Web Content Management | Enterprise Content Management

By: Manuel J. Montesino

Corporate web portals serve as a single interface to work with varied content and different applications. Both employees and outside entities like suppliers, customers, and the government can use the corporate portal to get information, contribute to content, and communicate with the company.

The portal interface can accommodate content like text, pictures, audio, video, etc. and can be customized to suit the needs and preferences of each user. Users can also collaborate using the communication facilities such as live chat, e-mails, instant messaging and forms offered by these web portals. Workflow can be simplified with the single (customized) interface that provides access to all data and facilitates collaborative working.

Vendors like Microsoft and Oracle offer portal server software that allows corporations to build their own portals, and integrate functional applications with the portals. The products provide for granting of selective access to content to different users, thus making it possible to serve only what each user is authorized to see or work with.

Third party hosts began to provide web portal services to corporations. These hosted portals offer services such as databases, e-mail, discussion forums, and even document management, among others, to their clients.

Then there are industry portals that bring buyers and sellers together. The buyers and sellers might not be for a single product or product line, but for all related products and services, as when estate agents, removal firms, and solicitors come together at a property portal.

The widespread use of corporate and industry portals have made web content management an integral part of Enterprise Content Management.

Web Content Management

A web content management system facilitates web content creation, updating, exercising of editorial oversight, and other essential maintenance functions. Users can use the system even if they are not conversant with HTML, the main web-content development language.

Look & Feel: Visual templates allow users to present their content in a uniform and standard format.

WYSIWYG Tools: What You See Is What You Get - WYSIWYG - editing tools allow users with no programming knowledge to work with web content.

Workflow Processes: To cite an example of workflow control: Content created by content authors is worked upon by a copy editor who cleans up the copy and then finally gets approved by a chief editor before it is published at the web portal.

Content Lifecycle Management: Content passes through a cycle from creation, through revisions and version control, publication, and archiving to final removal. Web content management systems provide facilities for managing this cycle.

Different Kinds of Web Portals

There are several different kinds of web sites with differing content management practices. Blogs, Search Engines, Discussion Forums and E-Commerce Sites are examples of very different kinds of web portals.

Corporate Web sites are typically e-commerce portals driven by databases. This means that all data go into databases, which are queried for generating pages on-the-fly in response to user actions. Thus a user might seek information about a particular product and the web content management system retrieves details like product photographs, specifications, prices, shipping options, etc. from the database and creates a web page to display these to the user.

Conclusion

Web portals that can accommodate different kinds of content, and can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection, have emerged as a key element of managing enterprise content. With facilities for creation, updating, publication, and communication, web portals typically act as single (customizable) interface for working with all kinds of content generated at numerous points, often geographically widespread.

Web content management has hence come to occupy a central position in modern enterprise content management systems. Many vendors are coming up with offerings that help corporations to build their web portals and manage their content through these portals.

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