Content operations (content ops)
Content operations (content ops or ContentOps ) refers to the system your organization uses to develop, deploy, and deliver customer-facing information. Rahel Bailie refers to it as the way that your organization operationalizes your content strategy.
Over at easyDITA, there’s a more aspirational definition, which includes the purpose of good content ops:
Content Operations — ContentOps — is the infrastructure that maximizes your content creators’ efforts and guards against procedural errors by automating as much of the content development process as possible.
But content operations are not necessarily automated or efficient. If you move information from place to place via copy and paste, and have extensive manual quality checks in place to catch the inevitable errors, that’s still content ops (albeit inefficient and tedious content ops).
For the past 24 years, Scriptorium has worked at the intersection of publishing and technology to design and build content systems. Content ops is a concise way of describing that work.
Our goal in building content operations is to set up a working model that is compatible with the organization’s business needs, such as scalability and risk mitigation.
Scalability means that you can increase volume, add delivery channels, translate into more languages, or extend other facets without bottlenecking the content production process. As a practical matter, a scalable workflow is automated. You render content automatically, you reuse content consistently (no copying and pasting!), and your localization workflow maximizes reuse through translation memory and other techniques.
Risk mitigation means reducing the exposure that an organization has due to wrong, out-of-date, or delayed content. You must ensure that any mistakes are corrected before they reach customers, that content updates happen when needed, and that your content is ready to launch with your products.
The following factors make an investment in content operations compelling:
- Volume: The more content you have, the more valuable an efficient content operation is.
- Velocity: When your organization needs to deliver content quickly, content ops can help you accelerate content development and delivery.
- Versioning and channels: If you are delivering content variants or information to multiple channels, you can use content ops to manage all of your content versions.
- Risk: Some content mistakes have serious consequences, such as users getting injured or killed. For high-stakes content, a solid content ops environment makes mistakes less likely (because the overall workload is decreased) and allows your quality assurance team to focus on the content itself and not on recurring formatting errors or distribution problems.
- Regulatory and legal issues: Content ops is useful to mitigate regulatory and legal challenges. If your work includes interaction with regulatory agencies (typical examples are medical devices and heavy machinery in Europe), content ops lets you build a foundation to ensure compliance with the required standard.
Thinking about cleaning up your content operations but not sure where to start? Contact us.