"At the moment, the definition of 'content management' is kind of fuzzy because all companies claim to do it," admits Volker John, European product manager for CM products provider POET Software Corp., headquartered in San Mateo, CA.
"The range varies from XML/SGML (Extensible Markup Language/Standard Generalized Markup Language) content management solutions, toward clearly Web-centric solutions and finally the classic document management systems.And, of course, one should not forget the general-purpose content managers that [are] usually digital asset management systems and are supposed to be able to handle all kinds of media in high volumes.Eventually, all of them are likely to mingle up, with the Internet and possibly XML, driving this development," he
adds.In a study this past year, Cambridge, MA-based Forrester Research
confirmed the impression that CEOs are confused about the meaning of content management, pinpointing two main reasons for this.First, content management is not a single task but a complex set of interactions.Second, many vendors sell tools that support steps in that process, but an end-to-end publishing option still does not exist.Forrester
defines content management as a "combination of well-defined roles, formal processes and supporting systems architecture that helps firms contribute, collaborate on, and control page elements such as text, graphics, multimedia and applets."Differences aside, however, most vendors agree that there are certain universal characteristics that customers should look for in selecting a content management approach.
has no doubt that application integration is one of XML's
greatest benefits."From the advent of digital data and media, companies lacked a common dictionary that XML seems to present today."In the case of POET's CM (offering), XML
provides a means of creating and managing content in a form that is presentation independent.This content can easily be combined with both repository-based and external, possibly legacy, data."
Software OptionsFor vendors operating in a competitive market and trying to survive the shakeout that has claimed many smaller rivals, the key to staying afloat is product differentiation.
"We are strictly focused on the management of structured documents using XML and SGML," says John
."As such, we are addressing a very clear target market with obvious requirements.Being in that product space for quite a while now, we offer a product that serves as a foundation for successful CM projects."Understanding the organizational challenge that is tightly connected to the introduction of a CM system and, of course, the goals of such an implementation, is crucial for success," she