Management Starts at the Local Level [PDF]
By Phillip L. Green, President and CEO, Inmagic, Inc.
As the ocean of information deepens every minute of every hour
of every day, leading-edge thinkers in the world of corporate
content management are coming to realize one inalienable truth:
One size does not fit all.
Information-intensive organizations are just not well served
by strictly enterprise-level content management solutions. While
it may be convenient for businesses to think of content management
only in terms of the enterprise, the fact of the matter is the
different business units of an organization have uniquely distinct
information needs, so the most effective content management solution
starts at the local level.
Consider the specific information needs of the marketing and
R&D departments in a world class technology company. While
the marketing department may need access to internal competitive
intelligence reports, external industry analyst reports, and
the metrics of a recently completed promotional campaign, the
R&D department requires access to scientific journals, a
link to the United States Patent Office, and an internal intellectual
Providing Actionable Information
Decision makers in these and other departments need the most
up-to-date and applicable information to make the best judgments
possible. And the only way they will have access to such information
is if the content is managed at the local level where individual
information requirements can be acknowledged and rapidly fulfilled.
For example, this same technology company has a project team
comprised of members of new business development and R&D.
They are charged with making a recommendation on whether to enter
a new market. Local self-managed content management systems allow
the team to set up a new knowledgebase, fill the knowledgebase
with internal and external information, build custom reports,
deploy it to the intranetand accomplish all of this with
the speed necessary to help make a decision in 60 days.
In contrast, imagine how long it would take to customize the
enterprise-wide corporate portal, never mind the wait to get
IT's response to your request.
Content that is Relevant and Timely
So while local control is the place to start when discussing
sound content management policy, there are other issues that
are crucial in the deployment and implementation of a
highly effective content management solution.
Content should be well organized so that business users can
put their hands on significant and disparate content sources
without experiencing a complicated technical integration. The
concept of well-organized information dovetails nicely with the
idea of local control, because at the local level users are better
able to organize and understand the content sources that are
most important to their business efforts.
A local, well-organized content management solution must also
combine relevant internal and external content. To make this
possible, the content management system must be supple enough
to create common information formats and share both the format
and the data on the World Wide Web, intranets, and elsewhere.
Consider the product management group within a multinational
pharmaceutical company that delivers actionable information to
the desktop by contextually merging existing internal business
intelligence with streaming e-content. This provides end users
with up-to-the moment snapshots on the subjects of their choice.
Because the group employs a self-managed, local content management
solution, it is able to deliver this kind of information to its
users 24/7/365 via the corporate intranet.
Similarly, for an eminent niche biotechnology firm, staying
abreast of the latest developments in a cutting edge industry
can be a daunting task. So, the marketing department designed
a Key Competitors application. This database provides their employees
with basic information about competitors, and then allows them
to link to Web sites for publicly available information such
as Securities and Exchange Commission filings, stock prices,
news, and competitors' Web sites. The result is that business
users have access to the most current information on competitive
Standards Facilitate Integration
Finally, the leading content management systems are constructed
on a scalable and reliable platform, and incorporate current
standards for operating systems, databases and open programming
interfaces and approaches. Standards such as XML and SOAP increasingly
allow organizations to develop local content management solutions
that complement and interface with larger, enterprise-wide systems.
Both Forrester and Deloitte Research support this view, suggesting
that large, organization-wide solutions are more likely to succeed
when implemented as local activities that then connect to the
corporate-wide system via standard XML formats.
By adhering to all of these key content management principlesimplementing
local control, providing well-organized content, effectively
integrating internal and external data, and building a system
on a scalable and open platforman organization can have
the best of all possible worlds: The distinct business units
will have access to self-managed content for their specialized
information needs, and the enterprise system can aggregate data
from within these more local knowledgebases to ensure corporate-wide
access to all of the content that exists within an organization.
In the world of content management, it doesn't get any better
Inmagic Content Server combines the advantages
of a robust and flexible database management environment
with high speed search and categorization, making finding
relevant information fast, easy and precise. Built-in Web
publishing capabilities allow content to be published to
a corporate intranet or the Internet. And, unlike more
complex content management systems, Inmagic Content Server
is a system that can be deployed for use quickly and cost-effectively
with only minimal support from the IT staff. By taking
advantage of the unparalleled scalability and reliability
of Microsoft® SQL Server, Inmagic Content
Server is able to provide a breadth of content management
solutionsfrom the single department or workgroup
to global deployment of an enterprise-wide system. Utilizing
industry standards for connectivity such as SOAP and XML,
Inmagic Content Server is ideally suited to manage
unstructured content with maximum flexibility and complete
Inmagic® is a global provider of content and
information management software and services that organize and
deliver enterprise content, seamlessly integrate both internal
and external content sources, and deploy business-critical information
to corporate portals, intranets, extranets, and the Web. Specific
applications include market, business, and competitive intelligence,
library automation, litigation support, and Web publishing. Inmagic's
information management solutions are installed in more than 8,000
organizations in over 50 countries. For more information about
Inmagic and its products, visit http://www.inmagic.com or call
800.229.8398, Ext. 255 or 781.938.4444, Ext. 255.