Web-Centric Content Management


For the past few months, I have been popping in on the Infovark blog. For those that aren’t aware, they are creating an application for the Enterprise 2.0 world. From reading their various posts you can get a fair idea of what they are creating, at least conceptually. I’m not going to go into that, as I may be off and you should check the site out if you are that interested.

What made me decide to comment was their conceptual approach to managing content. It is refreshing and clean. I’m not sure how it will work in the wild in many corporate environments. There are a lot of details that I don’t know yet, so I’ll be optimistic.

Infovark’s View of Content Management

So what is it? The concept is basically the Internet scaled down to the Intranet. Instead of website, you have workstations. Users work on content on their workstation. When they are done, they generate URI for the content which automatically publishes the link to the workstations home page (a wiki in their description).

They have three posts on the subject concerning locating, versioning, and tracking content.

Want to create a new version? Open it and save it. Done. Want an old version? Take the URI and append a date for the version that was current at that time. Want to see what people are working on right now? Go to their home page and check it out.

I do have some questions on how this is all going to work.

  • How do you manage the disk usage? Peer-to-Peer is concerning. I’ve used Groove and it can be a disk hog. You would need a fair subscription model to manage the whole thing.
  • Are the wiki pages also stored peer to peer?
  • What do you do about items once completed and needed to be kept?
  • Items are listed on a users Wiki. Where does it get listed when a user leaves the company?
  • How do you track/prevent cross edits? Johnny starts to edit something and then I decide to make some edits as well. How is that managed?

I have more. I can think of a few solutions so some of those concerns. I’m sure that they have thought about these things and have more solutions. Hopefully many of their answers are different than this:

Yes, auditing and compliance are tough problems. A web-centric approach to enterprise software might have little to offer organizations that have risk management as a key strategic objective, beyond increased transparency. But most businesses would rather boost productivity and improve the bottom line.

What Is a Wiki?

I have one nitpick, which is a very minor hurdle in the grand scheme of things.

The process of editing a wiki page or leaving a comment in a discussion forum or blog should be familiar to most knowledge workers.

This is optimism at the foremost. In a recent survey that was conducted in a consulting company (privately paid for and conducted, so don’t ask), over half of the non-IT consultants didn’t know what a wiki was. This is far less then familiar. This company quickly remedied the problem before rolling out their collaboration software, but assuming that knowledge workers are familiar with these concepts can be dangerous. Many are too heads-down working to learn the new technologies that aren’t directly applicable to their job.

Don’t assume that your workers will be able to use a system or understand the terms. A knowledge worker may know all about the latest trends in creating attractive benefits packages or improving business processes in customer support, but it doesn’t mean that they know what Enterprise or Web 2.0 are, much less understand them.

Remember to recognize ignorance and cure it trough training. Only stupidity is forever.

2 thoughts on “Web-Centric Content Management

  1. An interesting approach and it will most likely suit somebody and they will use it. I guess it all depends what you need to do with the information from a business stand-point.

    The observation of how much users really know about Web/Enterprise 2.0 is also interesting. However, I think it can vary hugely depending on the type of company/organisation you have. I also think training is important and especially doing that in many ways, not just the big classroom solution. However, I see motivation as even bigger. Most users will learn if they clearly see “what’s in it for me”. So maybe it is all an internal marketing problem 🙂

    Finally, I hope you have seen the new Enterprise Wiki coming out from EMC Professional Services. There is a PDF in Powerlink and I have seen some screenshots and i looks great. To me it is a Wiki done right since it sits on top of a D6 Repository.

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