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Sound Content 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 property database.

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 intranet—and 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 initiatives.

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 principles—implementing local control, providing well-organized content, effectively integrating internal and external data, and building a system on a scalable and open platform—an 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 than that!

Inmagic®Content Server

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 solutions—from 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 local control.



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.

Special Supplement to EContent, June 2003
Special Supplement to Information Today, June 2003
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