Astoria Software, providers of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) content management solution, and XML-based content authoring tool provider In.Vision have teamed-up to address the perennial question plaguing CMS project leaders the world over:
"What do you mean I can't use Microsoft Word?"
Like an old, warm blanket in the dead of winter, MS Word is the composition environment of choice for countless content creators across the globe. Yet, when it comes time to manage this content within a CMS, many users feel their comfort zone ripped away, only to be replaced with the harsh reality of a Web-based editor.
Are we being melodramatic? Possibly. However, the problem of how to get content from the friendly confines of Word to a place where it can be leveraged in a structured manner across the enterprise remains a roadblock on the way to content management bliss.
According to Astoria and In.Vision, the problem is even more complicated. The combination of Astoria's On-Demand SaaS-based content management system and In.Vision's Xpress Author product are intended to overcome what are considered the three primary challenges to the implementation and adoption of an enterprise CMS.
# The Authoring Experience. Traditionally, content authoring within enterprise content management systems has been so painful that people have had to be hired to perform what amounts to basically data entry for the people who actually produce the content. This may seem inefficient, and it is, but otherwise the CMS would be ignored because it is simply too difficult for the writers to use. In.Vision hopes that by making XML authoring in Word "totally transparent to users" -- a bold claim to say the least -- they can create a worthwhile content authoring experience.
# The schema. With a content authoring solution in place, the next question is how to structure the data surrounding all this newly created content. This is where the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) comes into play. In.Vision hopes to simplify the creation and maintenance of a schema by providing users with the built-in ability to author structured content to the DITA standard.
# The Content Management System. With an authoring solution in place and the beginnings of a schema, the CMS should be a forgone conclusion, right? Not so fast. The implementation of a CMS that fails to properly leverage the aforementioned authoring solution and schema could be the death knell for adoption of an enterprise content management solution. The partnership with In.Vision puts Astoria's On-Demand product in an excellent position to meet this need.
While hitching your wagon to the most ubiquitous word processing application on the planet is not so risky a strategy, it remains to be seen if Astoria and In.Vision can deliver on their promises of simplicity and transparency. Regardless of whether the utopia is achieved, we think that anything which improves the current state of CMS authoring is a laudable step in the right direction.