There’s an interesting confluence that’s just starting to gain traction in the enterprise. This is the intersection of rich media, social networking, dynamic content management and the on-demand business model.Rich media applications are already in play on some level in nearly every corporation, and although rich media has already made good inroads, its use is still siloed due to the way sophisticated rich media creation tools are used. The biggest footprint here is probably Adobe. Right now, most of their applications are installed on a PC/Mac, and while they are good at sharing information between Adobe applications, they still lack an effective integration strategy into production workflow systems. Because of this, most of their deployment remains at the desktop. They have announced a move to SaaS over the next 10(!) years, so at least they’re moving in the right direction. We’re also starting to see large corporations moving into the social networking sites, primarily as a means to gain due diligence on a prospective employee, as well as to reach into a demographic target for sales, recruitment, etc. What I’m not seeing a lot of (yet) is thinking about how to design and implement the corporate equivalent of a social networking site. Social networking sites exist for information and entertainment, they have great collaboration tools, and millions of people who aren’t geeky enough to build their own website can create something quickly, easily, and for free. The same type of rich media and collaboration tools applied to a large group of people with a specific objective, for example launching a new product, could have a huge impact on how manufacturers build, ship and support their products. The true gating factor is how all of this rapidly changing information is going to be created, managed and delivered across multiple media types. Rich, dynamic media is well-suited for management by an object-based Content Management System (CMS). All data elements, regardless of media type, can be stored as objects accessed through pointers. Unlike a relational-based CMS, there are no referential integrity limitations; the system scales seamlessly, and it is designed for constantly changing content. The fact that rich media content is created in a silo becomes a non-issue once it hits the CMS. What ties this all together is on-demand delivery. Any product going through a complex production lifecycle requires component-level integration of information across multiple functional groups and ongoing distribution of updated information across internal and external touch points. This is an ideal business model for an on-demand environment. Functional groups that are spread out or outsourced can easily collaborate on specific objectives, providing detailed information (across any media type) into a repository that becomes the single source of truth. The repository subsequently assembles rich media information on the fly to employees in support, training, sales, and marketing, as well as to channel partners and customers. This way, the company speaks to its customers and channel partners with a unified voice -- ensuring information is always current and consistent regardless of touchpoint.

About the Author

Dan Ortega is Vice President of Marketing at Astoria Software. The company makes Astoria On-Demand -- an XML-based, DITA-compliant content management system.