EDITOR'S NOTE: One of the questions I receive the most from readers is, "How do you build content and/or document strategies in the enterprise that will succeed?" Too often, the complexity around document management leads to failure, resulting in your strategy efforts quickly withering away, or even prevents the existence of any content strategies in the first place. To address this important gap between the business vision or "future state" and building your content strategy, I sat down with John Knotts, a strategic business advisor to enterprise document management, and our 2015 DOCUMENT Strategy Forum Conference Chair Joe Shepley to answer your direct questions on the content strategy. Check back every Monday and Wednesday, as we feature a new answer to your questions each week.

QUESTION: Documents have, by the nature of the content and business purpose, many stakeholders. So, who really owns the strategy?

JOHN KNOTTS, @johnrknotts

This is absolutely true. Documents support many parts of the business. For every business, the stakeholders across the enterprise will all probably think they own the document strategy, and you will have several opposing strategic directions.

So, asking who actually owns the strategy makes for a difficult issue. With any process that spans several silos in a company, especially document management, you should also consider a governance structure to provide direction and accountability to enterprise document management. Find out, across all the stakeholders, who thinks they are accountable and responsible for parts of the document life cycle. These entities become members of your governance structure.

From them, establish a strong leader who will drive the program. This governance structure will then own the strategy. For organizations that have already consolidated the document operations life cycle, then that organization would own the strategy. That being said, regardless of who “owns” the strategy, it still must support the enterprise strategy and the strategies of all the stakeholders affected by document management.

JOE SHEPLEY, @joeshepley

The “best practices” answer is a C-level executive whose mandate is to own customer experience, which is often the chief marketing officer but could be a chief operating officer (or other role) as well.

The goal is to find the leader who has responsibility (and authority) for as much of the customer communication life cycle as possible, from the creation of messages all the way through delivery and follow-up. In reality, it’s often very difficult to find such a leader because the organization isn’t structured along these lines. And so, any given leader you choose will have such a small slice of the customer communication life cycle that they’ll struggle to affect the kind of change needed to implement an effective strategy.

For this reason, we often see such a leader augmented by the creation of a cross-functional program that’s responsible for creating, executing and supporting the strategy. In the absence of a C-level leader with broad ownership of the customer communication life cycle, this is typically the best option.

John Knotts is a results-oriented business professional working out of the San Antonio, TX area. He leads strategic transformations and has extensive experience in strategy, change, process, communication and many other areas.

Joe Shepley brings more than 12 years of operational and technology experience to his consulting engagements at Doculabs. He also currently serves as the conference chair for the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum.

Remember to check back every Monday and Wednesday, as we feature a new answer to your questions each week. This is a special Q&A in partnership with the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum. For more information on how to build the document strategy or on attending the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum, email jdunkel@EventEvolution.com or call 866-378-4991.

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