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DOCUMENT Strategy Forum Interview: Chris Cotteleer, CIO, The Schumacher Group

February 27, 2015

In your company, what does a content management strategy include? Does your organization take a holistic approach (i.e. all content and information) or a more targeted approach (i.e. content on certain systems, associated with certain processes, or belonging to certain departments or functions)? 

Until recently, each department or function at Schumacher was responsible for managing its own content. But with the company’s growth from a small, regional player in the health care industry to a super-regional player, Schumacher has begun migrating toward a more holistic model. With 150 facilities in 29 states, and more people involved in decision-making, operations needed to scale. And we needed to be able to demonstrate control over our information in a systematic, rational, and pragmatic way.

What are some of your biggest challenges in executing your content management strategy?

The biggest challenge is communication – of the need to manage content, the strategy for managing content, of the bad things that can happen from not managing our content, and the good things that can happen from effectively managing our content. 

You have to make information security and compliance part of everyone’s everyday life. Executives here get the need; the “what” is very clear. It is the “how” that needs to be communicated, as in: Tell me how that happens. The lesson for all of us is to communicate why our users need something – but how do we do it in a way that’s practical? What steps do we take to achieve this goal? 

How do you see the proliferation of information transforming your role in the enterprise, the business owners you serve and the overall success of the business as a whole? 

We’re experiencing 50 percent year-over-year growth in information. Content management now has to address a growing volume of structured, unstructured and semi-structured data. We’re trying to hit a moving target. And for an organization like Schumacher Group, which is in the business of saving lives, there are real consequences if we don’t get a grip on our ability to deliver the right information on time:  people’s lives and health are impacted.

Successful strategies boil down to the people who use them and carry them out. In your opinion, what are the leading characteristics of companies that are successful in user adoption over those that fail?

The “hows” are important. 1) Intellectual honesty: Look at the problem and diagnose it. At times, this takes courage. 2) Reciprocity: When you go to the business users about content management, recognize that you are asking them for something: basically, asking them to change the way they work. You need to make sure they know what the benefits are if they buy in; things like cost reduction, security, and process improvement – improving the way that content flows. Help them see that you are finding them a solution, not just a workaround. Help them see information as intellectual inventory, with the opportunity to produce real value. Get them to see that information exists to be used to a greater end – in Schumacher’s case, patient care.

What companies do you admire the most for their innovative content strategy approaches, and why? 

One company I admire is USAA, the organization that provides financial services to people and families that have served, in the U.S. military. USAA manages huge volumes of content – billions of images. In financial services, PNC Bank’s Treasury Management division.

What do you think is the next big content management project/initiative large companies will take on in the next 5 years?

The big concern continues to be securing content. There’s so much valuable content, yet it can be so vulnerable. You address security through encryption, making sure the right people get access at the right time. The recent data breaches of organizations like Target raised awareness, and companies starting to recognize it could hit them, too. You have to be able to see the risk.

What are you most looking forward to for the DSF 2015 event?

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with colleagues in my industry and across industries. Collaboration is the wave of the future. We have to continue to help the world understand that information does not exist to its own end; it exists to forward another goal. We have to continue to promote the idea that there is a better way – to see that massive repository of structured and unstructured data not as a landfill, but as a goldmine.

For more information about the DOCUMENT Strategy Forum, click here. We look forward to seeing you all there!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 5, 2015 9:40 pm

    “to see that massive repository of structured and unstructured data not as a landfill, but as a goldmine”… Great perspective!

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