Content as a First-Class Citizen
by Rob Koplowitz.
Ever think about how much time, energy and money we expend on managing line of business data? Just drive past the Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores and you'll see a glimmering green city of glass all built on revenue from managing business data. OK, they make some money in other areas these days, but the emerald city was build on database revenue. Managing structured information is key to the success of any organization. The number in the bottom line needs to be accurate or very bad things happen.
On the other side of the coin lives unstructured information. While some unstructured information has been afforded the respect given to structured business data (engineering drawings, legal documents, pharmaceutical documentation, insurance claims documents to name few) the vast majority has languished virtually unmanaged in file servers and on PC hard drives. Even companies with the right resources and motivation, like Oracle which has the ability to manage structured and unstructured data in its database as well applications to take advantage of both, have made only minimal progress at bridging these disparate worlds.
As is often the case, what is needed is a fresh start free of all technology baggage of the past. One of the most promising developments has been the emergence of Software as a Service (SaaS). Since SaaS is a young concept, many of the offerings are built on the latest technology. Hence, interchange of information through SOA is much more prevalent. Also, the SaaS delivery model allows much more aggressive delivery of new functionality than was possible with traditional software delivery. Hence, the opportunity for a Content Management vendor like SpringCM to integrate their product to a CRM offering like Salesforce.com to add contract management directly to CRM and thus effectively bridge the gap from structured business application to content management. The potential efficiencies are very significant.
The integration of content into business applications will require a rethinking of how content is managed. It will drive the emergence of a new content services layer that will allow content to be generated, managed and consumed much more easily than is possible today. The new model will drive content into the role of a first class citizen in the data world.