Our clients have a unique problem. Being a Fortune 500 company means you’re a part of the top echelon for your industry, and the road that brought you to the pinnacle was constantly changing to make sure you had the best product offering to attract customers. Now that you’re on top of the heap, the focus has changed to keeping your customers happy—which means knowing them on a personal level. As marketing efforts, technology advancements, and service centers all work independently to make this happen, there is one common denominator: information!
In those early years when the focus is just make it happen for the immediate business need, we often see content management and proper information governance get pushed aside. Unfortunately, that neglect is the barrier that many companies are working to undo today. The promises of Big Data rely solely on your ability to utilize the information you’ve been collecting since the start of your relationship with your customers.
Let’s take one of these “top echelon” organizations as an example: Facebook.
Just 2½ years ago, in May 2013, the Facebook organization was handling 4.75 billion pieces of content daily, in the form of likes, photos, comments, videos, and other content that its users posted and shared daily. That was then. Now, however, the daily total for videos alone is 8 billion. Think about it: Just one single form of content is almost double what the company’s entire content ingestion was just 2½ years ago. (That’s a lot of cat videos.)
And if you’ve been on Facebook at a certain time in the last 6 months, you’ve seen Facebook’s latest feature, Memories, the company’s first attempt to use pieces from all that content to engage with its users. The idea is to enhance the Facebook customer experience by allowing users to browse their Facebook activity for each year since they joined, including activity such as status updates, newly added friends, likes, and events. As a feature, Memories is a clear value-add for Facebook users. But its success depends on what happens behind the proverbial curtain, which the users themselves will never see: the software tools to effectively manage all of this huge and continually proliferating volume of content, tools that make it possible for Facebook to serve up that content to the user on demand.
While it’s unlikely your own organization presents information management challenges on anything like the same scale as Facebook’s, I’d bet yours has doubled over the last 5-plus years, and with new channels like mobile, it typically means you have one additional version of the same document that’s populating your other channels. Regardless, it’s still the case that information is at the heart of knowing your customers and meeting their needs—while anticipating their future needs. When it comes to putting in place effective information management, there is a cost of waiting, and, just like the problem itself, the cost is growing, and it isn’t going away.
The problem is obvious: Your content and information management issues are only going to become exponentially worse. The solution involves forward-thinking leaders who pay attention to what goes on behind that curtain, who recognize the value of tackling this problem early and often to deliver the future benefits for the company’s long-term success—even though those benefits may be invisible to the customer.