The 3 Major Pitfalls of Static Content

Static Content 1

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to enterprise technology aimed at helping employees learn, communicate, and share static content. There is email, chats, intranets, wikis, training universities, SharePoint, content repositories, file sync and shares, and other proprietary solutions… the list goes on and on. This might seem like knowledge heaven with information available everywhere you turn, but in reality, it’s overwhelming.

No doubt you’ve encountered at least one of these scenarios.

  • You remember receiving a document regarding the latest Q3 product promotion, but you can’t seem to find it in email no matter how many “email has:attachment” searches you do. Maybe it was sent over a chat program? But was it on Chatter, Slack, or Yammer?
  • You want to review the detailed technical product features from last month’s release, but rewatching the six hours of launch training videos hardly seems worthwhile.
  • You search for the latest security handbook on your intranet, only to see it is dated 2012.
  • You try to download the newest product presentation from your content repository, but find five different versions – file_v1, file_30216, file_FINAL, file_v4_30410_FINAL_FINAL, file_use.this.one_REALLY.
  • Or you start planning a vacation after your company’s intranet tells you that you’re eligible for a six-month sabbatical after five years of employment, only to be notified that the document you found is for EMEA employees only and not US employees. WTF on all different levels, right?!?

These are just a sampling of my personal experiences, but I can’t fathom there is someone who is unfamiliar with this pain. All of these content repositories are disjointed point solutions. It’s no wonder that IDC estimates employees spend over eight hours a week just looking for information.

These issues all stem from a common crux – files. No matter which distribution system you’re using—LMS, CMS, or email—these systems simply store or link to static PDF, Word, and PPT files. 

If you choose to use static content, be aware of these three major pitfalls:

  1. Content is always out of date
    The process for creating, distributing, and consuming files is disjointed and disparate. Content creators use simple or sophisticated programs to create content. Then it is uploaded or sent to one of the many distribution channels. If end users can actually find the content, they download and read the file as needed, rendering the file immediately out of date as it sits on their desktop. The only consistency in the whole process is that it’s always inconsistent, thereby birthing the issues stated above.
  2. Files are flat
    Not only are traditional files impossible to keep up to date, they are also flat and rigid. It’s difficult to build in interactive elements and other multimedia aspects to engage users. How often have you seen a video embedded into a PDF? As the attention span of individuals shortens, having dynamic content can provide positive mental stimulation.
  3. Static documents are not mobile ready
    PDFs and PowerPoint are not responsive to different devices, whether it’s on the PC, tablet or mobile phone. Users will have to pinch and zoom to read these files whereas content built for mobile is device agnostic and will automatically reformat and reflow to any screen size. These traditional formats were constructed to be easily printed, so unless you also still use your fax machine, you may want to consider a document format that’s built for mobile.

As we create more content and lean on more point solutions, we need to rethink how we communicate and collaborate internally as this hand-me-down file system will only get worse. HTML is the de facto standard on how we communicate and collaborate outside your company’s four walls. Maybe it’s time to open those doors and adopt the standard for the enterprise.