Content Storage in Focus

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Content Storage in Focus

This is the second in an occasional series of posts designed to expand more fully on interviews with publishing industry leaders for a recent research report, “Industry Leaders’ Perspectives on the Digital Transformation Journey in Publishing.”

In a nutshell, “content storage” refers to the place where your files live. In any given office, this might include some combination of desktop folders, network drives, an intranet, a wiki, a CRM with file libraries, and, perhaps, a cloud system like Google Drive or Outlook 365.

The attitude is that content storage is old news – implementation of an enterprise-wide content storage solution required large sums of resources, and it didn’t even solve all the problems that it was supposed to.

The ideal content storage example would be a single, global, centralized file repository in the cloud, instead of patched together siloes and systems. This content storage location would hold content in all formats, from audio clips to XHTML files and everything in between. A cascading folder hierarchy would be consistent across the whole system. File names would follow strict conventions. Employees would share files in the cloud, and use live editing and versioning of each document, rather than cluttering the platform with duplicate copies.

Challenges

Creating and maintaining a content storage solution is demanding. Not only does a digital architecture need to be installed, but every member of the organization must buy in to the project. Everyone must comply with new rules about naming conventions, folder hierarchy, and file versioning.

Existing content storage solutions, which could involve thousands of files saved across countless devices, cloud systems, and even filing cabinets, must be retrofitted to plug into the new plan. It takes time, money, and lots of effort.

Benefits

But the benefits of content storage are legion. Healthy content storage is the foundation for digital transformation. Logical folder groups, consistent naming conventions and ‘one source of truth’ file versioning sets the stage for digital transformation to take full effect. In other words, the sleekest search tools in the world are worthless without good raw data to search.

Role in Digital Transformation Overall

Despite its vital importance, content storage was scored second-to-last by publishing executives in terms of importance to the future of their business, according to interviews conducted by Imbue Partners on behalf of CCC and Ixxus.

Conversations with and data from publishing industry leaders, as reported in “Industry Leaders’ Perspectives on the Digital Transformation Journey in Publishing,” imply that content storage has had its moment in the spotlight. Many publishers have already considered it, and come to varied conclusions. Some, for example, underestimated the complexity of content storage and embarked on a plan that turned out to be untenable. Others overestimated the challenges and concluded that efficient content storage just wasn’t worth the effort. Still others have already adopted some sort of storage solution, or they’ve assigned a committee to create a strategy to do so.

The attitude is that content storage is old news – implementation of an enterprise-wide content storage solution requires vast resources, and it might not even solve all the problems that it’s supposed to.

One interviewee told the Imbue researchers, “…where you store your content is not as important as your ability to access that information.”

The trouble is, the concepts of content storage and content accessibility are interdependent. It would be a shame to have a robust content storage platform with limited search capabilities; likewise, a sophisticated search won’t be of much use if the system’s data is a mess. No matter what, skipping the content storage phase will render the other phases of digital transformation useless. Metadata, discoverability, content agility and automated collaboration simply will not function without a solid content storage foundation in place.

For more on digital transformation, check out the first post in this series: The Definitive Guide to Digital Transformation, download the white paper “Industry Leaders’ Perspectives on the Digital Transformation Journey in Publishing,” or read up on best practices from Ixxus.

Natalie Guest

Author: Natalie Guest

Natalie Guest is head of marketing at Ixxus, and spends most of her time writing about publishing technologies and content management. She curated Tower Hamlets Writeidea Festival 2013 Literary Fringe, and has been published in The Independent, The Sunday Times and New Statesman.

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