What the heck is content management?

In the city that never sleeps, making sense of content management just got easier. Or at least that’s the intention.

So here I am at the AIIM Roadshow in New York City. (If you’ve never been to one, it’s the perfect setting to get acclimated with the ECM lingo and vendor landscape.) And as I’m setting up the booth, the PR and marketing side of me took over.

I’m always interested in how different companies related to ECM position what they do. While it was a limited sample size, there was one common denominator in the language:

Content management.

Have you ever noticed what happens to words that are overused? Perfect example: the terminology used in press releases. Companies love using terms like “best of breed” and “leading.” It seemed like a great idea at first, but then everybody started doing it.

Now nobody really understands what “best of breed” means any more, or exactly which companies really are “leaders.” Consequently, most people now find both to be meaningless, empty terms.

I think we’re at, or are quickly approaching, a similar critical mass with “content management.” It’s used to describe documents hosted in the cloud for access whenever, wherever. Converting documents from paper into electronic form. Keeping documents in paper form and archiving them in an organized, secure manner. The list goes on and on.

Fortunately, what’s more important than a naming convention is the ability to define what problems the software is optimized to solve. “Content management,” enterprise document management,” “ECM,” whatever you want to call it has many different flavors and nuances.

The context in which it’s used, and the way it has been developed, dictates when one flavor is the best choice to address an organization’s specific challenges. There is no one flavor that’s right for every company, department or problem. I hope vendors and industry leaders realize this and start to clearly articulate it. Otherwise, they’re doing themselves, and more importantly their potential customers, a terrible disservice.  

We’ll see if some clarity is brought to this issue here at the event. If you have specific comments or concerns you’d like me to put to the folks at the show, please drop me a note at kailtin.maurer@hyland.com.

Kaitlin McCready

Her title may say "Public Relations Specialist," but Kaitlin McCready's got her hand in the corporate Web site, social media, marketing writing and media relations, too. From Baldwin-Wallace College, she came to Hyland in March '08 with big ideas for PR and marketing, including this very blog. In her spare time, she enjoys being disappointed by Cleveland sports, spending time with family and friends, and being involved with the PRSA Cleveland chapter, especially the Young PRos committee. Check her out on Twitter (@kaitmccready) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/kaitlinmccready).

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