Maybe you work in a pharmaceutical company or financial services organization that demands several people work on the same document in various iterations and those folks are miles – or even oceans – apart. This solution allows for an entire team to work off the same master document, tracking changes, saving minor drafts and embedding files. Sound like you? Then you’re looking for a collaborative content management system (collaborative CMS).
If it were dictionary defined, the entry for collaborative content management might read something like: A system designed to process and assist the simultaneous creation of content by multiple authors across a network-based infrastructure. A mouthful, we know.
But here’s a simple way to picture it. Imagine a table with a blank piece of paper in the center. Now picture a group of people around the table, each with his or her own pencil and eraser. One after the other, each person gets time with the document – to write something new, correct a remark, add an image, review, approve and sign off on the document. In the end, there aren’t multiple documents on the table. Just one. The one everyone works from.
Collaborative content management – sometimes called collaborative document management – is the same thing, only living in a digital world where a software or online portal serves as the table and the group around the table is, in reality, sitting anywhere in the world, working on the document at any time of day.
One of the best examples of just such a collaboration system is Wikipedia, the mammoth online encyclopedia written and edited by users from around the globe. Wikis, used more and more often by businesses to collect intellectual knowledge and drive projects and ideas from across the company, are natural collaborative CMSs. They allow various editors to create, tweak and edit the same content from anywhere.
If your business relies on key business knowledge and research that you continually duplicate (i.e., reinvent the wheel), and more and more often your employees telecommute (i.e., live miles, states or countries away), collaborative content management is a business solution to consider.
Collaborative CMS will allow you to create “shared workspaces” – the electronic version of the table top we talked about earlier. More advanced systems can even allow for online meetings, white-boarding, collection and storage of project documents and version control and tracking.