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Content management systems for CIOs

A content management system (CMS) can help make sense of your organization's various documents, Web pages, blogs and other resources. Learn more in this tutorial.

A content management system (CMS) can help make sense of your organization's various documents, Web pages, blogs and other resources. Take a look at these articles, tips, podcasts and white papers to learn how to make the most of your CMS.

This guide is part of the SearchCIO.com CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefing section.

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Content management services take to the cloud

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Content management has proved its worth as a way to control website information, organize workflow and handle such important corporate documents as customer contracts and product specifications. Now many organizations are discovering that content management applications can deliver still more value as cloud-based services.

"With the cloud, we get a multimillion-dollar infrastructure that's always on. It's scalable, and we can compete at a level that was unheard of before," said Daniel O'Leary, vice president for global solutions at LincWare LLC, a Rochester, N.Y., maker of electronic forms management software.

O'Leary has found that cloud-based content management services benefit from the same characteristics that are driving the cloud to become an alternative and in some cases primary platform for all applications: lower overall cost, no requirement to build and own IT infrastructure, and the ability to add and subtract capacity as needed.

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Laying the foundation for ECM with records information management

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Before spending the money on an enterprise content management (ECM) system, the enterprise needs to get its house of records in order. At least that is the loud and clear message of CIOs like Laura Fucci, who delayed an ECM implementation for financial reasons, and is happy she did.

When Fucci was appointed CIO of Clark County, Nev., four years ago, buying an enterprise content management system was high on her bosses' to-do list.

"But we did not have a countywide records management program or policy or retention in place," Fucci said. "Every department was reading the state laws and doing records retention and destruction the way they felt it needed to be done in their departments."

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Enterprise content management a player in disaster recovery program

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For all the talk about living in a digital age, paper content, from account invoices and HR records to intellectual property, still fuels the business processes of many organizations, even those with sophisticated IT systems. But quick recovery of paper content -- a fragile medium in fire and flood -- is often an afterthought in disaster recovery and business continuity planning. An enterprise content management system, the modern-day descendant of tactical document imaging tools, can act as a safety net in a disaster and even play a strategic role in a disaster recovery program.

At Tulane University, forced to close for only the second time in its 170-year history when Hurricane Katrina hit (the first time was the Civil War), the usefulness of an enterprise content management system became clear to the university's many schools and departments after the fact.

"We were certainly imaging files before Katrina, but they were for tactical business use," recalled Michael Britt, director of administrative services at Tulane University in New Orleans. Invoices from accounts payable, for example, were converted to digital forms for audits but not for routine operation. The university's political structure hindered using enterprise content management (ECM) more strategically. Academic departments tend to operate as their own fiefdoms.

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The DMS should integrate seamlessly with other organisational applications