Perficient Enterprise Content Management Blog A Perficient Blog Mon, 23 May 2016 18:01:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 30508648 Copyright © Enterprise Content Management Blog 2011 (Perficient Enterprise Content Management Blog) (Perficient Enterprise Content Management Blog) Perficient Enterprise Content Management Blog 144 144 A Perficient Blog Perficient Enterprise Content Management Blog Perficient Enterprise Content Management Blog no no Once upon a time there was Paper… Thu, 31 Mar 2011 21:40:57 +0000 I’m pretty sure I’m going to have trouble explaining to my kids that there was a time when all the news was delivered through newspaper, and bills were paid using paper. In fact I can see myself reading to my grandkids a fairy tale (on an iPad) that would start “Once upon a time there was paper.” Today, there are still companies using paper as the main way to communicate while others are looking into taking advantage of the massive media tools among us.

How do you get your News? (Think really hard)

News is defined as “newly received or noteworthy information.” Nowadays, we receive news not only through television (which I do not personally own) and newspaper (which I never buy) but through email and social networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc). Hence, it is very easy to understand why companies are looking for ways to reach potential customers through all of these information channels. After all, if they decide to pick just a couple of them, it is very probable that they will be missing someone important (people just like me).

Multi-Channel Publishing

The solution seems to be simple; It has been done in the past! Once a new communication channel comes along, you just need to jump into it.

“There was a time when postcards were a great way to reach everyone. Then a team was added to be in charge of the website, and now it seems like we need more people for the other stuff. “ (Bob the CEO)

The question would be: Is it possible to take advantage of multiple media channels without duplication of effort? And the answer is yes! Here comes ECM to the rescue. You should not need to pay three different staffs (website, social media, traditional media) to transmit an idea, and they should not have to review the same material 100 times because it is going to be published in multiple channels.  The bad news is that getting all the items in your wish list up & running is not an easy task…  The good news is that Perficient can help you get it done right.

What are your plans for our paper-less future?

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The Enterprise Content Management Swiss Army Knife Wed, 30 Mar 2011 13:55:24 +0000 More and more often I find people looking for the “Holy Grail” of enterprise content management. Too often, they try to integrate governance, user management and the cure for cancer in one product. Surprisingly, there are those out there who are offering all of this and more. Even more incredibly, there are CXO’s who believe it’s even possible.


I would like to give an easy example on what your ECM system should NOT do. Your ECM system should not be in charge of managing users. Users need to access multiple systems across your company and therefore you should duplicate (perform maintenance in two places) this information. Instead, you should look for a system that allows you to synchronize (connect) to your active directory (or whatever you use to hold your users). A simple rule of thumb for all-in-one, unless you are looking for a printer for your home office, it is probably a bad investment.

But of course this is just how I see it, what do you think? Is an ECM Swiss-army-knife a good investment?

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Posts about ECM on our Portals blog Sat, 19 Mar 2011 04:52:06 +0000 Because so many aspects of the various IT disciplines are interconnected, naturally many of our blog posts relate to more than one category, as does much of enterprise content, which makes it so challenging to manage! In case you subscribe to our ECM blog but not our Portal blog, here a couple of posts you might be interested in, many more specifically related to web content management:

…and many more posts are available on the Portal blog. Check it out!

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Faceted navigation: facet overload Thu, 10 Mar 2011 04:10:11 +0000 Faceted navigation can be very useful and a valuable part of a good taxonomy. Advances in computing power and CMS capabilities have made it easy to present users with a plethora of choices for narrowing their selections from a large data set. While it’s tempting to expose all the metadata that is available for site navigation, this is typically not the best option.

The same web-based design guidelines that apply to the rest of a site’s contents apply here — prioritizing placement of the most important content, removing information that is rarely needed, using progressive disclosure to reveal additional lesser-used features, matching users’ mental models, and providing users with limited choice sets.

I’ve spent some time recently reviewing/thinking through guidelines for facet usage. I’ve summarized them here.

  1. Because users typically won’t scroll too far to see a long list of facets, keep them as tight as possible. Some recommend limiting to 3 or 4 groups; others point out that the higher you are in the site hierarchy, the fewer facets you should display. So, let users categorically drill down to a place where they might be more likely to narrow the set by certain desired features before displaying numerous facet options.
  2. Put the most important facets for the data set in question at the top of your faceted navigation list. While this seems obvious, some e-commerce sites seem to display common facets in the same place throughout the site. For example, customer review ratings may always appear first, but other’s opinions might be much less important for a particular product set than for others.
  3. Make sure the facet groups you display can provide valuable input to a user’s decision process. For example, several sites that sell computers have a facet group for “Processor Brand”, with the only values being AMD and Intel. This distinction holds virtually no value for shoppers, because the important comparative information about the processor cannot be determined from brand name alone. More relevant metadata about the processor would be the speed, type, or even the full product name. (Note that brand name might be paid-placement by the vendor; if so, an additional, more informative facet would be necessary.)
  4. Collapse less important facets and facet values. If you have 15 facets for a data set and you feel that all the facets could have some use and don’t want to kill them completely, collapse facets by default and allow users to expand if desired. Do the same thing for facets that have a lot of values; show the most likely to be used values by default and hide the rest under a See All link or a collapsed tree node.
  5. Regularly assess analytics to see which facets are being used most often. Obviously the ones that are higher on the list and are not hidden will be used more frequently than others, but if you have facets highly placed that are still not used, they are good candidates for removal or demotion.
  6. Make sure facet values match users’ mental models. For example, check out the odd price ranges on (example below). These ranges are obviously driven by some sort of algorithm that would make no sense to a user.
    $349.00 – $680.00
    $687.00 – $795.00
    $799.00 – $940.00
    $946.00 – $2276.00
  7. Indicate the number of results within each facet value next to the option. This helps users to know what to expect when they select a facet value.
  8. Consider using parametric search vs. faceted navigation when it makes sense for the data set. Parametric search is when users specify multiple search parameters up-front using a variety of UI controls to compose what is essentially a complex Boolean query. Buying a computer is a good example of this. While some shoppers might want to pick one or two facets to narrow their options, many will be interested in the combination of a variety of specifications. Though constructing something like this is possible using the standard left-side filter/facet list, most implementations make this very challenging for users to understand (the best use client-side refresh methods to update the data set without completely reloading the page, along with good state indicators). An in-page element can address this in a more straightforward way, as shown in the example from below. example

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Taxonomy vs. Information Architecture Thu, 27 Jan 2011 19:25:43 +0000 “Taxonomy” is an overused term. There are both different kinds of taxonomies and different definitions of taxonomies. In general, taxonomy is a hierarchical structure for the classification or organization of data, historically used by biologists to classify plants or animals according to a set of natural relationships.

In content management and information architecture, taxonomies are typically leveraged as a tool for organizing content. Strictly, a taxonomy is just the hierarchical structure of the content, but with most complex content ecosystems, the term also often refers to metadata and controlled vocabularies.

Metadata” describes an asset and provides a meaningful set of attributes that can be used to further classify or consume content. A “controlled vocabulary” is a restricted list of words or terms used for indexing or categorizing, often with cross-references pointing from a non-preferred term to the preferred term. To make it more fuzzy, the taxonomy (hierarchical structure) is also metadata.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on to the differences between taxonomy and “information architecture”, another loosely-used term. For purposes of this discussion, the information architecture (IA) represents the structure of a web site as exposed to users. A taxonomy can represent the information architecture of a web site, but does not have to.

Though people often use the term taxonomy to describe a site’s organization, for larger sites where content is used in multiple places – or for enterprise content management systems where data can be consumed on various platforms – taxonomy and IA are more often distinct from one another. In anything other than small sites, it’s important that the IA and taxonomy aren’t too closely tied together so that changes to the IA aren’t more difficult than they need to be, and so that the underlying content can be easily accessed and repurposed.

In sum, the two main ways that a web site’s content are organized include:

  • Universal hierarchy – When content contributors utilize the content management system, they add, remove, and manage content in a structure that closely resembles the navigation and hierarchy of the delivery framework.
  • Content mapping – Structures and metadata are maintained in the content management application independent of the delivery system’s organization (navigation). By some rules or algorithms, material gets “mapped” to the presentation framework, which may be managed by some other means.

As companies develop more and more information to manage, the content mapping approach will be much more cost-effective and flexible than the universal approach. If part of a site’s creation or redesign involves using content (text, images, video, audio) that could effectively be used in other ways throughout the enterprise, it is a good time to suggest an ECM consultation – we know of a few good consultants here – and work to create both an IA and taxonomy structure that serve different but related purposes.

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Will the demand for Digital Rights Management Grow? Tue, 14 Dec 2010 02:52:08 +0000 The question is….will the need for Digital Rights Management (DRM) Grow? The reason I ask this questions is the direct result of the Wikileaks. If DRM was used by the government would this have avoided this type of event?

My answer to this question is yes, it would have reduced the impact…Digital Rights Management has been a underutilized tool, not only by governments but also private and public companies. This is not a new term or technology. Many instances of leaked information has hurt organizations around the world…so why not use DRM? Organizations are typically reactionary and have a hard time justifying costs to the number crunchers of the groups. We have seen the same type of response for the records management industry. In many cases, organizations are required by government agency’s to keep certain records and in other cases it is the fear of ligation. The driving factor is costs and fear of being in the press. Both DRM and Records Management are components of Enterprise Content Management (ECM)

The sum of it and my prediction is that DRM will be come a more common term and leveraged technology as a result of this event. The percived cost will be less of an issue as a the benefits will be realized

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ECM? What is that? Fri, 12 Nov 2010 20:55:24 +0000 Many years ago I started my path down a career ECM as a File Clerk in a Law Firm. When I took over managing the firm’s records I had no clue what ECM meant nor could I have imagined that it would become a common place term.  I was just worried about making sure lawyers did not take home the case files we had and that I had the files needed for our trials. Today it seems that everyone in the business world understands the concept of ECM and it’s use is growing… what happened?

My theory on this is that we learned that managing hard copy records is nothing like managing electronic content and that it is even harder. Content is everywhere and is not confined to the file room or our work areas.  It is hard to track and manage without systems.  Instead of worrying about lawyers taking a case file home, we are worried we will never find files on file shares or which file is the right version….the list goes on and so does the application. ECM is present in almost every business process and we depend on having accurate information when we need it at our finger tips. Something we could never achieve through the file rooms and our desktops.  Not only is it an issue of organization, but it is saving our companies money and there is real ROI.  Laws and technology have also changed the business culture making ECM a necessity not a luxury.

So how do I know that this concept is something that everyone is getting? First off, when I walk into a room with a client I don’t have to explain the term. They know they need it and they get down to business and really do not need to discuss the concept, but the issue they are facing. I also know that people get it, because of the amount of volume in requests for work around ECM.  I do have to say, the one that takes the cake is that people are talking about ECM in general conversation…for instance a couple of weeks ago I was completing my morning run in a local park, I overheard two people as they walked talking about ECM and the need for email archiving. It was a shocker….ECM has made it to conversation in local parks!

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External Taxonomy Services Unify Enterprise Taxonomies Mon, 01 Nov 2010 01:54:30 +0000 As organziations execute their ECM strategies, they are finding that they are implememting multiple ECM solutions.    Typically, we are seeing that SharePoint being used for managing collabotrated content and documents, while most standard ECM solutions, such as Documentum, FileNet, OpenText or Oracle, are being used for document centric applications and records management.  This multiple ECM implememtation approach presents the challenge of unifying the taxonomy of the multiple solutions.  A single enterproise taxonomy is required for integrating the ECM solutions as well as providing a search facility that can span the multiple repositories.    The best way to address the taxonomy unification may be to implement an external taxonomy service that integrates with all of the ECM solutions.  The advantage of this approach is the ability to manage the enterprise taxonomy from within one application and using an integration with the ECM solutions, push out the taxonomy to the individual solutions.  

Another advantage of an external taxonomy is that these specialized applications support extended functionality such as synonyms and like terms.  This functionality is not typically supported in an ECM solution.  Using these extended features can provide users with an enriched search capability for finding information.    The advantage of a single taxonomy combined with the extended functionality will make these external taxonomy services more common as organizations implement their multi-repository enterprise ECM strategy.

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Is Re-tweeting better than Tweeting? Mon, 18 Oct 2010 16:14:45 +0000 I have been using Twitter for most of this year to Tweet what I find to be interesting information.  (You can follow me at @AlanWeintraub). I am not one of those tweeters who tweets their every movement during the day.  I see the value of Twitter a bit different than most.

I feel that Twitter is one of the best methods to share an idea.   There are alot of smart people out there with great ideas.  When I see an informative tweet, I feel that my followers would benefit from seeing the tweet and reviewing the information in the tweet, which is usually contained in a link to an article or a blog.

Twitter may be the best example of “Whisper down the Lane”, but with some better integrity.  If you have ever played the gane “Whisper down the Lane” (also called “Telephone” in some circles) you will appreciate the effect of repeating information from one person to another until it eventually reaches the last person in line.  The information that results at the end of the line is often completely changed from the the original piece of information.  This is due to our ability to remember exactly waht was said and passing it on to the next person exactly how we heard it.

When I re-tweet a Twitter message, I am insured that everyone who follows me will see the exact message that I read.  When my followers re-tweet the message to their followers, they will see the exact mesaage.  Soon the originator of the message, who may have had only a few followers, has now reached thousands.  To me this is a powerful communication mechanism that proliferates information much faster than we could have ever imagined.

So when someone asks you how many tweets you have created or how many people your messages have reached, tell them that it’s not necessarily simply the number of original tweets you create that matter, but that it is how greatly your posts are re-tweeted that has a more significant reach for communicating your mesaage.

You can also follow Perficient on Twitter: Our main feed is @Perficient, and our ECM feed is @Perficient_ECM.

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Perficient to attend IBM’s IOD conference Oct 24-28 Mon, 18 Oct 2010 03:21:47 +0000 Perficient has expertise in IBM InfoSphere Master Data Management ,ETL, Datawarehouse, Clinical Analytics, Cognos Business Intelligence, SPSS Predictive Analytics and FileNet ECM expertise.

Our team of experts will be at IBM’s renowned annual Information OnDemand conference, the premier forum for Information and Analytics, next week. Perficient is a gold sponsor and will be exhibiting at Booth G-604.

We are excited to follow this conference’s activity, which is already in full swing, online. You’ll find quite a lot of social media profiles active regarding this conference:

If you’ll be attending, please connect with us. We look forward to meeting you!

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