Content Management Conference

Feb 27 2003 Kelly Norton
Tomorrow begins a refracted week, one where time is perceived to have been bent significantly to compress or exclude at least one full day; this is the toll of travel. I left on Tuesday night heading for the Jupiter Research sponsored conference on Content Management in Manhattan and returned tonight, err Wednesday night. I am still trying to decide whether I am better suited to solve some content problems having gauged the direction of the content management industry. Probably not, actually. What strikes me about what I've seen of the content management industry is that those who need to spend millions on true “enterprise”* content management and those who are barely able to spell “www” are having their needs met, while the other x% of folks who sit in the middle are swimming in a sea of non-converging content models. Call them the middle class of content producers. Those for whom content is important enough to break down their operational models yet not central enough to what they are doing to justify another funding round. This seems to be an industry where the ideal solution is too complex to ever be practical, and vendors are taking advantage of the fact that if five objectives loom over the whole area of content management a reasonable segment of those organizations only emphasize two of those objectives and therefore constitute a “servable” market. Which means one of two things, the field of content management should be further segmented to identify the broad set of needs or that the appropriate model has yet to be applied. Should the model, instead, be completely inline with productivity tools? I begin to think of ways to restructure my personal data (which could mean any file I have created that is stored in my personal documents stash, or My Documents if you buy into the Microsoft nomenclature) and I ironically categorize information as private, protected and public, which is a simplistic model familiar to all object oriented programmers. If you continue to theorize and find yourself back in the realm of Information Theory you realize that nobody really knows what the hell constitutes “content”. And, this is what I think really defines the content management market: Those organizations where the definition of content and its roles are very clear are very easily served, but as soon as the signifier for content begins to slide (or abandon prescribed models) the cost of implementing a content solution becomes unwieldy. Basically, everyone has their own content model and everyone has their own content value. And, do you know I spent $20 on scrambled eggs and a croissant this morning!