Web Content Management Week 8
Portal • “We index 315 million sites on the Web and sell 25 million articles, customized reports, and news feeds to our subscribers. It’s impossible to predict growth, but one thing is certain: As we leverage new partnerships and expand syndication to over even more sources, the volume will continue to mushroom.”
Retailer • “We manage 10,000 pages today, but that number will triple within 18 months because our product line is so complex. There are a dozen unique product categories and each product within those categories gets promoted, assembled, sold, delivered and supported differently. To properly accommodate all those variables, we’ll add more authors, text, and graphics.”
Publisher • “Currently we handle 36 million pages distributed throughout the six regions we serve in North America. Most of this content is news gathered from a growing number of field correspondents and essayists located throughout the regions. By next year, we expect to manage around 48 million pages.” ( publisher)
Evolution of WCM • In 1991, when the Web was the realm of research labs and universities, a few dozen sites received perhaps a few thousand accesses, or “hits” per day. • Less than a decade later there are millions of Web sites, many of them receiving thousands of hits per hour. With this growth, the challenge of providing acceptable service levels to thousands of users preoccupies IT organizations. • Adequate bandwidth and hardware have become significant concerns for large organizations that depend on the Web as a mission-critical vehicle for meeting their business goals.
Strategic Importance • As the strategic importance of corporate Web sites has grown, managing critical business content efficiently has become a major organizational headache.
Early Solutions • Early solutions for managing content were often organizational -- one Webmaster soon became a Web designer, developer, and producer. As people discovered how time-consuming and difficult it was to update content or automate publishing, many companies developed custom programs (using CGI’s, perl scripts, or custom application-server programs) to address these problems.
Content Management Products • Later, commercial content management products entered the market to replace these homegrown solutions with more reliable and scalable systems..
Best Practices • Best practices are identified for managing Web Content. • By using these practices, any organization can increase the success and positive business results generated by their e-business initiatives. • These practices fall into three high level groups:
Best Practices • Content management is about people – not just content • Automate costly, time-consuming processes • Leverage existing assets and skills
1. Content management is about people – not just content • Content has no value unless people are viewing it, understanding it, and using it to fulfill a business goal. • At the same time, content will become out of date, inaccurate, and of little value without active involvement by the people who "own" the content. • Therefore, focusing on people, and their role in creating, managing, and using content is critical to success.
Execute an Audience Driven Design • A Web site should be designed to enable its target audiences to obtain the information they are looking for, and execute transactions, as easily as possible.
Recognition • One of the key opportunities presented by the Web is its ability to recognize and classify the audiences who interact with the information it holds. Once these key audiences have been identified, the next step for a company is to associate business goals for each audience. • For example, should it cross-sell and up-sell to existing customers? Build new revenue sources from certain prospects? Or assist the sales organization with better competitive intelligence?
By leveraging knowledge about viewer behavior and organization, content creators can immediately take advantage of flexible business rules that determine the most effective way to deliver a certain set of information. • Web sites can take advantage of these rules by dynamically tailoring navigation, content displays and application programs to channel individual users towards the business results that are desired.
Web Content • This content asset concept addresses all attributes of Web content, including: • The information itself -- for example, the text of a press release, the data included in a product specification. • The presentation -- that is, how the content should appear on the site, the visual style requirements, the graphical look and feel of the Web site? • The viewing rules -- how this content looks different to different audiences; for example, should prospects and existing customers view different versions of the product overview page? • The editing rules -- what is involved in creating this content, who has the authority to put it into the site, and what workflow process will be followed to approve and publish it • By taking this life-cycle view of content assets, the entire management process is obvious to all involved parties and increases the value of the information.
Implement non-technical content management • The key to eliminating bottlenecks and improving information quality is empowering business people to create and modify the content for which they are responsible. This is most effectively accomplished by enabling different content contributors to use their tools of choice for creating that content.
2. Automate costly, time-consuming processes • A content management system should make managing Web content simpler, not more complex, and provide a unified environment for managing multiple types of content. It should also support non-technical business people in the creation and development of content, as well as in the application of business rules.
A content management system should make managing Web content simpler, not more complex,and provide a unified environment for managing multiple types of content. It should also support non-technical business people in the creation and development of content, as well as in the application of business rules.
Important Slide • A PR manager should be able to manage press releases, for example, but cannot add position papers or similar content to the site without involving Webmasters or designers to create templates and navigation hooks -- and suffering the delays such projects impose.u
An effective content management system should significantly reduce the technical skill set people need to develop templates that implement new types of content. • The benefits include better time-to-market, faster response to change, and greater access to resources within the organization.
Business Rules • Business rules are subject to similar requirements. Just as time-to-market can be negatively impacted when template creation becomes a technical process, the quality of the Web site can be affected when business rule and work flow management can't rapidly respond to change. • The content management system should put management of the business rules -- access, creation and editing rights, approval -- within the reach of the business user.
Harmonize management of template-driven and ad hoc content • As content management systems have grown, most Web sites of significant size have become a mix of manually created and template-driven content. For many organizations, this has resulted in a mixture of inconsistent tools and multiple management processes.
Many companies have found themselves in a situation where each type of content goes through its own separate workflow process. This also runs counter to the ideal of leveraging current skills and lowering the costs of content management.
Unified management makes for a more consistent Web site, with all content moving through the same work processes and approvals, and accessible through a single, consistent set of business rules.
Use metadata to automate management and measurement • Metadata is the “information about information” within a site. Examples of metadata include the author of a piece of content, its creation date, its access control properties, the category the content is classified in, or a even a functional description of a page. • Once metadata is associated with a particular type of content, it can be leveraged as a powerful management tool to generate automated directories and listings of content, assist in site measurement, or drive the dynamic behavior of the site.
Metadata • Metadata can be used to automate many parts of managing a site. For example, many sites feature a directory page that lists press releases,which must be updated every time a new release is added. • If a press release is removed from the site, someone must also remember to delete it from the directory, or it results in a broken link. • The problem is multiplied further if there are multiple directories or methods of linking to press releases within the Web site.
3. Leverage existing assets and skills • Companies need to take advantage of knowledge that already exists within their organization and build toward corporate goals. At its simplest, this means letting people apply tools – whether they are programming languages or word processors – and existing knowledge to the tasks of managing Web content. It also means integrating with other corporate systems to facilitate the re-use and exchange of information that can be found in those systems.
Support quality, brand consistency, and corporate standards • A content management system should make a major contribution to the quality of a Web site. The visual consistency provided by templates and the reuse of design elements has obvious benefits for enforcing a site's design and branding standards.