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The Interactive Content Management Opportunity

Digital media and Web content are rapidly evolving into an integrated, dynamic and distributed information store, addressing virtually all subject matter. As more daily life migrates online, users are increasingly consuming data through digital sources. And today it is a large and growing group of individuals, rather than professional publishers, that is producing rich-media and Web content in a volume that outstrips all printed material. Obviously, we are creating and consuming information at a feverish pace.

By making content creation accessible and affordable, technology is driving the change in how—and how much—information is produced and consumed. Anyone with a budget PC and some creativity can become a publisher or media outlet using a blog or a wiki. Individuals can sell their goods via eBay to a global market. RSS feeds allow people to tap into any information or news source worldwide. In short, Web 2.0 technologies have raised the expectations of online consumers.

An IDC white paper, "The Expanding Digital Universe," forecasts that information created in 2007 will surpass, for the first time, the available storage capacity. Imagine: in 1996 only 48 million people routinely used the Internet. By 2006, that number was 1.1 billion. By 2010, the Internet could welcome another 500 million users. All of them consuming, and many of them creating, digital content.

As people spend more time online, companies need to shift the way they reach their current audience and potential market. In just two decades, we have changed our communications from text-based content to immersive experiences that stimulate more of our senses and have greater staying power. For businesses to effectively compete for customer mindshare, they need a more streamlined approach to communicating information across all media forms.

Trends in Digital Asset Management
Not surprisingly, the digital asset management (DAM) field is growing rapidly. According to a 2007 Frost & Sullivan report, "An Introduction to the World Digital Asset Management Market," total world DAM system revenues increased 20% in 2006 to approximately $300 million. A similar rate of increase is projected for the next few years, which will push the DAM market across the billion-dollar mark in 2011.

The media and entertainment, and enterprise, markets are the two main contributors to this rapid growth. In media and entertainment, DAM applications are in post-production workflows related to broadcast, IPTV and publishing via print, Web and mobile wireless channels. In the enterprise sector, DAM is proving to be an integral part of marketing and corporate communications processes.

"The User Revolution," a report produced by Piper Jaffray’s Internet Media and Marketing research team, notes that consumers are obtaining an increasing amount of information, content, ideas and entertainment within an online social context. This information exchange is replacing other, more traditional forms (e.g., television, magazines, big Internet sites) and, over the next decade, will account for more than half of all content consumption.

Given the usage trends, DAM systems need to evolve from basic media repositories to ensure they continue to effectively deliver communications through all distribution channels. Future DAM systems will have to:

  • Manage both rich-media and Web assets; that is, a DAM system must include Web content management;
  • Support the creative process; and
  • Analyze how assets are being consumed.

From DAM to Interactive Content ManagementMany techniques now used to engage consumers, such as direct mail and print advertising, are losing effectiveness—the intended audience increasingly perceives such messaging as invasive, not persuasive. And as consumers take control of content consumption and branding, businesses are struggling to differentiate their messages from competitors’. Reaching customers is getting more difficult.


Interactive content management (ICM) marries rich media, multichannel distribution, Web 2.0 technologies and content usage analytics for a more compelling and participative communications experience. Interactive content enables a true two-way dialog and ICM provides tools that enrich this communication. Using interactive content, companies can form deeper and more persistent relationships with their customers, partners and employees. In short, ICM provides the means to reach the "engaged audience."

ICM includes technologies for managing the production process and content types that deliver compelling communications. Interactive content includes, for example, Web pages that combine Flash animation and streaming video, PowerPoint presentations with still images and audio clips and marketing collateral rendered for multi-channel distribution. The sheer variety of potential format combinations presents challenges that go beyond traditional digital asset management.

The Four Pillars of ICM
Interactive content must be intelligently managed using streamlined and automated processes that can help meet revenue objectives. An ICM platform built on top of an enterprise content management system can leverage value-added services such as scalability, security, application flexibility and version and process control.

Effective ICM requires four key components—each addresses specific business challenges.

Media repository and archive. The ICM platform’s central component is its media repository and archive, which must store, register, index and manipulate a huge volume of digital and Web assets in all known content formats. The media repository provides a single point of access for capabilities such as metadata modeling and automated transformations and classification. It secures business-critical content with the potential to enforce policies at the storage layer. Information rights management capabilities—including digital shredding, electronic signatures and watermarks—enable organizations to securely share and distribute assets both within and beyond the enterprise.

Creative process support. With seamless, multiplatform access to the media repository from within any creative tool, knowledge workers can achieve greater productivity. Workflow, role-based access and collaboration process automation streamlines, standardizes and improves business processes throughout the creative organization. A standards-based, service-oriented architecture framework can manage the creative process internally, and track it globally, throughout an asset’s lifecycle.

Multi-channel publishing. Multichannel publishing creates or reuses content and delivers it, from a single system, to Web, print, digital media, wireless or broadcast channels. An effective ICM platform provides a unified set of content services for creating page layouts and templates, simplifying format transformations and streaming media. Multi-channel publishing lowers operating costs, increases efficiency and creates additional revenue-generating opportunities.

Content usage analytics. Content usage analytics involves discovering and mining the metadata associated with rich-media and Web content to help create data-driven process models, simulations and dashboards. Companies can then identify the most effective content and analyze how it is being consumed. Armed with this closed-loop feedback, organizations can improve the quality of their content, messaging and product promotion, as well as enhance business agility.

The explosive growth of rich-media and Web content, and the individual’s ability to both produce and consume it, offers important implications for business. Organizations are being driven to reevaluate the technologies and processes they use to manage their digital assets, Web content, intellectual property and other information. To capitalize on emerging, revenue-rich opportunities, organizations must leverage their interactive content in an ICM solution built on an enterprise content management system. The result: dramatically improved customer experience, streamlined media production and minimized marketing costs.

Customer Success StoriesOne of the largest global designers and distributors of athletic apparel and gear uses an EMC Documentum solution to streamline how it selects, processes and distributes hundreds of thousands of digital assets. Formerly, the process would take two to four weeks. Today, it’s a matter of hours, resulting in higher throughput and greater branding proliferation. Additionally, by eliminating the need to burn and ship CDs and duplicate photo shoots, the system saves the company more than $8 million every year.

Customer Success: Athletic Apparel

Managing and protecting its global brands is a top priority. Before a consumer sees one of the company’s global marketing campaigns, an extraordinary number of people may work with a digital asset. This includes more than 3,000 internal brand managers and designers as well as external PR and advertising agencies and pre-press printing shops.

The system enables photographers, fresh from a photo shoot, to log in remotely and easily upload images. The headquarters-based team can review the images and recommend additional edits and processing. Once approved, the images are color-corrected by outside vendors. The final version is made available in the system for distribution to the Web, to a brochure, or to television.

Customer Success: Wines and Spirits
Another ICM platform success involves one of the world’s largest spirits and wine companies, which uses the EMC Documentum platform to help market and sell products to more than 135 countries. The company reduced Web publishing cycle time, eliminated brand-asset shipping costs, slashed agency fees by up to $28M a year and increased brand manager visibility for all marketing resources.

To drive down costs and improve efficiencies, the company decided to automate content management. Previously, it had mailed paper invoices between offices, resulting in expensive, time-consuming communications that were not visible across departments and were easily lost. Use of an advertising agency was also costly and slow: anyone needing a brand asset had to request it from the agency, which then had to find, copy and ship it.

The company created a brand-asset resource system with an easy-to-use Web interface for making approved brand assets accessible to employees and outside service providers. Assets are easier to find, render, control and repurpose. Using customizable templates, brand managers now create and update press releases, fact sheets, contacts, historical information and calendars. In addition, the ICM platform enabled the company to bring in-house 36 brand websites formerly managed by an external agency. Approved content and metadata from the media repository are cached for fast delivery to site viewers.

Source:  KMWorld, The Interactive Content Management Opportunity
Posted Oct 30, 2007
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