What is Your Content Capability Maturity?

If you were asked to create a list of 3-5 short term goals for managing your content, what would they be?

What about 3-5 long term goals?

For some organizations, it’s easy to state their content management goals because they directly support the Learning and Development Strategy.

Let’s say for example that your L&D Strategy objective is to increase the impact and availability of informal learning. The way to enable this (the HOW) might be provide a combination of standard operating procedures in written and video format, online search plus an SOP checklist used by peer mentors . This learning strategy objective would drive these content goals:

  1. Streamline the process for identifying, developing and delivering SOPs in written and video format
  2. Create a taxonomy and key word strategy for search by job role and other terms
  3. Identify opportunities for reusing SOPs for different job roles
  4. Implement a mobile-friendly search portal
  5. Develop a standard report showing SOP usage by group, job role and individual

The truth is that some L&D teams may not have clear direction from leadership and the business on their goals. Other organizations have a general sense of improvements they need to make, such as increasing process efficiency, decreasing time-to-market for learning deliverables, or implementing mobile learning. Even these organizations may struggle with articulating HOW to leverage their content and processes to meet these goals.

If you are trying to articulate how critical content is to achieving your L&D goals, let me go back to some ideas from my last blog post. Content is an asset that should be used by the business to improve human resource performance, communicate information across departments, and share a common vision. Learning content IS a business asset, not a temporary or disposable by-product of your work. It is the job of the learning function within the business to determine how the content is managed, distributed, consumed and used to provide a financial impact that is relevant to the business. A content strategy (the plan used to document content management goals and processes) is most effective when it supports and directly aligns back to the goals of the learning organization. If you have a content strategy, you will get better ROI from content development processes, as will your organization.

So, How Do You Put Content To Work as a Business Asset?

High performance learning organizations invest in a combination of people, processes and technology to power their content strategy. They deliver learning outcomes and business impact by consistently executing across these four content capability areas Learning Design and Strategy, Collaborative Content Development, Content Reuse, and Learning Delivery. This content maturity model (below) was developed by Xyleme for Xyleme clients. It is based on over 10 years of experience working with clients of all sizes and industries that are using learning content as a strategic business asset.

what is your content capability maturity


Before we address the question of “How to put your content to work?” with a client, we help them understand their current organizational maturity and content capability. You can do this using a simple assessment tool. This assessment can help identify how your content is performing today and what you’d like for it to do tomorrow.

Take a few moments to complete the survey.

Analyzing Your Results

There are no right or wrong answers. You will find that your organization is performing along a spectrum of maturity, with some areas being more mature than others. Even high performance learning organizations will find that their content flows forwards and backwards along this spectrum over time. For example, today’s Strategic performance of Learning Delivery may move back to Proactive while implementing a new Learning Management System (LMS). Or today’s Responsive performance of Learning Design may improve to a Proactive level when implementing a needs analysis surveys that yields a new requirement like more blended learning solutions or micro-learning.

The goal of the survey and of Xyleme’s Content Capability Maturity Model is to provide a sense of direction. Take time to analyze the questions and your responses to determine what your content is doing today, and what you’d like for it to do in the next 6 months, 1 year or 3 years.

Step by Step Process

Below we outline the process for setting up your strategy to leverage your content.

1. Set Objectives

Now that you have a better sense of where you are and where you would like to go, let’s start by setting your content objectives based on your organization’s priorities. Post-It notes can be a great tool so have some handy! Start by brainstorming your list of objectives. Write one on each Post-It note so you can move them around.

2. Prioritize Objectives

Once you’ve listed the objectives, prioritize them by significance, or impact to the business. Identify those improvements that yield a financial impact. Process improvements and efficiencies both yield a great financial impact to the business. Other impacts may include partnering. Improvements such as conducting audience analysis, gaining learner feedback and conducting needs analysis provide opportunities to reach out to the business and partner with them to offer services that are needed in the field.

Some improvements may require significant work effort to enact in your organization. It may also require a plan for managing change and driving user adoption.

Indicate their priority with a marker such as, HF, LF, HP, LP

HF = High Financial

LF = Low Financial

HP = High Partnering

LP = Low Partnering

Next, consider the ease of implementation. It’s important to identify opportunities to make changes that will be quickly enacted and embraced. Identify the low hanging fruit areas that can be changed and adopted with relatively low difficulty. Some examples include standardizations, simplifications and minor tools that the team has been requesting. These are considered aids to conducting business as usual and are key in driving adoption. Indicate on a corner each improvements ease of implementation.

E = Easy (requires ~ 1 month or less of work effort to complete)

M = Medium (requires 2-3 months of work effort)

H = Hard (requires several months of work effort)

3. Segment Your Improvements

Finally, sort the improvements into segments according to when they are likely to be realized. Note that High Priority/Hard to implement items rarely fall into a 3-6 month category. They are more likely to be placed in the 1 year or 3-5 year categories, so that appropriate resources can be identified and tasked to complete over time.

3-6 months 1 year 3-5 years
Improvement 1 Improvement 2 Improvement 3
Improvement 4 Improvement 5 Improvement 6
Improvement 7 Improvement 8 Improvement 9

4. Create Your Content Plan

Now you are ready to transfer your short-term and long-term content management goals into a content strategy plan. Don’t have one?

In addition to this content maturity model, Xyleme offers Content Strategy consultative services with the Xyleme Platform that enables our clients to identify their business drivers, determine how content and our software can help achieve these goals, and document a Content Strategy. Effective content management should be part of your transformation.

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