By Suzanne Mescan, Vasont Systems
How a CCMS can maximize your content's value as a corporate asset
Companies across all industries are embracing the idea of intelligent content. Intelligent content, content described by tags and metadata in a standard format such as XML, makes finding and reusing the appropriate content possible for many different purposes across an enterprise. Organizations are finding that their messages are more accurate using intelligent content – not inconsistent and confusing to the customers.
While intelligent content provides many benefits for improved quality and reduced costs, organizations can maximize their savings even further with one piece of technology. Component content management systems (CCMSs) go beyond just storing intelligent content. These CCMSs also provide the intelligent management of your content. There are many ways that companies can use a CCMS to intelligently manage your content in order to maximize its value as a corporate asset while minimizing the cost of using it.
Sometimes the term “content reuse” is used to mean “copy-and-paste” when dealing with content that is being managed in programs like XML editing tools or MSWord. If you are making stand-alone copies of content in other documents, you are making more work for yourself when it comes time to finding and updating all of those so-called “reuses.” And, you are risking the accuracy of your content as well by making so many copies. In a CCMS, there is true reuse of your source content; each piece of content resides once in the database and is never duplicated. Now you can lower your editorial time and increase your content’s integrity by working with one trusted source of content. So, beware of “copy-and-paste” reuse imposters and get true content reuse using a CCMS.
Once content is truly reused, intelligent management of changes to content is now possible. A CCMS will automatically capture what changes were made, where and when changes occur, and by whom. With this automation, you can save yourself a lot of time and throw away all of those Excel spreadsheets that you’ve been using to try to keep up with your content revisions. All changes are recorded in the CCMS to provide an audit trail for the users and, if needed, allow previous versions to be reinstated.
Whether your writing team is small or large, it can be challenging to get every writer to follow a set of guidelines. A CCMS can enforce writing guidelines to promote consistency and maximize content reuse among the writing team. For example, use a writing template in the CCMS to provide a specific format for topics. Develop a vocabulary of acceptable and restricted words for your publications that the CCMS can apply to newly written or edited content. Allow the CCMS to provide a list of valid values for components that require a choice of specific terminology. The CCMS can provide the governance to manage writing guidelines so content is developed and presented accurately to your customers.
In addition to intelligently managing the reuse, revisions, and style of your content, you can also benefit from intelligently managing the processes surrounding your content. To reduce the time it takes in your content cycle times, use the CCMS to enforce a consistent workflow for writing, editing, review, translation, and publishing processes. Since the CCMS is the control tower for your processes, it automatically monitors the progress of each project, letting you know where your content stands in the process, where it’s been and where it goes next, all the while reporting on timelines and user performance. The CCMS provides an automated way to keep your finger on the pulse of your content. It’s a smarter way to manage your content processes than trying to track everything manually.
If you’ve taken the plunge into structured authoring and are working with intelligent content, consider the additional quality, time and cost savings you could reap by intelligently managing that content as well. The companies who have already implemented a component content management strategy are reducing their costs by an average of 63% and shortening overall cycle times by 75% on average. So, don’t let your content manage you; manage your content intelligently.
Suzanne Mescan is the President of Vasont Systems.