Content about products needs to adjust quickly to changes relating to the supply of the product or the demand for it.

Recent events have also highlighted the importance of employees’ access to information. When critical information is held in local repositories and information systems, bottlenecks and disruptions in communications can result. Some companies are finding that support staff located in other countries aren’t able to report to their offices during an emergency, resulting in the entire company being cut off from vital information that’s normally accessed locally. They don’t have globally available content that can be accessed by employees anywhere. 

In order to respond to urgent tasks, employees must be able to get answers online, without having to ask the person who’s the “owner” of the information. Resilient enterprises are supported by robust knowledge bases and employee portals that are up to date, complete, thoroughly organized and categorized, and easy for other employees to access, no matter where they may be. 

Unfortunately, some less resilient companies are discovering the limitations of their digital transformation initiatives. They have emphasized high profile automation and data projects but have not modernized how they manage their content to adapt to the agile orientation of the enterprise cloud. Even when they have improved their productivity for specific business processes, they haven’t been able to unify their business operations because their content management is not connected to other IT systems.

When content is fragmented across many systems, and not integrated with other services, operations become fragile. The advantage of Content as a Service is that it connects content to the enterprise’s digital ecosystem so that the whole organization can be more resilient responding to changing needs.

Content Must be Available Anywhere 

A resilient business depends on continuous marketing, both to address immediate customer requirements and to lay a foundation for future opportunities. Digital content has become even more important to marketing, as traditional tactics such as in-person events and placed ads aren’t able to reach prospective customers. 

Resilient businesses embrace a content-first approach, so their content can be distributed to any channel and easily move to where it is needed. Even traditional “brick and mortar” businesses such as restaurants and retail are awakening to the importance of digital content and are prioritizing their capacity to serve customers online.

We’re approaching the end of the era where content is created for a specific context. Faced with a need to adapt to uncertain circumstances, all kinds of businesses are recognizing that they can’t pick where to place their content with the confidence that will be accessed where they placed it. Instead, they need to make their content flexible by design.

Flexible content is a core capability of a resilient business and is made possible  through the use of APIs, microservices, and structured content.  Content as a Service provides these capabilities, ensuring your content supports your business resilience. 

Written by
Michael Andrews

I’m Content Strategy Evangelist at Kentico Kontent. I appreciate the value of great content. My mission is to help others produce the best content they can.

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