Best Practices for Managing Content Sprawl in the Era of Remote Work

Apr 28, 2022
Business Process Management Collaboration Software Digital Transformation

With the right strategies, companies can avoid the content sprawl that a hybrid workplace could otherwise suffer from.

Credit: Rocket Software

By Milan Shetti, CEO Rocket Software

The rapid shift to remote work that has taken place over the past two years reshaped the way many companies think about digital transformation. While remote work has ushered in numerous benefits and the hybrid world is here to stay, it has also created new challenges for IT teams to overcome. According to The Washington Post, the transition to permanent remote models is even more disruptive than the shift to all-remote work.

One of the most significant challenges this move has uncovered is content sprawl, a concern especially as privacy regulations expand globally. Content sprawl occurs when users create, duplicate, alter and use unmanaged content to support their day-to-day tasks. With employees working from such a wide array of locations, they often access content by downloading, storing on their device and in the myriad collaborative tools, before sharing it in applications, including email. This leaves content – and by extension, the company – vulnerable to non-compliance, and has a negative impact on productivity.

Dispersed workforces need information to be readily accessible and securely shareable with relevant stakeholders, wherever and whenever they need it. The following are four best practices to put in place when creating and executing a content management strategy.

Prioritize the employee experience

Employee experience must be at the heart of any digital transformation journey, but especially so when it comes to managing content sprawl, which has such a negative impact on the employee experience. Taking a people-first approach to content management requires investing in easily searchable solutions with integrated user interfaces that streamline how employees locate and manage information. By creating a modernized, central point of operations for accessing content, employees can easily and securely access the information they need to do their job, improving productivity and user satisfaction.

Secure your cloud environment

While the cloud has been critical to enabling remote and hybrid work, it is also one of the key culprits in expanding content sprawl. Employees often download and alter content on different devices, creating security risks and resulting in duplicate – or triplicate, and beyond – versions of content.

As more organizations expand to cloud or increase their usage, they must understand the full breadth and depth of their data landscape to ensure their cloud solutions are securely integrated. Automated change analysis tools can help track how data is generated, stored and altered across the enterprise. Only by understanding how data is exchanged and altered both in the cloud and on-premises can they understand how a cloud migration will impact their applications and systems.

Leverage automation

With the proliferation of content in recent years, leveraging automation effectively can be a challenge. One place to begin is with any activity that has been historically reliant on paper documents, like vendor invoice processing. Organizations can also look to automate processes like external approvals and process exceptions that involve sharing content via email. Automating these processes not only improves productivity by allowing employees to focus their time on more valuable work, but also improves content accessibility and security.

Implement robust information governance

As governments across the globe increasingly focus on regulations aimed at protecting personal information, organizations must prioritize corporate governance and compliance standards, without sacrificing their employees’ ability to access the content they need, when they need it. Effective governance should ensure that information is classified and managed properly to adhere to all relevant internal and external factors.

To enable this, organizations should invest in content management solutions that can automate information governance processes to securely manage the content lifecycle and govern who can access, view and modify information.

Successful digital transformation requires a focus on content management. Remote and hybrid working styles are here to stay, but in order for them to be successful, organizations need robust content management strategies to overcome content sprawl challenges and empower employees.

To learn more about how Rocket Software can help you manage your content, visit