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In 2009, business-to-business professionals constantly have the opportunity to witness, create or seek out new technology that will help future businesses streamline efficiency and increase profitability. This holds especially true within the enterprise content management (ECM) arena.

Software juggernauts like Microsoft, EMC, Oracle, and others race to consolidate business processes and optimize the supply chain beyond their competitors. As innovation progresses, we now find supply chain professionals and marketing executives seeking out the latest trends to collaboratively leverage the years of investment into single-source ECM processes and technology.

Mapping the ECM landscape & reaching a collaborative epiphany

To get a better idea of what collaborative content distribution is, you first need to review the five pillars of ECM. These include: the capture and management of information, storage processes, data preservation and the delivery of digital assets.

To hardcore content management traditionalists, the intrinsic concepts of ECM often denote a many-to-one and one-to-many strategy. Processes are designed to aggregate content located in disparate systems, manage and consolidate into a single source of truth and then deliver information in a technologically neutral way to wherever it is needed.

This makes total sense if you're talking about an enterprise all unto itself, but what if your business doesn't know how or where the information is going to be at the time it is collected? More importantly, what if the success of your content requires additional information from a partner/third party not controlled by your ECM process? A simple example of this can be found on any consumer electronics website.

Example: A large computer manufacturer brand selling a new laptop model through a reseller/retailer channel.

Content & content sources include:

  1. Rich marketing content: Vendor specifications, marketing texts, pictures, videos and other digital media can be delivered to the retailer directly via an ECM distribution process. Current processes may utilize emails, web portals or a combination of both in delivering these digital assets.
  2. Partner-specific information: Partner-related pricing, inventory and promotion elements are often managed exclusively by the retailer's system.
  3. Third party aggregators: Since resellers usually sell many laptop brands, it is quite customary for vendor information to be provided by third-party content aggregators that normalize and enrich vendor data.
  4. Third party content: Other high value content includes third party accessories, editorial, reviews, ratings and feedback that is vital to the overall product performance, but resides outside of the manufacturer's control.


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