Recently I’ve noticed that not only within the pages of this blog, but in CMS blog-space in general there are a handful of commonly used acronyms that are bandied about with the assumption that all readers automatically understand what they mean, not only literally but also what technologies and processes they actually represent.
Another twist to this is is that even within the content management community, there isn’t always agreement. Here is my humble attempt at bringing some clarity to the subject. My thanks go to Wikipedia and Peter Halgopan of Information Week for help with definitions.
CM or CMS – Content Management or Content Management System. This a computer application used to create, edit, manage, and publish content in a consistently organized fashion. CMSs are frequently used for storing, controlling, versioning, and publishing industry-specific documentation such as news articles, operators’ manuals, technical manuals, sales guides, and marketing brochures. The content managed may include computer files, image media, audio files, video files, electronic documents, and Web content.
CCMS – Component Content Management System. Content Management applications which break down authored content into granular components (‘topics’). Core components of such content, can then be reused in many content products. Research shows that as much as half of product support content is redundant and could be reused. For a large organization, reuse can yield significant savings, efficiencies, and quality improvements over time. A core component can be something as small as a legal copyright statement, the first steps in a process that are shared by many processes, or an key branding message like a product name or tagline. Reuse allows the core component to be edited and maintained from a single source, and then be easily assembled into thousands of documents where it is needed.
WCM or WCMS – Web Content Management or Web Content Management System. Content management system software, usually implemented as a Web application, for creating and managing HTML content. It is used to manage and control a large, dynamic collection of Web material (HTML documents and their associated images). A WCMS facilitates content creation, content control, editing, and many essential Web maintenance functions. Usually the software provides authoring (and other) tools designed to allow users with little or no knowledge of programming languages to create and manage content with relative ease.. Blogging tools such as WordPress, Blogger and Movable Type are examples of WCM tools.
DM or DMS – Document Management or Document Management System. A computer system (or set of computer programs) used to track and store electronic documents and/or images of paper documents. Some DM systems also have tools to help support workflow. The term has some overlap with the concepts of Content Management Systems and is often viewed as a component of Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM) and related to Digital Asset Management, Document imaging, Workflow systems and Records Management systems. Contract Management and Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) can be viewed as either components or implementations of ECM. DM systems are particularly good for organizations with a high volume of documentation that needs to be easily searchable, as well as organizations that have to comply with regulatory restrictions.
DAM – Digital Asset Management covers content and files of every type, including images, video and audio files, MS Office files, in fact just about anything that can be digitized. DAM usually refers to a hardware/software system that helps to store and manage these digitized files. The term “Digital Asset Management” also refers to the protocol for downloading, renaming, backing up, rating, grouping, archiving, optimizing, maintaining, thinning, and exporting files. Occasionally the term “Visual Asset Management” (VAM) is used, especially in the FMCG space.
MAM – The term “Media Asset Management” is sometimes used as a sub-category of “Digital Asset Management”, mainly for audio or video content.
ECM – Enterprise Content Management tends to be a bit of a all-encompassing concept but generally refers to systems that include content management and digital asset management components. ECM systems are usually fairly expensive and hardware intensive, and often require a significant level of IT experience to set up and run. The “official” definitions as set by AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) is “Enterprise Content Management is the technologies used to Capture, Manage, Store, Preserve, and Deliver content and documents related to organizational processes. ECM tools and strategies allow the management of an organization’s unstructured information, wherever that information exists.”
The major differences between CMS and ECM? The CMS definition specifically mentions software; it’s a software system (or systems) for a the specific use of managing and publishing content, whereas the ECM definition refers to both tools and strategies.
I’m sure we are just scratching the surface here, so I’d be grateful if anyone can give deeper meaning to any of the above, or indeed add to the list.
Posted by Dunken Francis, Web Consultant, Author-it Software Corporation