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.

Categories:

Comments

re: Content as a First-Class Citizen

Sir Going back to yesteryears, I read the meaning of spinster. It was in the World Wars that the ladies used all their energy in all sorts of services including knitting the fabrics that Babbage used for the punched cards.We seem to have forgotten we have come from the underground and fly the space by the Morse code and the punched tapes that we got from Fabric designing.Any comments on this or do we still talk of the big Oracle and IBM and Microsoft. I mean the ladies have contributed a lot not now but then in the past also.I thank youFirozali A.Mulla MBA PhDP.O.Box 6044Dar-Es-SalaamTanzaniaEast Africa

re: Content as a First-Class Citizen

RobYou know this but calling it out as most readers dont. SaaS is NOT SOA. They can be mutually exclusive. Shame on your for not clarifying.Also SOA actually complicates uses of structured and unstructured data and begs for more use of Master Data Managment. There is no way every developer will be able to agree on the level of granularity around any given process, so this means fragmentation and chaos around semantic understanding of data.EAI was hard coded to force data compliance. SOA takes that upsidedown, anarchy in essence when compared. In that, as long as you make it open via WSDL, SOAP, BPEL etc you can call it SOA.Tristan

re: Content as a First-Class Citizen

Great comment Tristan. Thanks. You are absolutely right. SaaS and SOA are not the same, but my hope is that since most SaaS appplications are younger, they are more likely to embrace emerging standards like SOA. I also agree that MDM is the elephant in the corner, but I also believe that content, over time, will carry more and more meta data derived from structured systems. Hence, the concept of content as a first-class data type. It will be an evolution and probably a slow one!

re: Content as a First-Class Citizen

IT aside if the politicians have no mood for this. On 15th I change from IT to oil. NO OIL NO IT I say . But I am not alone.15th Jan 2008 I go away from here, behold for some time. Call this a bad bios,basic input basic output sirsI am not in the Saudi but the TV of the day is very interesting. Well almost I would say humorous. There is reason. Mr. BushHe came to the Saudi, told the Saudi they had a problem from Iran, Better be warmed and be on guard. Buy more weapons from me. Then he goes to the other parts the Middle East. Same message to all the Arab land. Then he comes back to the Saudi and tells the King, this are my word as I do not speak Arabic.” We need oil. We need this very badly. We are facing problems as we may go in recession. Please increase the output and we will buy wall the oil. Please Iran is a threat. We are in fact attacking the Iran trade by calling of all the pistachios. We will give these to the world. But please increase oil. We need oil. Iran is attacking you. Oil please.”Well this is slightly exaggerated but the lingo is same if you translate in the language of politicians.Am I right? More questions then answer.I thank youFirozali A Mulla MBA PhDP.O.Box 6044Dar-Es-SalaamTanzaniaEast Africa