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Companies need to act now to define standards for success of their online assets and maintain them into the future.
When the World Wide Web broke into the public arena during the mid-to-late 1990s, it instantaneously captured our collective imaginations. It was intuitively important and viscerally mysterious—almost magical in its abilities to enable new forms of communication and interaction. In these dawning days, most corporate leaders recognized that something needed to be done about the Internet.
The sense of urgency intensified as more and more organizations (and competitors) jumped onto the bandwagon. With greater purpose than direction, legions of young professionals were dispatched to explore and tame this new frontier.
But few among them had meaningful experience with traditional business disciplines. As a result, the digital and traditional worlds diverged. Traditional disciplines like Total Quality Management, design for manufacturability and maintainability and sigma-based process control were—and still are—largely unrecognized in the digital world.
Yet, in the traditional business world, such disciplines have proven instrumental to the efficiency, effectiveness, integrity and scalability of core operations, related analytics and management controls.
Missing traffic tags, poor link integrity, inconsistent coding and meta-data standards, unsecured visitor data. Such issues profoundly affect the performance and profitability of digital properties, and the experience (and security) of its visitors.
For example, a lack of effective meta-data standards, excessive page-weights, missing document properties and inconsistent accessibility features directly undermine traffic volumes. Correct such issues and more consumers will find and visit your properties instead of going elsewhere. Likewise, heavy pages, poor link integrity and inferior information irretrievability all suppress conversion rates while increasing drop-off rates. With these addressed, more consumers will conclude their business with you rather than bail out to seek satisfaction elsewhere.
Inconsistent security protocols, consumer privacy and third-party IP protections undermine consumer confidence while creating significant corporate and brand liabilities. Meanwhile, the unnecessary proliferation of coding technologies, redundant content, inadequate version control and asset management, all act to significantly increase the complexity and cost of site construction, management and maintenance. Address such issues and you will simplify and improve the efficiency and scalability of your digital operations across the board.
Based on thousands of diagnostic scans completed each year for more than a decade, we know that such deficiencies are universal. Relatively few organizations routinely identify and address structural defects and technical implementation deficiencies that would pave the way to more consistent and controllable online performance. These problems are hidden in the vast majority of businesses, and fester, thwarting the best efforts to drive online performance.
Given this new reality, what may have been a hidden nuisance in the past will soon become a crippling burden with potentially severe consequences that can no longer be ignored or tolerated. Site deficiencies have undermined volumes, conversions, user experiences, efficiencies, security and scalability, and all this in the context of relatively tame content publication complexity and velocity.
If they continue to linger, new market dynamics will compound the problem and amplify their impact. Defining and proactively managing technical standards is essential for enabling effective, agile and intelligent interactive marketing. In fact, the establishment of robust implementation quality (I.Q.) standards is nothing less than a business imperative.
Fortunately, as important and increasingly urgent as this need has become, the solution can be as simple and routine as the automated “spell check” function in word processing. How? Through these steps:
Once standards are defined, automated quality and compliance management with intuitive dashboards can provide instant visibility into any digital property (websites, widgets, social and mobile). With the simplicity of spell-checking, such capabilities can ensure that standards are being rigorously kept both before and after sites are launched, regardless of where or by whom the content is produced and published.
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