Vignette: CM strategic to unlocking enterprise value

Most enterprises today are crippled by the inability to integrate information locked in silos across the organization -- a critical failure in efforts to improve relationships with customers, suppliers, and employees, according to Greg Peters, chairman and CEO of Vignette.

Speaking at the AIIM 2002 Conference here on Wednesday, Peters said the heart of the problem is that customers and distributors require access to information that is buried in separate applications.

"Leveraging this information that sits in silos across the organization is foremost on companies minds today," he said.

CM (content management) has evolved from its early role in the late 1990s of providing basic Web content production and management capabilities to become a strategic enterprise initiative.

The major limitation of early CM efforts was the disconnect between the content creation process and the delivery process, according to Peters. Because of that limitation everything enterprises did with CM had to be hand-coded.

"This decoupling of the production and delivery meant there was no intelligence in the site, and the applications didn't understand what content was being served or to who," he said.

Enterprises are tapping CM applications today to leverage information, drive business and productivity, and reduce costs throughout the organization, Peters said. "The strategic need for effective CM today is more evident than ever in terms of business impact, ROI, and customers' expectations," he said.

CM fills the gap between information that sits hidden in organizations both in structured systems and on desktops. Exposing that information is the reality that CM can deliver today, according to Peters.

Moreover, CM provides a separate application category that can link internal enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM, and supply-chain management to outside distributors, customers, and suppliers, Peters added.

"We think it is a separate application category that links all the information hidden in the organization to external constituents in an intelligent way," he said.

In the future, the ability of a CM system to support open portal frameworks will be a crucial requirement as the portal and application server layers merge.

In addition, over the next couple years Web services will play a vital role in defining CM capabilities and how companies collaborate and interact, Peters said.

Enterprises today need to think strategically about balancing current needs with where the future direction of CM technology, Peters said.

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