Robert Bredlau at e-Spirit looks at how businesses are struggling to cope with multiple websites and why a global approach to content management is the way forward.
There are many arguments about how and when the internet was born but what can’t be denied is the huge impact it has had on our lives. Today, experts believe that there are in excess of 216 million websites and over 1.5 billion users, that’s nearly a quarter of the world’s entire population.
Originally the realm of IT, the internet has grown up to become an everyday tool for techies and non-techies alike. No longer just a source of static information, we’ve seen an unprecedented explosion in the information and type of media available to internet users, both businesses and consumers.
Today, the worldwide web impacts on so many areas of daily life, whether it’s keeping up with the latest news, accessing up to the minute information, buying goods and services or just linking up with family, friends or business associates.
But, the boom in the information available online and the global proliferation of internet-based channels is causing a worldwide web crisis amongst the global business community.
Research by e-Spirit found that almost two-third of websites (65 per cent) have ten times or more content than they did five years ago and one in four have more than double.
Add to this, the fact that one in three businesses (35 per cent) are currently trying to manage at least ten different websites and one-third of sites (37 per cent) appear in more than five different languages.
As a result, we’re seeing organisations struggle to effectively manage the variety of channels and the multiple formats in which content or information can be delivered. And, this is at a time when consumer expectations are growing as they demand up-to-date and accurate information through whichever channel they choose.
But, where do the biggest pressures lie?
Of the 100 global firms we questioned, two-thirds said they were frustrated at how time consuming it can be to manage web content across multiple internet and intranet sites. And, almost half (46 per cent) felt it was a lack of in-house skills which was holding them back.
Other problems cited by survey respondents included how to ensure brand consistency when managing global content (29 per cent) and issues arising due to the language barriers that occur when dealing with multi-lingual, multi-country web presences (20 per cent).
So, what can companies do to overcome these issues?
Well, times are a changing. For an increasing number of organisations, their internet or intranet sites are no longer strictly the domain of the IT department.
We are now seeing a shift of responsibility.
Where once businesses leaned on their now resource constrained IT departments to deliver online initiatives to various areas of the business, they are now taking a more global approach.
In fact, our research found that marketing and sales are leading the way and getting increasingly involved in website content management. Whilst 83 per cent of companies said their IT department acted as content authors, 82 per cent claimed they had extended this role out to marketers and 56 per cent said sales also had a role to play in managing online information and channels.
This more centralised approach is empowering new resources to take over web management, relieving some of the pressure on over stretched IT departments and freeing up valuable IT resources.
Not only this but it enables organisations to re-deploy and re-focus resources during this recession by allowing other departments to take control of their own campaigns and content.
It is this type of business flexibility that can make the difference between sinking and swimming in these turbulent economic times. It is those organisations that can adapt and change with the times that will live on and prosper.
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