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Only a few of years ago, when CM technology started becoming widely available, albeit in different forms, many things happened very quickly.
It was all about vendor proliferation, market consolidation, open source versus proprietary systems.
Suddenly content was less interesting than the technology it was delivered with, and software capabilities became the main attraction
Then xml and data exchange protocols started becoming industry standards,
and web services opened new possibilities for electronic information flows
Due to the encouraging market growth projections, CM has become the focus of greater attention but, interestengly, not much has changed in the discussion topics
For example, a recent article CMS - What's the catch? - goes over the subject again, for those who still haven't come to terms with it.
Maybe because I have been writing about this for years, I find it difficult to believe that some people still havent heard about it
"A traditional Web site built of static HTML pages works great if it's relatively small and simple, if it doesn't have many interactive features, and if you don't have to change its content too often. However, if you need professional help to add/delete or modify a page and upload it to the site, it may be time for you to think about employing a CMS"
That may be true. But think again, what website does not need updating regularly?
It's the concept of 'website' that we may have to be reconsidered.
An online page is just an interface between the internet user, and the rest of the world. Or at least, it could be, if it wasn't so expensive and complicated to run. That's exactly where CMS technology can fill the gap
Building a new vision
First, new technologies must make our life simpler and optimise the use of resources. So implementing a new technology in the long run will have to cost me less that not implementing it, as well as allowing me to do something that I could have not done manually.
This is true also for a small website
"Its the concept of static website that is a contradiction in terms", told me once a CM supplier. How true.
Second, something that has been widely discussed during innumerable events: 'content' is not just a publishing affair.
On the internet, content is the flesh and blood of everything that exists: product descriptions, ecommerce transactions and all sorts of information for every purpose
This means that content management is not just a tool to handle some literature, if you have any, but around which online life revolves
This becomes increasingly true as more electronic systems penetrate our environment: ultimately a CMS will let the user interact with any interface, any device
Online systems provide layers of information that add knwoledge and operating capabilities to any existing entity, they are intended essentialy as 'efficient' means of communication
The key to understand the role of CMS in a world that is changing, is to understand how internet communication delivers - okay, should deliver - the greatest efficiency in information exchange.
This is true even in a small organisation, a one person business for example
I am trying to convince a small trader - an acquaintance of mine - that she could spend less time and money on the phone if she had a web page, but she argues that even if she does 'accept the new paradigm', her business partners, small craftspeople and retailers, may not do so, not in the near future at least.
Think ahead, the future starts here
But let's look at what is around the corner
People think of UMTS will at best enable them to make video phone calls, rather expensive way of saying hello.
Not everyone realises that UMTS in the long term could make internet access universal and cheaper, thus making internet communication even more compelling
And with convergence, this will become increasingly true, including for the example the projections for set top boxes market in the US
The world is changing
Often people ask me why do we publish so many news about broadband and telecommunication technologies, what's it got to do with content management, they say
Well content management is very much a component of the human, social and technological environments.
Everything influences everything else, CMS will let the user determine how that interaction happens
Last, the technology is there, but people don't know how to use it to increase operational efficiency.
This is very much a mindset issue.
It looks like we are in a petrol crises. No organisation can afford to be uneconomical.
But there may be hope
At enterprise level, content management lets professional users interact with the information systems of their organisation.
There are many barriers to user optimisation, one of them being that humans and systems do not generally communicate in the same way, and that firms do not operate following human behaviours.
What has been happening - there is an interesing sociological component to this I think - over the last decade that has seen the proliferation of computers, is that humans have changed, and have learned how to communicate increasingly like machines - formatted input, formatted outputs.
By contrast, machines are learning how to communicate increasingly like humans, with natural language processing for example, and modeling human behaviours
In order for such 'human machine convergence' not to end up in a disastrous homologation of communication, where everything is just expressed in bits and bytes and a central processing system determines data flows (who says what), the sponsorization of human individual creativity is central
Creativity for development of humanity
Particularly in this age of information technology, humans should cultivate and disseminate their creative, and critical, thinking abilities.
Content Management Systems are the tools that enable individuals and small organizations to survive, differentiate and proliferate in a world that otherwise is very much in the hands of large product manufacturers
This is true for information, as well as for consumer goods
CMS technology can have an economic impact on small organizations, of all fields, because it will enable them to compete and be level with larger ones.
The virtual world is rather more flat than the real one, company size may become irrelevant if I have one little clever system that does it all
I keep on reading the article I was referring to initially
"There sure are some disadvantages as well re CM technology). One of them is that a Web site based on a CMS tends to work slower, and that search engines index it worse than a static HTML site. These problems can be solved by adding a function that allows you to publish the site as static HTML pages or simply by choosing a CMS that uses search engine friendly URLs"
Allow me to say, speed does not depend on CM technology itself, and yes, a CMS should do everything in the best possible way, including optimizing the searches, using various techniques available.
There are so many myths attached to CM technology, even
Jim Rapoza, good technologist and former colleague when I used to write for Ziff Davies, makes choosing a CMS like walking in a minefield.
Sorry guys, there is something wrong in the way you look at CM life.
Sometimes clients need advice how to go about their
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