Businesses are driven by content. Contracts spell out agreements between parties. Project plans tell us what to do and when. Budgets tell us what we can afford. Invoices help us collect the money we need to pay for it all.
It’s hard to imagine getting anything done without creating content of some kind. But what happens to that content once it’s created? How do people find it? How can it be modified? Where should it be stored? How can it be protected from damage, loss, or viewing by unauthorized personnel? All businesses face these questions. The answers can be found in a content management application like SmartCabinet®.
What is a Content Management Application?
A content management application is a software system that helps organizations manage content by providing the following functions:
- Bringing content into a central repository. Throughout an organization, people are creating content all the time. At any moment, thousands of documents might exist on desktop and laptop computers, or even in conventional filing cabinets and storage boxes. A content management application like SmartCabinet® provides a way to bring these documents into a central repository where they can be managed efficiently and securely in digital form.
- Storing content so it’s easy to find. With so much content to manage, we need ways of identifying it so it can be retrieved quickly and easily. To accomplish this, content management applications have the ability to associate additional information with documents when they are stored. This information, called metadata, allows us to specify things like a document’s title, type, or date of creation, as well as any keywords we might use to describe its content or function.
- Finding content when you need it. Most of us find content by remembering where we put it. But what if we can’t remember? Or what if we weren’t the person who put it there in the first place? Content management applications help us find the content we need quickly and easily. SmartCabinet® allows you to locate content in three ways: (1) by browsing a hierarchical system of file folders; (2) by searching for a document’s title, type, creation date, or other metadata; or (3) by searching for words and phrases within the text of the document. You can also access documents over the Web from any Internet-connected computer—even if the document wasn’t created or stored on that computer to begin with.
- Managing workflows. With so much content in use by so many people, it’s important to keep track of who’s doing what and when. Content management applications make it easy to route content from person to person using workflows. A workflow is a digital routing slip attached to a document that specifies the order in which it will be sent to a list of recipients for their review. SmartCabinet® helps you create and manage workflows. Once a document enters a workflow, only the listed recipients can access it. SmartCabinet® even provides check-in and check-out capability to make sure that two people can’t change the same document at the same time.
- Keeping content safe and secure. Content is extremely valuable. Losing even one document can cost an organization many hours of productivity. Content can also contain sensitive information. Content management applications help organizations control who has access to which files. They also make it easier to archive important records to multiple locations to guard against loss from theft or destruction.
True to their name, content management applications help organizations manage their content. But that makes them sound less powerful than they really are. Applications like SmartCabinet® give organizations and the people who work for them tools that make their lives easier and their work more rewarding.
Why Do Businesses Need Content Management?
Word processing documents, spreadsheets, videos, photos, e-mails, etc.—almost everything a business does is represented in one way or another by content. Day-to-day operations may be determined by content. Legal compliance may depend on content. In some cases, the majority of an organization’s assets may reside in content. With so much of a business based on content, it makes sense to manage it as effectively as possible.
Consider storage, for example. Traditional paper records stored in file cabinets or boxes take up a lot of space. When hundreds of thousands of documents can be stored on a single server, a content management application is more affordable than rows of file cabinets, stacks of boxes, and storage space that has to be paid for by the square foot.
Even if an organization can afford to store physical documents, can it find them easily? How much time does it take to locate a document in a storage facility? Minutes?Hours?Days? With a content management application, documents can be retrieved in seconds. But what if content needs to be viewed by several people in different locations at the same time? With a content management application like SmartCabinet®, finding a document and arranging for several people to view it is a snap.
Sometimes it’s important to know how documents are being used. For example, in a complex project, a document may go through many stages. Where’s the third version of that proposal? Has finance signed off yet on the budget? Has legal had a review? These are questions people ask every day. SmartCabinet® has the answers. By routing documents through an organization using workflows, everyone involved in a document’s lifecycle can track its progress.
With so much riding on content, businesses need ways to keep it safe. Content management applications like SmartCabinet® make it easier for organizations to protect their documents from equipment failure and other disasters, as well as helping individual users recover single files if they’ve accidentally altered them or deleted them by mistake.
In a business world where content defines almost everything we do, even small organizations can benefit from a content management application. An individual employee may create thousands of documents a year and need access to thousands of additional documents created by others. When we think about the cost of replacing content if it’s lost or damaged, we can quickly understand why a content management application like SmartCabinet® makes sense.
The Content Management Application You Use Every Day
Learning a new computer system can be intimidating. But learning SmartCabinet® may be easier than you think because you may already understand the basics of how it works.
When you use Microsoft Windows, you use a folder system to organize your files; SmartCabinet® lets you organize files in folders, too. In Windows, you can search for files by file name or other parameters; SmartCabinet® also helps you find files by searching for them using their names or other parameters. In Windows, if you want to send a file to someone else, you attach it to an e-mail message; SmartCabinet® also interacts with your e-mail program to help you send other users links to documents in the system. What Windows does for individual users, SmartCabinet® does for entire organizations. The task is bigger and more complex, but many of the functions are the same.
You already know how to do many of the things you’ll want to do in SmartCabinet®. So rather than thinking of it as a whole new program, think of it as a bigger, faster, and more secure way of handling computer files. You may learn new terms like workflow and metadata, and you may learn new functions like checking in and checking out files, but if you’ve used a computer for a while, you’ve already learned much of what you need to know.
As you use SmartCabinet®, try to relate what you’re doing to things you do every day on your computer. Keep in mind that you learned a form of content management the first time you put a file into a folder. Is there more to learn in SmartCabinet®? Of course there is. But don’t forget that it’s just another way of using content, a way that will become just as familiar to you in time as working on your computer is right now.