Content management: A critical skill for the modern manager

The Internet has transformed the way organizations are managed. In the past, managers were more focused on “walking around and talking”; today, reading and writing are more important.

A recent META Group survey found that 80% of businesspeople use email as their main communication tool.

In the evolution of the Information Economy, business has become more formalized. In the past, business was based on handshakes, lunches, and contacts. Today, less business is conducted in this way.

Amazon has more than 30 million customers. How many of those customers have even spoken to an Amazon representative, let alone met one?

Very few. Most people have interacted with Amazon via content. The content can be published on Amazon’s Web site or sent via email.

META Group’s study (released on April 22, 2003) found that 80% of businesspeople believe email is a better communication tool than phone. These are the top three reasons why people prefer to use email instead of calling.

  1. This allows for communication with multiple parties.
  2. This allows for faster communication.
  3. This allows communication to be recorded formally.

Matt Cain of the META Group says these findings show a tipping point for communications. Email is the best solution for today’s changing business environment, which includes geographically dispersed workgroups, mobility, a need for rapid information dissemination, and the desire to keep reusable records.

Content, whether in printed documents, emails, or websites, has become the lubricant that keeps businesses moving. However, many organizations do not understand the value and cost of content.

According to a Prescient study from June 2003, only 6% of companies measure the ROI (return on investment) of their intranet.

The results of the study do not surprise me. I teach content management workshops around the world. I have not yet found an organization that examines the ROI of its content.

This situation is unsustainable. Modern organizations are creating ever more content. It does not measure how much it costs to produce the content and its value. How can managers effectively manage content if they are unable to measure it?

The Internet is full of myths about how to write and the importance of grammar.

It is the exact opposite. Never before has it been so important to write clearly or communicate clearly, simply, and concisely.

Consider how you read. You will stop reading if the first two paragraphs do not make sense. Improve your writing skills, and you will be better able to read. In a world where attention is scarce, the reader will always be ahead.

Many organizations poorly organize content. Most Web sites look more like content dumps rather than a well-organized library. You will not be able for people to find your content if you do not organize it well. If it can’t see, then it can’t read.

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