February 2002

From the Director

CIDMIconNewsletter JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

Dear Friends,

It’s a little too early to know for certain, but 2002 appears to be more promising for pursuing content-management solutions. Last year, many managers began optimistically expecting to implement content management by mid-year. But the economic slowdown, coupled with the terrorist attacks on September 11, put most plans on hold. Nonetheless, a lack of funding did not mean that the problems that led managers to consider CMS had gone away.

Organizations have, more than ever, more work than they have skilled staff and technology to accomplish it. In fact, reduction in staff has put further strains on already taxed resources. Managers know they must find more effective ways of working at the same time that they meet customer demands for flexible information delivery and better content.

Most content-management proposals emphasize the benefits of eliminating tedious and time-consuming tasks from the workflow. We seek the ability to automate production activities by removing formats from source documents. We look for technology to avoid converting from one format to another by adding format styles at the end rather than the beginning of the process.

To date, the greatest gains provided by SGML or XML authoring are reduced time and costs of final production.

Although the value of reducing the costs of producing output in multiple media is significant, most of us are interested in pursuing the promise of reuse. By employing CMS, we have the ability more easily to create standard information once and use it in many contexts. Additionally, we look forward to eliminating the time it takes to update multiple instances of the same information. Although it is possible to promote reuse through careful file design and management and use traditional editing tools to reference rather than embed text and graphics, CMS makes the project easier to manage and scalable.

The authors in this special issue of Best Practices demonstrate the promise of content management at the same time that they urge caution. Luc Bouquet emphasizes the different strategies needed to deploy content-management and knowledge-management systems. Amy Witherow demonstrates how Cadence Design Systems achieved significant cost reductions in their production process. Cameron McGill discusses using conditional text as part of a single-source solution. Describing the pitfalls encountered during J D Edward’s deployment, Kip Wheeler provides us with the insights we need to avoid them. Finally, David Walske takes us through the process of converting legacy information into FrameMaker and SGML.

In this issue, we have tried to balance the technology issues of content management with the management issues. I find the management issues much more difficult to resolve. I hope that we can assist managers by publishing more on the challenges of changing the way we work. Please contact me if you have experience or insight gained through a content-management implementation.

I am pleased to announce a new CIDM benchmark study on content management and single sourcing for 2002. This study will enable us to evaluate progress in content management since our original benchmark study five years ago. A benchmark study, however, is not free. We now are actively seeking sponsors to fund the study. Remember that corporate and vendor funding is critical if we are to understand and communicate industry best practices. We will be contacting members and interested parties in the next few weeks to become sponsors. Please review your budgets and let me know if you can contribute to this valuable industry initiative. CIDMIconNewsletter