Why Content Management Should Be Part of Every Organization's Global Strategy

By Mescan, Suzanne | Information Management, July/August 2004 | Go to article overview

Why Content Management Should Be Part of Every Organization's Global Strategy


Mescan, Suzanne, Information Management


To meet the challenges of creating, using, and sharing content in a global marketplace, organizations should consider a content management system

For many organizations, the challenges of surviving in today's global marketplace often seem overwhelming. One of the most time-consuming and costly tasks a company faces when "going global," or competing in the global marketplace, is translating all its Web and print documents for international use.

It is not uncommon for a company to have thousands of pages of stored content, including Web site text, graphics, marketing collateral, training materials, technical documentation, and internal documents. Often these files are stored in many different places. When a company decides to go global, all this content must first be organized and then translated into multiple foreign languages. This is no small task - translation is expensive and time-consuming - and if a company has no system in place to track duplicate content, it will pay to have that same text translated multiple times.

On top of the translation costs are general production costs. For each document or Web site a company has in English, a separate translated copy will need to be produced for each language spoken by the company's target markets.

Finally, there is the challenge of protecting brand integrity. Maintaining control of a corporate message when files are being stored in multiple locations is challenging in one language, but it is nearly impossible in multiple languages. For organizations that are going global, a good content management system can help overcome these challenges.

Choosing a Content Management System

There are many different kinds of content management systems available today and they all claim to do different things. These systems can be placed into five general categories:

* Web Content Management - These systems are typically what most people think of when they hear the phrase "content management." Web content management systems help manage Web site content, but they do not address managing content for any other media channel.

* Digital Asset Management - Digital asset management systems create a central repository for graphics, allowing them to be archived, searched, and retrieved. These systems are not designed to manage text, however.

* Document Management - Document management systems are designed to manage whole documents rather than individual graphics or paragraphs of text.

* Enterprise Content Management - Enterprise content management is the latest buzzword in the content management arena and has yet to be firmly defined. Several sources, including analyst firm Jupiter Research, define it as a strategy rather than a solution.

* Single-Source Content Management - Instead of saving whole documents, single-source content management systems, sometimes referred to as component-level content management systems, store individual "chunks" of content - paragraphs of text, graphics, sound clips, and multimedia clips - to a central repository. The content is then available for reuse and re-purposing to multiple media channels, such as print, Web, and CD-ROM. This is the most efficient type of system for managing large amounts of multilingual content.

The main task of a content management system is to centralize content in one repository so it can be better organized, shared, and tracked throughout an organization. Content is stored in the system once and reused many times, making the editorial process more efficient.

Employees who work in a home or remote office can access the content, allowing them to complete research or reuse content that was created previously by someone else in the organization. Because of this, content management systems can save an organization thousands of dollars in duplicated writing efforts, research time, production, and translation costs.

Through its tracking and reporting features, a content management system can provide a complete history of the various versions of a file or piece of content: who made changes to it, when it was changed, and what the changes were.

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