Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy delivers on the title's promise--it provides a solid overview of content management including analysis, design, development, implementation, tool selection, and maintenance. The book is strongest in addressing big-picture issues--calculating a return on investment (ROI) for a project, what questions to ask in information modeling, and how to make a transition into content management.
The introductory chapters describe the basic content-management challenge--ensuring that content is consistent and accurate across an enterprise. Rockley et al. do an excellent job of describing typical departmental content "silos," where content is hoarded by each department and little or no reuse occurs. They describe how reuse can break down the silos, reduce the amount of content creation that needs to occur, and ensure that content is consistent across the enterprise. The chapter that describes how to calculate ROI on a content-management strategy is particularly strong. Several examples show the factors that go into such an analysis, and most readers will be able to perform their own assessments based on the examples provided.
In Part II, the book describes how to analyze an existing workflow and determine how best to establish a content-management strategy that replaces or modifies the current workflow. This is interesting reading, but suffers from a lack of illustrations. Many of the workflow proposals are outlined in lengthy, difficult-to-follow tables; they would have been much more effective with accompanying illustrations.
Part III focuses on design of an enterprise content-management system. There is good information here about information modeling, metadata, and the like, and this part will provide a useful overview to readers who are not familiar with these concepts.
The Tools and Technologies section (Part IV) of the book is problematic mainly because the information is too general. The authors provide lists of criteria and evaluation methods for tools, but they shy away from making specific recommendations. A series of case studies that describe best practices and implementation decisions given specific project scenarios would make the information presented here much more relevant. Furthermore, the book stumbles in discussing the rationale for XML as an underlying storage format. XML is emerging as the de facto standard for shared, reusable content. Managing Enterprise Content does a good job of describing how XML fits into content management efforts. But the authors overstate the case at the beginning of the chapter, when they attempt to differentiate between XML solutions and other solutions based on the idea that non-XML solutions require complicated scripting and XML does not. A cursory review of an XSL file would tend to debunk that statement. Nonetheless, an XML/XSL-based approach makes a lot of sense for other reasons, and the authors go on to describe its advantages in some detail.
Part V describes how to make the transition to a unified content management strategy. Here, the real-world experience of the authors becomes apparent as they describe implementation plans, likely problem areas, points of resistance, and strategies for avoiding and overcoming the inevitable problems. The chapter on collaboration does an excellent job of describing collaborative authoring and the required changed in mindset.
The publisher, not the authors, are to blame for some editorial and production problems in the book. There are numerous lengthy, complex tables that are poorly executed. The publisher should have made adjustments to the tables to make them more readable. The text itself reads as though it has not been copy edited--there are numerous grammatical errors, typographical errors, and awkward sentences. No writer produces error-free prose on the first (or fifth) draft; it is the publisher's responsibility to edit and polish manuscript text to produce final copy. Especially in books written for professional writers, it's disappointing to see this lack of quality control from the publisher.
Managing Enterprise Content: A United Content Strategy delivers the first comprehensive overview of enterprise content management concepts. It should be required reading for anyone involved in creating, managing, or publishing content.