Content Management Case Studies

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May 19, 2003

May 2003 Issue

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Picture Perfect CM

Case: Kodak
Product: Documentum 4i eBusiness
Platform: Windows NT, Solaris, and hp-ux
Price: $200-$600 per seat, depending on functionality

Documentum began in the document management business 12 years ago, long before content management as we now know it was even a concept, and it was precisely this staying power that drew Kodak to them when they went looking for a content management solution. They needed help managing their massive collection of product support literature, which included documentation, online help, service manuals, and service and support content for the Web site. Not only did Kodak have to produce these items in a variety of formats (hard copy, pdf, html), they also had the added burden of having to translate the finished products into multiple languages. They had reached a point where the process was becoming unmanageable.

Prior to bringing in Documentum to help, Kodak had attempted to use another vendor's solution, but it never worked out and the relationship finally ended when the vendor went out of business. John Bustard, director of technical knowledge management at Kodak says, "We were looking at Gartner and [other industry experts] in order to understand where various content management packages were stacking up based on different criteria. Documentum at that time had made a hard push into Web content management and were highly rated in terms of their positioning by [these] industry experts." Bustard says that Docu- mentum matched their desire for a company with a large user base that wasn't going away and was highly touted by industry experts, and they jumped on board.

Lisa Schwartz, manager of strategic initiatives, was also drawn to the fact that Documentum integrated with Adobe FrameMaker (their writing and production tool) and with their Lotus Notes system (an important factor when they purchased the system). Perhaps most important to Schwartz, however, was that Documentum was promoting XML as a content management solution, and although, she says, "we weren't there yet, we knew that was part of a strategy and that was where we were heading."

Kodak knew they needed to start migrating content to XML and wanted to get to the point where they could programmatically process content to multiple outputs. The Documentum solution not only allowed them to do this, but also allowed them to bring order to the documentation creation process by developing workflow systems that automated the flow of content through the editorial cycle. Still, there were many hurdles to overcome making the transition to the Documentum system.

Bustard says in order to ease the transition, they started working with a consultant from IBM to help them convert from the manual publications production system they were using to a content-managed environment and to make the transition to xml. Bustard says the consultant told them to concentrate on converting one content area such as user guides and to make the transition to content management slowly, beginning with the check-in/check-out process. Bustard says, "This was the correct approach," but he points out that his writing staff did not see huge productivity improvements straight away, although productivity did improve over time.

Meanwhile, Schwartz and her technical staff were working on making the transition to XML, which involved breaking down different types of information into component pieces that they could reuse. Today, Kodak uses XML extensively to chunk and reuse information in the Documentum content repository. Schwartz says that using Documentum's XML application allows them to take XML and break it apart at whatever level they need to. Using a camera as an example, she explains they may write a series of different pieces on the camera such as specifications, introductory statement, benefits, etc. She says, "The XML application allows us to burst apart the information at those levels, so then we can take those small components and drive reuse."

John Bustard points to the Web site as an example of how they are reusing information. He says that they are managing the Service and Support site for digital Easy Share Cameras through XML processes and Documentum. Bustard says that in the old days, when you needed to update accessories that are common to several cameras, you had to manually update every page associated with that accessory. Now, he says, they maintain information in a database table and programmatically update every relevant Web page with the push of a button. He says one of their driving principals has been "How can we programmatically address this content instead of addressing it all manually."

Lisa Schwartz says her department's whole focus now in document production is to make the process as seamless as possible, whether working in a variety of output formats, or in multiple languages. Schwartz points out that without this process automation, it would be very difficult to translate the material into multiple languages. She says, "If we had to take these manuals in the state they were in before without using this process, we probably wouldn't even have the manpower to put them out there in all of these various languages. It would be just too labor-intensive and cost-prohibitive for us to do that."

CM Goes to the Movies

Case: New Line Cinema
Product: Atomz Publish
Platform: Web-hosted; runs on any browser
Price: $20,000/year for a single site with up to 5 users

Atomz CEO Steve Kuzmer cut his teeth running the Macromedia corporate Web site and that experience helped him understand the challenges associated with managing a large Web site. That is how he came up with the idea that Web site content management should be an outsourced Web-based service accessible from any browser, rather than an application that sits on a company server. The end result was Atomz Publish, a Web-hosted, Web site content management package.

Kuzmer says, "We build enterprise applications for Web sites that are 100 percent Web native (or hosted). We have never shipped a CD and we believe it's a better solution." He says they are "trying to enable customers in a straight-forward intuitive way to add and modify content on Web property anywhere you have a browser without having to worry about software licenses."

It was just this model that appealed to Kesone Phimmasone, director of ecommerce at New Line Cinema. She says, "There was a need for our department to put together a site where public relations people could go online and get content such as images and production notes about upcoming movies." Phimmasone says New Line had implemented a custom content management system in their LA office for this purpose, which she characterized as "a disaster." She was asked to search for a new solution when she read an article about Atomz Publish. Intrigued, she went to their Web site and downloaded a 30-day trial, and after implementing in the demo area the very publicity site she was charged with building, she realized this was exactly what she needed. While it was not perfect, she was happy with the overall results, which became the New Line Cinema Publicity Site (

She says her Web development staff is still responsible for site design, but now personnel from four departments can make changes and insert images without any help from the Web design and development team. Before implementing the Atomz solution, all content had to flow through the Web development staff.

Phimmasone says the hosted solution was also a big plus. She liked the idea that they didn't have to install software on their own server or have someone dedicated to site upkeep. More importantly, having Atomz handle hosting, lowered the cost significantly. She points out that there were a lot of high-end systems available, but she says, "This isn't the core of what we do; it's a side project we needed to get done quickly and not for $100,000." In fact, she says, "We had the entire site working just on their demo before we signed the contract."

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