October 3, 2019
How Ultimate Software Broke Down Content Silos by Building a Unified Content Repository
Unified Content Repository Ingeniux

Managing content across multiple systems is a headache. The more content, the more systems, the bigger the headache.

Ultimate Software experienced this first-hand and decided to do something about it. They knew what they wanted to do: Unify their content library in a single application and deliver that content wherever necessary. But that’s not all, they also needed a solution that could support multiple authors, enable content reuse, provide metadata, integrate with third-party applications, and more.

It may sound impossible – but we can assure you that it is not.

Ultimate Software found the solution they were looking for with a Unified Content Repository. Using the Ingeniux Platform, their team built a UCR that now manages content across the company and provides powerful content delivery and personalization functionality.

In a recent webinar, Stacey Onysio, Principal, Learning Center for Ultimate Software shared how she and her team went from having a standard support portal that contributed to content silos to building a functioning UCR. She was joined by Ann Rockley, Founder, and CEO of the Rockley Group, a content strategy consulting firm that worked with Ultimate Software on their strategy for a unified content repository, as well as Andrew Douglas from Ingeniux.

To hear the full story, we recommend you watch the replay. To get a summary of the key points, read on.

The Journey to a Unified Content Repository

The implementation of a UCR happened in stages for Ultimate Software. The company started with a standalone support and knowledge management site that HTML enabled content. The next phase involved building a Unified Content Portal for Library services. They web-enabled content, imported content, and unified it for ease of use, better user experience and to enable personalization at the enterprise level.

At this point, the company understood the value of creating a unified content experience and started the process of moving to the next phase – a Unified Content Repository. With a UCR the publishing layer also moves to XML alongside the authoring experience.

Onysio said they needed a way to reuse content, supporting multiple versions of the content for multiple audiences across multiple channels. The content also needed to be translated. Content was located across online help, training materials and as documents in the Learning Portal.

It was important, Onysio said, to enforce structure and simplify the authoring process. Another key feature was discoverability. They had a large library of content, and they wanted to personalize it to the user, ensuring the right content was easily found. Finally, the solution had to fit their needs and budget.

Onysio said they recognized a need; they just didn’t know what the solution was. The first step was to outline their goals, some of which included:

The ability to support their future vision of dynamic, personalized, relevant content as a service (CaaS).

Create a unified system with a high level of reuse and the ability to support dynamic publishing and intelligent content.

A solution that was flexible and scalable – evolving with their needs and growth

Stacey and her team knew what they needed in a solution, but they didn’t know how to get the solution they needed. They turned to Ann Rockley in this next phase to help them find or build a soluition that could address their complex content needs.

The Process

A big part of what Rockley did was outline the process of implementing a Unified Content Repository. This process is necessary for any company thinking of implementing a UCR.  

First, the company needed a big-picture understanding of what they were trying to achieve and why. She said it’s important to understand your customer needs and pain points.

Next, you need to talk about content. How is it structured, where is it reused, and what level of granularity is required? How will you deliver it – in a static fixed way or personalized?

Then, make sure you get requirements from all stakeholders, including reviewers and approvers and champions.

You also need to gather technical requirements. Consultants, like Rockley, bring a lot of experience with other companies and projects that can provide a good understanding of what works and what doesn’t and can provide a direction for success. Rockley often acts as a mentor or a soundboard, answering questions as you work through the process.

Developing your content strategy is critical, Rockley said. Content is rarely in the right state to meet the vision from the beginning. Part of a content strategy includes defining a content model which involves things such as the structure of primary deliverables, structured topics, and authoring guidance for content reuse. This is important, Rockley said, to enable Ultimate Software to do it on their own going forward.

A reuse strategy is important to define. Rockley said you have to think about the types of reuse you want to have (note: personalization is a reuse strategy). She said there are pros and cons of different types of reuse. For example, topics too large are difficult to reuse, but topics too small are a content management nightmare. Finding a happy medium is the goal of a reuse strategy.

Finding the right tools to help is the final step. Rockley said that too often many start with selecting the tool. Rockley’s team helps develop a vendor landscape as well as the requirements and use cases for the vendors. She said they also work as a vendor liaison to ensure the vendor understands the customer needs; this ensures the vendor is answering the requirements properly.

Four Stages of Deployment

The final solution, which was built on Ingeniux, was deployed in four stages (this is not an exhaustive list of everything they did; you can watch the full webinar to learn more):

  • Stage 1 – Aggregation: This involved identifying and mapping how content is structured. They evaluated all their content and worked with writers to ensure they were on board with the process.
  • Stage 2 – Intelligence: This stage involved modeling content for web enablement. They defined performance metrics in search.
  • Stage 3 – Curation: They enabled content for curation by adding value based on audience needs (using profile, role in the product) using tags and metadata.
  • Stage 4 – Distribution: Content is delivered to multiple endpoints including standalone use, Learning Portal, within products, CRM and other systems.

Just the Beginning

Onysio said that Ingeniux CMS was the heart and brain of content operations. They allocated significant time to make sure the architecture would support the effort and opportunities. She said investing time upfront made it easier to define the parameters for the CMS.

Ultimate Software is just starting to leverage their Unified Content Repository. They know there are other content creators and departments within the organization who have the same challenges with silos and personalization, and they want to enable everyone for success.

Watch the entire webinar replay to learn more about Ultimate Software’s journey to a Unfiied Content Repository.

Posted by Riley Edmunds