Vendors detail changing face of content management

Several vendors here Tuesday said that CM (content management) is evolving to include a broader variety of data types and new functionality and, in so doing, is broadening the ways CM can be used to add value throughout the organization.

The companies, including Stellent Inc., Corel Corp., and Hyland Software Inc., presented at the AIIM Content Management Solutions show, being held at the Pennsylvania Hotel.

"Content is in chaos. Content is growing at a phenomenal rate, and most of it is not managed," said Tim Roddy, director of product marketing at Stellent, in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Roddy continued that CM has typically been broken into two categories: Web content management and document management.

"Enterprise content management is moving well beyond Web content management or document management. Content management is really the merging of these two," Roddy said.

Roddy and some of the other speakers expressed the notion that ECM (enterprise content management) involves more than merely slapping the letter E in front of the phrase content management.

The new shape of CM, Roddy said, includes a collaboration process in which many people throughout the enterprise contribute content, has a core repository for storing data, involves sharing content across multiple resources, and includes the ability to leverage application servers for high volume information delivery, scalability, and capabilities such as personalization and localization. Further, CM is becoming more tightly integrated with enterprise applications and portals via open standards such as SOAP, XML, and WSDL (Web Services Description Language) for Web services-style integration, LDAP for security, and others including COM and Java.

Corel officials made the case that customers can use XML to gain a competitive advantage. XML, for instance, addresses the core challenges of managing content: creating it, converting it to a format that can be understood by other systems, and then distributing it.

"XML offers the ability of taking data and repurposing it for different types of delivery," said Phil Amorese, a regional manager at Corel, in Ottawa. For instance, XML can use be used to prepare data for electronic formats, traditional print formats, or mobile delivery via handheld computing devices, he said.

"The nice thing is [that] the content is created at the source. There's no conversion needed, it's done automatically," Amorese said.

There are a number of additional benefits to this new breed of CM, according to Collin Boetger, an official at Hyland Software, in Cleveland.

"Cost reduction is the biggest benefit. It makes the most impact on organizations," Boetger said.

Typical costs that companies can reduce involve document generation, distribution and storage. While lowering those costs companies can also streamline business processes.

"When you've got better access to documents, you can accelerate processes," Boetger said, adding that some of the business processes that can be automated include error-checking and checking for duplicates, as well as automatic e-mail notification in the event that human interaction is necessary.

In addition to cost savings and honed business processes, Boetger said customers will be able to better distribute information and boost application integration.

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