Future Of Content Management System (CMS)

CMS is an important innovation that will be used more and more often in the years to come. According to the surveys, Content Management market is huge and it is growing day by day.

Along with the Content Management, the upcoming system in this field has also started including applications for back-office information management, collaboration management, records management, and the management of digital assets. The applications are adding new functionalities continuously and are adopting the Web Services and XML, which make handling content more efficient. By using XML, the content can be stored in an application-neutral form, so the content that can only be used on the Web earlier can now be re-used, re-formatted and recycled.

According to the research experts, in the near future the prices of content management systems will fall but the features will be standardized. In this process most of the projects implementing CMS will fail due to the poor standard of implementation, lack of understanding of usability, information architecture, knowledge management and various other content issues. The ranks of Content Management vendors will go down to two or three leaders worth $2 billion to $3 billion each. The field of ” Content Management” will mature over the next few years to achieve a higher level of consistency, repeatability and professionalism.

Some analysts of the IT industry have pointed out that CMS market is overcrowded at present with different CMS available launched by very big companies as well as small companies. Documentum’s acquisition of Bulldog (digital asset management), and FileNET’s acquisition of eGrail (WCM) has made this obvious that large vendors will continue to expand and will keep on acquiring small vendors that handles special content types. Moreover, the future research work related to Content Management will include hypermedia, document management, software engineering, marketing and business process design.

Digital Rights Management (DRM) in CMS

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is defined as the rules, concepts and functions according to which content owners can

Distribute various forms of content

Maintain visibility to its creators

Determine the means in which that content can be used, reused, purchased, copied, and distributed by its users.

The two central issues to digital rights management are identifying content and protecting that content from unauthorized use. The ability for publishers to integrate digital asset and rights management functionality will play a major role in determining their place in the world of future publishing and content distribution.

One of the solutions is to provide a standard, universal content ID that publishers can use internally to manage content and externally to enable e-commerce services among various vendors. This powerful feature is the basis for verifying content authenticity and enabling authorized access. Content Directions offers a full range of consulting and implementation services to help your clients put their content in a form that facilitates your business, reduces your costs, increases speed to market and enhances profitability.

In the Digital Rights Management system, various persistent protection solutions are used to perform different operations. These methods consist of the following primary technology components:

  • Packagers, which assemble content and metadata into, secure files that are called packages, containers or envelopes.
  • Controllers, which are small programs and reside on client devices. They authenticate the identities of the devices and/or users that request access to content, verify the nature of the access requested, decrypt the content, and provide the access.
  • License servers, which create and distribute encrypted licenses, which are also called as tickets, permits, or vouchers. These permits describe rights to content, the identities of the users or devices to which the rights are granted.

Workflow in a Content Management System (CMS)

Workflow is the operational aspect of a work procedure through which we can define the following aspects

  • How tasks are structured
  • Who performs the tasks
  • What their relative order is
  • How they are synchronized
  • How information flows to support the tasks
  • How tasks are being tracked.

Fig. 1 Various components of a workflow
CMS Workflow
The CMS includes default workflows that you can use or modify. In certain Content Management systems you can design an unlimited number of workflows. If you create a new content item based on a content type that does not have an assigned workflow, you must select one before you can continue. In a normal CMS, there are 3 type of workflows:

  • Workflow for initial setup of a CMS: The work flow for the setup and initializing the CMS for the first time can be defined in the following manner:
    • Users of the system should be assigned proper roles and responsibilities
    • The production workflow should be created according to the environment and requirement
    • Different life cycles should be added to the production workflow.
    • The predefined templates should be customized and verified before using.
    • Permission to use this workflow should be defined for various users.
    • As a system travels through the workflow process, email notifications should be sent to inform people that their attention is required.
  • Workflow for CMS customization: Once the core information in CMS is setup then we can customize various pieces to match our working processes:
    • Different types of content category trees are generated which are based on the idea that the type of content will vary from one user to another.
    • If required, create the content for the site.
    • Design the forms through which content will be added to the web management system
  • Workflow for using CMS: After CMS is set up for administrators and users, the next step would be to create a workflow for using the CMS.
    • New content items will be created by specifying the content type
    • New attributes and content are added to content items
    • Store the content item in a particular directory
    • All the content items are verified and approved by the administrator
    • Finally, the content items will be published

In some of the systems, the workflows are completely configurable workflows in which the system supports multiple serial and parallel jobs performed at the same time. In this environment, workflow can be assigned to any asset like templates, folders and content documents. The CMS with easy browser based workflow management are always preferred which can manage all system settings throughout the document life cycle. Different stages, which should be present in a workflow, are:

  • Drafting
  • Pending/Approving
  • Staging
  • Scheduling
  • Presenting
  • Retired/Archived (Rejected, Suspended, Hold)

Using A Content Management (CMS) tool

A Content Management System (CMS) tool can be used to create content from scratch, to change the content, edit or update content, to let several people edit content together, to display it in the right standard formatting or template and to let right people do the right things to it and prevent the wrong people from doing wrong things to it.

The basic working of a CMS tool can be shown as below:

CMS flow

Content Management System (CMS) How To

The most difficult decision for any organization is the selection of a proper CMS.

By making an assessment based on the below  given factors and implementing solutions that is most suitable for any organization, it can lead to increased productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability with a content management system.

To select a suitable solution, the organization has to compile a detailed requirements document. This CMS Requirements document  reports the following things:

  • What content types are needed to be managed
  • How much content data has to be integrated with enterprise data
  • The security requirements of the organization
  • Plans to manage content from creation, publication to deletion.
  • Web Content Management or an enterprise Content Management solution.
  • Conducting a thorough assessment of an organization’s specific business application or processes prior to installation.

CMS users

Content Management system allows users on four different levels, which are:

  • Public Users: These are normal users of the site and they have all the facilities to access and navigate the content of the web site. For these types of users, the only requirement is that the content should be organized on the site in a proper and user-friendly manner and preferably personalized to the individual accessing the content. In many organizations, there is large volume of information available on the site and it is very difficult to find information, which is useful to them. By using various CMS tools, useful information can be extracted and summarized and can be presented in a proper form.
  • The next problem is how will public users find the piece of information they need? A thousand pages of content are worthless if there is no structure or navigation. While a search engine provides a partial solution, users require consistency and extensive cross-linking. An information architect and professional indexer to construct a workable structure for your content should be used. Search engine, which are inbuilt into a CMS, allows web users to search your web documents using keywords. Using the CMS, you can control the search engine to index all of your published documents so that users can search them from web browsers.
  • Members: These are the users who can choose their own workflow in the content section. The members can suggest events from a form located on the public section of the web site. Authorized staff members can also approve, modify or reject different events and can generate reports for events. The facilities like viewing or exporting attendee lists, verify payment details per attendee and printing name tags are also available for members.
  • Editors/Authors: A normal CMS provide the writers with a powerful, efficient, and easy-to-use authoring environment. Authors are not required to understand HTML, or any other technical information. The CMS provides all the tools necessary to manage thousands of pages of content, published to different platforms and formats. In a decentralized authoring approach, a large number of your staff will be using the CMS. This makes ease of use particularly important. Authoring support in CMS is very strong so extra effort for setting the extra tools is not required. Content authors are able to quickly create materials using standard desktop applications, as well as image, video, and other types of media files. After materials have been developed, content providers are able to post them to the web using pre-built design templates that provide the proper formatting and corporate elements. Non-technical content authors are able to keep content up-to-date and be able to directly post content to either a staging environment or a live Web site.
  • Administrators: The administrator administers the overall content and the forms section of the web site. The privileges for this role include administering roles, workflow, lifecycles, categories, and content types. Administrators manage the entire Web publishing system. Members of the Content Management System (CMS) administrator group have the widest set of permissions. CMS administrators are responsible for creating sites, adding new users, and defining user groups. The CMS administrator also has the responsibility for security settings for sites. An Administrator maintains the structure and integrity of the site, using different applications to fulfill the requirement and need of the site. The Administrator is also responsible for site administration and management, such as adding user accounts, managing site configuration settings, granting and revoking user permissions within a site, and scheduling training for site contributors. The Administrator is also the primary contact person for the other CMS users.

Using any CMS tool

A CMS tool can be used to create content from scratch, to change the content, edit or update content, to let several people edit content together, to display it in the right standard formatting or template and to let right people do the right things to it and prevent the wrong people from doing wrong things to it. The basic working of a CMS tool can be shown as below:

CMS Flow

Current Content Management System (CMS) market

The CMS market is divided into two different approaches. Some systems are based on horizontal approach and support customers across a large range of industries. Some other systems are based on vertical approach and provide functionality for specialized segments such as engineering. Content Management systems are specifically available for local government offices, sports franchises, hospitals and for travel websites as well.

Very big sites which has thousands of dynamic pages need CMS such as BroadVision One-to-One Publishing, Interwoven TeamSite or Vignette V/5. On the other hand, small sites can use CMS with browser-based forms, one for each template, on top of Microsoft SiteServer or even Allaire’s ColdFusion. The most popular vendors/products in this field are:

Commercial

  • BancTec – eFIRST Suite
  • Documentum – Documentum 5
  • FileNET – P8
  • Gauss Interprise – VIP Enterprise
  • Hummingbird – DM 5.0 / 5.1
  • IBM – DB2 Content Manager
  • Interwoven – Interwoven 6 Platform
  • Microsoft – Content Management Server
  • Open Text – Livelink
  • Stellent – Stellent Content Management System
  • Vignette – V7
  • DotNetNuke

Open Source

  • Mambo Server

Interwoven’s TeamSite 4.5 is a Web Content Management solution which is based on horizontal approach. It is designed to provide enterprise-wide Web Content Management to the high end companies. TeamSite’s management capabilities are provided through desktop and Java-based interfaces that appear as part of the operating system. The product has a graphical interface for building workflows that move content through the system.

WebDAV “Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning” is an emerging standard for CMS. It is a set of HTTP protocols which allow users to edit and manage files on remote web servers. Any WebDAV client can be used to connect to the CMS server and execute the methods provided by WebDAV protocol. The basic authoring capabilities available using the CMS user interface can be accessed using WebDAV.

In the enterprise Content Management category, Documentum is ideal for both Windows based agencies and agencies that have a broader set of technological investments. Documentum’s self-named enterprise Content Management solution can run on Windows-based servers, but also on Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Solaris, AIX or HP-UX. Agencies can use Microsoft SQL Server to power Documentum or other databases, such as Oracle Corp.’s Oracle9i, IBM Corp.’s DB2 and Sybase Inc.’s database offerings. Moreover, Documentum supports both the Netscape Communications Corp. and Internet Explorer browsers. This flexibility makes Documentum an easy fit in heterogeneous computing environments.

Features, Benefits and Advantages of a Content Management System (CMS)

In any Content Management system, there are many basic features which should be present so that the system works efficiently and saves money. The CMS database or the central repository for corporate content must be accessible to a wide range of technical and non-technical individuals.

CMS interface must be easy to use, and its architecture must fit within the framework defined by the IT organization. It should be menu driven so that the pages can be added and linked easily. Creating, designing and deploying the web content should be automated according to the need of the organization. It should reduce the time programmers have to spend on building custom forms for Content Management. The programmer can spend that time on the front-end of the web site.

  • The user interface design of CMS should be changed using templates. Different templates for different level of users should be present.
  • The CMS Management Tool should be present which is used to manage groups, users and rights from a central point. There should be a facility to import groups and users in the domains like Windows or Unix.
  • It should be powered by the latest database and internet technologies and should be used in any operating system on any computer platform.
  • CMS should facilitate better content security. It should control who is allowed to publish to the website, and who is allowed to see what content.
  • It should eliminate the constant and large volume of updates by redistributing the publishing work among the content authors, who can now publish and update their own content using easy-to-use, browser-based tools.
  • It should reduce Web site maintenance time and costs. Most of the maintenance operations should be automatic.
  • For the content authors, the facilities like, selecting different types of content from the inbuilt content library, cut & paste from other applications, set publication dates and times for finished pages in advance and have them publish automatically and easy, automatic page indexing and linking should be present.
  • Content Management system should provide tools for adding and managing content for administrators including Content Owners, Content Editors, Page Owners and Site Administrator.
  • The system should be able to scale in terms of performance, integration with other applications and the addition of custom features.
  • The system should provide multi user options for controlling the user privileges at multiple levels. The security keys should be provided to restrict the users to work according to their access rights.
  • The database model should not be rigid but it should be able to analyze the database structure and build the forms for database tables accordingly.

Who needs a Content Management System (CMS)?

In today’s world of e-Businesses, content flow is almost as crucial as cash flow. If an enterprise cannot refresh the information about its product on a continuous basis then it will not be able to fulfill the today’s Internet based expectations.

If any company wants to increase the content flow without spending lots of money and with less problems then the Content Management systems are chosen as a way to automate the content gathering and delivery process. Any company or organization will need the CMS if it meets minimum 4 requirements out of the many listed below:

  • A big organization where web publishing is spread over many places, and to communicate the content between different branches is very time consuming
  • The web site of the company is big and there are frequent updates of content or structure
  • The online operation perform personalization
  • Very frequent content integration between the web site and retail outlets, call centers, email newsletters or other channels
  • Strong requirement to manage specifications from R&D to customer support
  • Company has customers which also contribute to the site
  • One individual has intimate knowledge of the entire site (and others have intimate knowledge over their own sections) so if there is a requirement for changes then it is not possible to change it without the help of a specific individual.

If the organization/company finds that it needs the Content Management system then before selecting one, organizations must also evaluate the cost of not having a system in place. These questions asked should be:

  • What are the costs associated with your content being unavailable either through the Web site, or from your primary content storage systems?
  • What is the risk of having inaccurate content on your Web site?
  • How much does the insurance for that risk cost?
  • How do you recover and replace inaccurate content when your Webmaster is unavailable?

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A Content Management System (CMS for Web publishing) is a combination of large database, File System,  and other related software modules which are used to store and later retrieve huge amounts of data. These web publishing systems are different from the databases in the sense that these can index text, audio clips, video clips, or images in a database.

Users of the web publishing system can find relevant content from within a database by searching for keywords, authors, date of creation, etc. Web Content Management Systems can be used to create information portals which serve as the backbone of data management. Along with the database handling facilities, the software modules also allows anyone to contribute information to a website via a graphical user interface (GUI). They are usually based on a pre-written template that acts as a platform for each page in the site as those pages are created.

At the company level, Content Management systems (CMS) store and manage an organization’s electronic document and Web content so that the employee of the company can reuse the information across different applications. The web published content can also be distributed to customers and business partners outside the organization. The core application of the CMS is to manages content during its entire lifecycle i.e. from creation through publishing. The content of the CMS can also be shared by e-commerce and customer relationship management systems (CRM). Web Publishing system enables you to establish a consistent look and feel throughout your site, but gives your non-technical content authors the power to publish and update their own content using simple, but powerful, browser-based tools. Some of the CMS systems integrate with content delivery applications to deliver the content via a web site.

There are three basic participants in the web publishing CMS system:

  • Content Editors (Decide what content to publish and where)
  • Content Publishers (Publish the content on the web)
  • Content Authors (Create the content for the web)

A Web Publishing CMS allows non-technical authors and editors to easily and quickly publish their content which is otherwise done by technical programmers. A web publishing CMS establishes defined publishing processes and specific publishing rights to various individuals. By using these facilities, the company can save the time for training, while facilitating more people to publish. It also reduces the daily stream of calls to the IT department for changes to the website. A web publishing management system reduces time-to-publish, allowing you to get content published faster. This is an important issue for the modern organization. The quicker you get key content published, the more value and emphasis it creates. A wide range of content can be published using the system.

This can be characterized as:

  • Simple pages for normal presentation
  • Complex pages, with specific layout and presentation
  • Dynamic information sourced from databases and will change on regular time intervals
  • Training material
  • Online manual
  • General business documents
  • Thousands of pages in total for different categories of customers
  • Extensive linking between pages
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