Controlling corporate collateral

By James R. Borck, IDG News Service |  Software

Because the credibility of your content is at stake, all permission policies should be in place before launching your system.

The presentation layer

No doubt the desire to tame the presentation of content has been one of the most compelling forces behind CM systems.

By using presentation templates, CM allows raw data to be poured into a template and delivered to a broad range of devices without having to be reformatted. After administrators develop the template, back-end information can be transformed, rendered, and pushed out to the customer in real time. Dynamic content is nothing new, but the ability to leverage any or all of your corporate resources is now much easier through a CM system.

The format transformation of the document that makes it viewable across many channels is transparent to the user and provides consistency within your site framework. Also, administrators can quickly implement design changes to all pages of a Web site simply by altering the templates.

Most CM packages include some type of development tool to shorten the development cycle and enable easy management of site redesigns.

Another benefit comes from tailored data, allowing personalized, one-to-one delivery of relevant information. Although this typically offers advantages in business-to-consumer transactions, it also presents opportunities for b-to-b transactions as well as for your internal workforce; this lets the business roles of an employee or partner dictate his or her informational vantage point of the organization.

Template design is given to administrators, but CM is in the hands of the people who understand it best -- the staff responsible for generating content in the first place. Most vendors offer easy-to-use front ends that enable nontechnical staff to handle duties such as Web site updates. The time required to publish information is reduced, and responsibilities are distributed among more employees.

Integration caveats

Some systems prefer to hold document data in a standardized format whereas others don't transform the data until the actual request has been made. Depending on the types of request you're anticipating, the lag time could affect the overhead requirements for delivery. More sophisticated systems offer built-in caching optimization and management. Scrutinize these options to make sure they match your needs.

Application integration can present an additional can of worms depending on your existing architecture. Lacking support for a specific servlet engine may limit your options or force you to rethink your application server design.

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