Content management moves ahead

By Stephanie Sanborn, InfoWorld |  Software

CONTENT MANAGEMENT'S roots may lie in document management, but its future will likely lie on the Web and beyond as its evolution pushes the concept of what content is and how it can be used for e-business.

The Web gave content management and the life cycle of content itself a boost as companies began to realize that although running business on the Web has many benefits, it also requires making content useful and relevant online. Companies are finding a need to collaborate around content, and that often means bringing together users and content from different parts of the globe.

"As you get much richer in your applications and provide more content, more inventory, and a broader set of services to a broader set of people you can reach through the Web, the whole problem of managing that content becomes much greater because you have much more of it and you need to describe it much more effectively," explains Robert Perry, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group in Boston. "It goes beyond just how you connect workers into the process of creating and approving documents; it's really how do you stage content in a way that Web users and people you're trying to do business [with] can interact with it in a way they expect."

"There are two key things that are going to take this market in a new direction," believes Bill Wesemann, the CEO of Lehi, Utah-based NextPage. "One is more and more recognition of distributed work forces and distributed business models, and together with that is a much more active experience for that work force with the information they need."

Centralized but distributed

As content management takes more of a central role in business, it must be extended to include more content sources and access methods and different kinds of content, says Joe Ruck, senior vice president of corporate marketing at Interwoven in Sunnyvale, Calif.

"Content itself is still, of course, very important, but it cannot be seen in isolation, reduced to just text and graphics," he explains. "You have to start looking at things like application code, more active content -- you have to be able to manipulate those kinds of content online."

Nazhin Zarghamee, vice president of worldwide marketing at Pleasanton, Calif.-based Documentum, says content management has been limited to Web content management, but in the future will become enterprise content management.

"Enterprise content management is really where you're bringing in the Web content, the documents that are inside your company, [and] the contracts and start localizing all of that in one content management infrastructure that's global in nature and distributed in structure, and [you] extend that outside the boundaries of your organization," she explains.

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