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Choosing the Right Content Management Package

What You Need to Know Before You Buy
Many companies today realize they need to more effectively manage their content across the entire organization. As a result, these businesses have begun the process of evaluating and selecting a content management system. But, few know what kind of solution they need, and what criteria to use when comparing the numerous applications and vendors on the market.

Today’s content management systems come in all shapes and sizes, and are designed to address any need from simple digitization and organization of business information, to sophisticated process workflows for managing the creation and administration of mission-critical documents. Whether you need a small package, or an enterprise-scale one, there are certain key features you’ll want to look for when choosing a new content management system.

Workflow Management
For many organizations, particularly those with information-intensive operations, simple content storage and retrieval just isn’t enough. Companies like these have complex and multi-faceted information-generation and administration processes, and need more robust content management systems that provide end-to-end workflow management. These solutions streamline and automate the handling and tracking of all phases of the content lifecycle – from drafting and review, through approval, publishing, and distribution.

All companies maintain a tremendous amount of confidential information – financial reports, customer data, product plans, competitive analysis, and much, much more. This information must be protected from more than just unauthorized access and distribution. Less malicious events such as unintentional deletions, overwrites, or alterations that can result in loss or damage to crucial content must also be avoided at all costs.

All content management systems deliver some basic security features to preserve the integrity of this information. But only the world-class ones use the latest technologies to offer multiple layers of security. These solutions govern not only access to the content itself, but to system functionality and privileges. Each user in an organization is granted the right to view, edit, approve, share, or remove content based on their role in the business, as well as their involvement in the content management process.

Enterprise Search
Every day, workers at all levels rely on Google, Yahoo, and other search tools to locate vital and timely information that can help them to better perform their jobs. While all content management systems offer their own internal search facilities, only a handful have combined the ability to search external Internet resources with the ability to rapidly find and retrieve corporate information.

Content management systems that offer this kind of dynamic enterprise search functionality make files in the repository readily accessible via most major search engines. As a result, they deliver the greatest increases in efficiency – improving the productivity of research, marketplace and competitive analysis, and other important functions.

Content management systems shouldn’t be viewed as stand-alone applications. In order to provide maximum value, they must be seamlessly linked to the other systems involved in the content creation process. For example, the content management system you choose should be integrated with popular Web publishing, graphic design, and Word processing programs, so files generated, updated, or consumed by employees who utilize these tools can be easily incorporated into and managed within the central content repository.