Cut Out the Middle Man: a solution for self-service content sharing

Outcomes:
  • Eliminated internal staff as “brokers” in content-sharing transactions between customers, freeing resources for other tasks.
  • Doubled adoption rate of content shared through simplifying its implementation.
  • Streamlined the release process for content providers by 30x-50x.
Challenges:
  • Content-sharing agreements account for only a small fraction of our business but an inordinate amount of attention from customer service reps and account managers
  • Internal staff were acting as “brokers” in these situations to retain customers, draining resources from more profitable activities
Solution: I replaced a complex and opaque system of “permissions” with a radically simpler concept: allow customers to build different course catalogs for different audience segments. I replaced the complicated item-level permissions with catalog-based permissions that were easier to understand and implement, and worked beautifully with my other concept of “smart user groups.”
Content providers simply create a separate catalog for each licensing agreement, and share that with all customers who adopt that agreement. When new content is released, the content provider’s workload is reduced from one update per customer to one update per agreement (a thirty- to fifty-fold decrease).
Each recipient customer chooses from an “automatic” system, where all content from the provider flows through to their end users, or an “opt-in” system, where licensed content is curated and approved for use. This is accomplished with a single toggle.