There has been a lot of discussion around the changing role of the CFO and the additional scope of responsibilities that are increasingly falling within the finance function. But content management? Is that really something that the modern-day CFO should be concerned about? It may surprise you, but the answer is yes!
Thanks to rapid globalization along with advancements in digital, mobile, and cloud technologies, there are many additional factors today that can affect an organization’s financial health than there were just two decades ago. This is particularly true for those in industries that require detailed product documentation like operator manuals, installation and service manuals, and other important customer communications. Here’s why:
1. Access to information: The customer’s ability to access information from virtually anywhere and at anytime makes it even more critical to maintain accurate and current documentation, particularly in those industries where it is a legal necessity. Failure to do so may bring expensive legal ramifications or lost business. This means that corrections, updates, and revisions now have to be rapidly completed and should follow product changes.
2. The voice of the customer: Inaccurate or misleading documentation may upset customers who are increasingly using social media as a channel to express their dissatisfaction. This can have a big impact on a company’s financial health. Customers are also likely to be vocal on the consequences they are facing due to incorrect documentation. This really brings in new dimensions to the company-customer relationship, including potential liabilities or adverse effects on the company’s reputation. All the more reason that content should be on the CFO’s radar.
3. Operational costs: The cost of producing and maintaining documentation may be surprising to some CFOs. For example, acquiring and maintaining tools to manage content across multiple platforms continues to rise as new technologies enable additional channels. Furthermore, it has been estimated that companies lose up to 20% of time and productivity when content (both internal and external) is unclear or lacking meaning. This is particularly true for international companies where non-native speakers or multiple teams may be creating content, resulting in information that can vary greatly in quality and style.
4. Resource efficiency: Companies specialize and excel in activities that are aligned towards their core competencies and focused on revenue generation. More and more companies are finding that producing and maintaining customer documentation internally may not be the best use of the company’s resources. Automation or outsourcing or a combination of the two allows company employees to focus on core, revenue-generating activities, resulting in more productivity for the company.
Content management, if not handled correctly, can have a significantly negative financial impact on a company. I am not suggesting that CFOs should take over this function, but I do believe they are in the best position to understand the risks associated with poor content management. CFOs are major influencers in the boardroom and nowadays, many companies have their IT departments reporting to the CFO. Thus, CFOs are best placed to champion effective content management to ensure it has the appropriate focus.