Magazine article Information Today

Saving the Best for Last. (Report from the Field)

Magazine article Information Today

Saving the Best for Last. (Report from the Field)

Article excerpt

For folks with content management headaches, help was at hand at the Content Management Symposium, held the last day of InfoToday 2003. Bob Boiko, the symposium's keynote speaker and author of Content Management Bible, described himself as a diagnostician. "I help people get beyond 'We have an information problem,"' he said. "I look for symptoms of content management distress."

Boiko explained how he's diagnosed the pain, identified problems, and prescribed remedies for his CM patients. He provided examples from a global retailer, a Fortune 50 technology company, a nonprofit portal, a leading software manufacturer, and a public agency.

To solve CM problems within an organization, Boiko looks for a clearly articulated approach that directly addresses the organization's goals, defines measurable success criteria, and proposes a reasonable cost. Then he recommends asking "Will that be enough?"

From start to finish, Boiko held the attention of the participants, who listened to his every word. He provided a spark that created a lively, enthusiastic lift for this end-of-conference audience.

What a Question!

When Boiko asked if anyone had questions, hands shot up. The first person called upon prefaced his query by saying, "I just want to warn you that the future of my company hangs on your answer." After the laughter died down, the questioner explained that his company publishes conference proceedings in various formats for 1,000 doctors in North America and Australia. "Do I shut down the alternate formats and move my content to the Web to force subscribers to move to Web delivery?" he asked.

Another speaker might have been fazed. Not Boiko. He got even more good-natured laughter with his response, "Well, it all depends."

Boiko went on to address the real issue, which was "What's this worth to your company?" He recommended that the publisher sit down and estimate how many subscriptions will be lost if it moves to Web-only delivery.

This is just one example of the connections that were made with the audience at all of the symposium sessions. The high-energy speakers were recognized experts in content management and they kept everyone's attention. Attendees came with important problems and questions about their organizations. They left with a clearer understanding of the steps they needed to take to make content management decisions. Many left knowing exactly what they had to do when they arrived at their offices the next morning. They had new energy and good medicine to cure their CM headaches.

"This could have been the centerpiece of the conference," said Michael Robak, who came from Chicago to attend InfoToday 2003. "I'm surprised they waited until the end of the conference to have these sessions.

After the keynote, attendees chose between two symposium tracks: Taxonomy and Categorization or Strategies and Case Studies on CM Deployment. The presentations were chock-full of solid advice. Many are posted on Information Today, Inc.'s Web site (http://


Wendy Pohs of IBM told the audience that taxonomies are essential business tools. She offered down-to-earth advice that recognized the reality of developing, adopting, or introducing taxonomies as part of an organization's business processes.

A trio from content taxonomy and categorization software companies shared some hard lessons learned. Ian Hersey of Inxight Software, Andrew Feit of Verity, and Tom Reamy of KAPS Group were comfortably familiar with each other, although somewhat rushed as they tried to compress a lot of information and some useful tips into 45 minutes. …

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