Where will the content reside? How will it be accessed? Who gets access? How do users find the specific content they need? Those are all issues concerning distribution in presentation management. Let’s answer these questions one at a time.

Where is the content? Host the content on the cloud, because that’s where users can get to it, whether they are sitting inside corporate headquarters or working from home. Most of our clients subscribe to our hosting service. But there are a few who prefer to keep their content on the premises, in which case they install Shufflrr on their own cloud. The goal is to make sure users can get content, anywhere, anytime, from any device. There’s nothing more frustrating than sitting down at your desk to get some work done only to realize that you are locked out for some dumb reason.

How is content accessed? Access begins with logging into the slide library. Users then find content through search and visualization. The quality of the slide library, visualization, content hierarchy, search and permissions will affect the ease or the difficulty with which users can successfully find what they need.

What about logins? The No. 1 reason we get help requests: a user can’t log in, usually because he or she forgot the password or URL. It happens all of the time for cloud services, not just for Shufflrr. Most of our clients support single sign-on, or SSO. When a user is logged into the company network, he or she can access the library. There are no additional passwords to remember. To make it even easier, some clients create a dashboard of all of their services on one home page. That way employees don’t need to remember a bunch of different URLs. The benefit of SSO is that when employees leave the company, they lose access to their slide library, too. From a security standpoint, it’s tighter. Another option is to integrate your presentation management solution with a complementary content management system (CMS) like Box or SharePoint, or a sales enablement service like Salesforce. Last, but not least, a login can be a stand-alone with unique credentials. Choose the path of least resistance, whatever will be easiest for your team to find and access their slide library.

How does the visual slide library work? All files in presentation management are formatted and ready to present. A slide library is a tool that visualizes the content. It makes a thumbnail of every slide in a PowerPoint or page in a Word doc. You can give content a quick preview, or read it closely, so you can decide if it’s the right content for your next meeting. Then you can select the pieces of those files and reorganize them into your new presentation. The purpose of the slide library is to turn every piece of content into a slide, ready for use. The slides are then presented to the user so he or she can decide to use it in a new presentation. Like it’s saying, “Look at me! I have some great words, with nice animations and a pretty picture. Pick me for your new presentation!” A piece of content can also say, “Present me right now in the middle of your meeting. I’ve got all the info your client is asking about, and I am ready to go.” That’s an accessible slide library with productive content.

What is content hierarchy? This is how the content is organized. It’s a combination of folders, subfolders and tags. A good place to start when trying to decide how to organize your content is to look at how your company is organized: by product, by service, by region, etc. For example, pharmaceuticals organize their content by drug and disease. Financial services companies usually organize their slide library by banking service: retail banking, wealth management, business banking, etc. International cruise lines organize their content by tour destinations and ships. Also consider the purpose of the content: case studies, company histories, product overviews and executive bios all serve different objectives. The objective of a piece of content will determine where to put it in the hierarchy and who will be given access.

Content hierarchy is integral to presentation strategy. Your presentation management team will ask what is the content, who will present it, and in what business setting. The answers to those questions will guide the content hierarchy for your library, and guide the permissions.

How does the search function operate? No matter how well-structured that hierarchy is, everyone’s thought process is different. Think of a 10-year-old boy looking for his socks. He calls down to his mother, “Mom, where are my socks?” She replies, “In your room, where they belong.” She’s thinking the dresser. But the poor child is looking on the floor because that’s where little boys think all things should go, including socks. Two different perspectives in the same place, for the same item. And that’s why a visual search tool is critical for distribution. Visual search lets you preview thumbnails of the search results, so you can skim through your options before you make a choice. Contextual search, where the files are automatically indexed upon inclusion in your slide library, will minimize the need for additional meta-tags, and compensate for content hierarchy limitations. Contextual search means that all of the text that occurs naturally within the file: the file name, the titles and subtitles, the body copy and for PowerPoint speaker notes, is automatically searchable. Filtering search parameters allows users to zoom into a subset of content. When you have a library of 1,000 files and 10,000 slides, the ability to set your own search parameters will save users a lot time wasted browsing through the wrong files. In presentation management, we just want to make sure that everyone and anyone can find the files they need. Advanced search tools help achieve that.

Metadata, which is just a fancy word for tags, are another tool for organizing and searching for content. If a word naturally occurs within the context of the copy, then you don’t need to tag it. It will show up in the search. Add tags to a slide or file when it won’t naturally show up in search. Tags can also provide another way to organize the content. Tag a hundred files, and when the user does a search against that one tag, a clean list of files will appear.

What about permissions? Permissions are a critical element of distribution because they direct the right content to the individuals and groups who need it most. And permissions hide content from people who should not use it. We wouldn’t want to burden a research assistant with financial content, for instance.

Permissions are a matrix of content access and functionality: who gets access to which files, and what are they allowed to do with those files. The answers to the questions below will be different for different members of your team. For example, an end-user in the field will have fewer editing permissions than a brand manager who is responsible for creating and updating her team’s content. Most of our clients create groups of users with the same permissions. The groups, like the content structure, represent the different lines of business, regions or executive levels in the company.

Here are some permissions that can be granted or denied. When applied to your organization, permissions allow for control of the message and mitigate risk caused by misuse of content. “They” in this case refers to individuals and groups. “They” will have a different permission level depending on who they are, and what they need to accomplish.

Can they see it?
Can they use the content, as is?
Can they download it, remove it from the system?
Can they download it in editable format?
Can they download it in a locked or PDF format to prevent editing?
Can they edit content?
Can they contribute content?
Can they organize the content into a hierarchy for their colleagues?
Can they force those edits on other users?
Can they mix and match that file with other files?
Can they give other company users access to it?
Can they share it with a third party?
Can they make comments on a piece of content, a file or slide or video?
Can they “like” or rate the content?
Can they see and configure reports?
Can they grant or deny permissions?

Distribution is ultimately about productivity with control of the content, who is using it, and how they are using it. The purpose of control is to reduce risk and ensure consistent, accurate messaging across your organization.