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by Jay Fienberg

KMWorld: Content Management for the Mobile Workforce, part 3

posted: Oct 16, 2003 11:50:40 PM

I am at the KMWorld conference in Santa Clara.

Mike Draper is up with his slideshow titled "Write Once, Publish Often: Content Management Systems and Multi-Channel Publishing".

Network World publishes daily news, product reviews, columnists, buyers guides, newsletters, special reports, technology primers, and special issues. A lot of different authoring groups. 250-300 pieces of content go through production systems each week. Reports, freelancers, news services (XML), and marketing content.

Their output channels: print publication (170,000 copies weekly), PDF like version, 64 email newsletters (daily, bi-weekly, and weekly) also archived as HTML, web channel with HTML, PDA / wireless, and RSS. He says that RSS is really hot, and that he sees a big groundswell in that area due to proliferation of personal RSS readers. Also have a syndication channels in XML and ASCII.

Challenges: old CMS didn't scale. Duplication of effort (how many times a piece of content gets touched). Underutilization of resources (talented people spending a lot of time manipulating files). Inconsistent results (web page disappearing, variance in publishing times).

Synchronization of publishing content to multiple channels (online can't scoop print, can't forget to update outbound newsfeeds). The one armed monocle paperhanger syndrome (everything works fine as long as one multi-talented person is here). Business users are often disenfranchised from web publishing (time to market is never too soon).

Results and lessons learned: every vendor is in the CMS business. CMS is too ambiguous a term to be of any value. So, took the best of breed approach: didn't change what was working.

They had good content creation and delivery, but production process in the middle was the problem. Spent a lot of time in workflow analysis, production cycle. Developed a weighted list of 70 items for vendor product evaluation.

They realized that they needed content separate from layout, and the minimum number of templates, but flexible template. They liked XML, XSL, XSLT, but realized that they needed someone on staff who was really good at it.

Don't repurpose your content, prepurpose you content. Taxonomy and metadata are key. As soon as possible in the content production process, purpose the content with metadata.

With workflow, keep it simple. It's is a change management project too: best to roll out changes in small increments.

Result: lines of business are empowered. Marketing department can now publish at will. Publishing operations are no longer based on individuals, but on systems and processes. Scales.

Cost savings on the order of 25% increase in productivity. People spend more time on research.

Consistency: increase reliability and quality. Once implemented, you will be wondering how you survived without a CMS.

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