Centralized content management models have traditionally been the most prevalent among enterprise organizations — at least on paper. The reality is, most large organizations have what can best be described as “hybrid” content management models, incorporating both centralized and decentralized functions.
And it’s easy to understand why — both centralized and decentralized content management models offer valuable benefits. Of course, they also each have their own downsides.
It’s not uncommon for content creation and management functions to organically become decentralized over time. Particularly in large, dispersed organizations, decentralization allows a level of control and focused expertise that’s hard to duplicate with a single, centralized content team.
But by its very nature, decentralization is also prone to problems — it almost always leads to inconsistency from one department to the next, and makes it extremely difficult to reuse and share (let alone track) content effectively across the organization.
Centralized v. Decentralized Content Management: Pros & Cons
Centralized and decentralized content management strategies each bring their own unique benefits and challenges. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each.
Centralized Content Management Model
- Ability to ensure consistency of content across all departments
- Organization-wide alignment on key content priorities
- Ability to easily reuse content across multiple departments
- Simplified content maintenance & version tracking
- Consistency of tools and formats across all departments
- Ability to track & manage content organization-wide
- Lack of flexibility to respond as needs arise
- Longer content production times
- Longer review times
- Possibility of limited subject matter expertise
- Limited control at department level
- Longer update & redeployment times
Decentralized Content Management Model
- Greater flexibility to respond as needs arise
- Dedicated subject matter expertise
- More efficient production & review cycles
- Greater departmental control of processes & alignment with priorities
- Ability to use preferred tools and home-grown solutions
- Ability to update & republish content quickly
- Lack of visibility across content groups
- Duplication of effort across teams
- Lack of control from an organizational level
- Difficult to share and reuse assets across teams
- Difficult to track & manage content organization-wide
- Teams working in different (sometimes incompatible) platforms
Getting the Best of Both Worlds
Is it possible to get the Pros without the Cons?
Yes! With the right technology tools, platforms, and processes in place, organizations can gain the best of both centralized and decentralized content management strategies — without the inherent obstacles and downsides.
Putting the right technology platforms in place is imperative for organizations seeking to create and maintain successful hybird content management teams, allowing them to gain the benefits of both centralized and decentralized content management teams — essentially, allowing them to make the hybrid content management strategy they already have in place work more effectively.
It’s critical that organizations construct a Content Management Technology Ecosystem that not only meets their current needs, but that is designed to scale to continue to meet their needs over the long term.
Content Component Management Systems (CCMSs) allow organizations to gain the benefits of both centralized and decentralized content management strategies, while eliminating associated challenges:
- Structured authoring designed for reuse allows organizations to easily share assets across departments and quickly create multiple variations and outputs without duplicating efforts.
- A collaborative, cloud-based authoring environment makes it easy to develop, review and publish new content more efficiently.
- A centralized content management and delivery hub simplifies maintenance and ensures accuracy and version control.
- Structured output templates ensure content follows consistent formats and correct branding and design elements are automatically applied, regardless of output type (Word, PowerPoint, PDF, HTML5, SCORM, etc.).
It’s no wonder so many Fortune 500 companies have invested in an LCMS, like Xyleme, as a foundational component of their content management strategy.