Analysis:Quark Content Management-Make Your Digital Assets More Profitable

Quark Webcast highlights content management solutions, efficient managment and effective access to consolidated digital assets, leveraging content for best marketing effectiveness.

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Last Thursday, 18 August, Quark’s Scott Allan led a web pre­sen­ta­tion of the ba­sics of Quark’s Content Managament (QCM). Attended by a web au­di­ence of over 200, it was an in­for­ma­tive overview of QCM and how it fits in­to en­ter­pris­es, en­abling company-wide dig­i­tal con­tent con­sol­i­da­tion, col­lab­o­ra­tion and con­tent cre­ation, as­set ac­cu­ra­cy and brand management.

When speak­ing of dig­i­tal as­set man­ag­ment, the talk placed it in­to a mar­ket­ing con­text. Marketing is fre­quent­ly the last area of an en­ter­prise to be au­to­mat­ed, and dig­i­tal as­set man­ag­ment can al­so be thought of as mar­ket­ing re­source man­ag­ment, pro­vid­ing not on­ly more ef­fi­cient as­set ac­cess to de­sign­ers and con­tent cre­ators but al­so ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion to mar­ket­ing and mar­ket­ing feed­back and analy­sis activities. 

QCM aims to cor­ral all these facets in­to a uni­fied whole, al­low­ing cre­ators to cre­ate, col­lab­o­ra­tors to change con­tent based on per­mis­sions grant­ed by de­sign­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors, pro­vid­ing ready da­ta for mar­ket­ing to gauge the ef­fec­tive­ness of cam­paigns and feed­back for fu­ture ac­tiv­i­ty planning.

The Sum of The Parts

QCM is in­tend­ed as a cus­tomiz­able so­lu­tion to pro­vide con­sol­i­dat­ed dig­i­tal as­set man­age­ment to the en­ter­prise, for user groups from 25 to 250 mem­bers in size.

The core of QCM is a union of Oracle data­base, Quark soft­ware such as Dynamic Document Server, and a work­flow en­gine. This core pro­vides ac­cess to a wide va­ri­ety of doc­u­ments (QCM works with just about every file type, from QXP doc­u­ments to Illustrator/Photoshop files to class­es that can be de­fined by the en­ter­prise) to a va­ri­ety of clients. Designers can ac­cess con­tent from with­in QuarkXPress, but oth­er re­view­ers and col­lab­o­ra­tors can use a va­ri­ety of ac­cess meth­ods, from cus­tomiz­able stand­alone clients (an API is pro­vid­ed for cus­tom de­vel­op­ment) and even just your every­day web browser.

The avail­able so­lu­tions in­clude a Rights Manager, which over­sees dig­i­tal rights man­age­ment, a Content Manager, which al­lows check in and check out of files, pro­vid­ing ver­sion in­for­ma­tion, a web-based Media Portal, which pro­vides ac­cess via web browsers, and a Review Manager, which fa­cil­i­tates time­ly and quick re­view by mul­ti­ple re­view­ers simultaneously.

The sys­tem over­all pro­vides for quick ac­cess to ac­cu­rate con­tent, search­able by many terms via meta­da­ta searches.

Perhaps the most in­trigu­ing in­no­va­tion is that re­view­ers and con­trib­u­tors do not need QuarkXPress to par­tic­i­pate in the cre­ation and re­view process. QCM is not QuarkXPress! The abil­i­ty to cus­tom de­vel­op in­ter­faces and the abil­i­ty to use a stan­dard web brows­er with QCM al­lows every­one to play. The abil­i­ty of de­sign­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors to set per­mis­sions and priv­iledges en­sure that the on­ly things that get changed are what par­tic­i­pants are au­tho­rized to change; con­tent can be edit­ed but lay­out and de­sign re­main sacro­sanct. This is es­pe­cial­ly im­por­tant in Brand Managment, where ac­cu­ra­cy in con­tent can be con­trolled to max­i­mize its ef­fec­tive­ness when used by the mar­ket­ing side of an organization.

Nimble with Formats

Another no­table prop­er­ty of QCM is its abil­i­ty to deal with just about every for­mat thrown at it. Commonly used file for­mats are sup­port­ed, and en­ter­pris­es can de­fine thi­er own file classes.

Not on­ly that, but any sup­port­ed for­mat can be con­vert­ed in­to any oth­er sup­port­ed for­mat, on the fly. Individually se­lec­table me­dia pro­files al­low quick con­ver­sion of files when be­ing in­clud­ed in lay­outs and publications.

The Lenox Story

Making the point was the sto­ry of Lenox Collectables, a direct-sales gift­ware com­pa­ny. Faced with the dilem­ma of do­ing more and ef­fec­tive mar­ket­ing with the same amount of man­pow­er, they sought a dig­i­tal as­set man­ag­ment so­lu­tion, and opt­ed for Quark.

According to Quark’s pre­sen­ta­tion, they ex­pe­ri­enced great results:

  • A re­duc­tion in search and re­trieval time of more than 80%
  • An in­crease in accuracy
  • A sav­ings of $122,000 over 12 months for 4-color ad prep
  • A sav­ings of $28,000 over the same pe­ri­od for black & white ads
  • All this de­spte the in­crease in dig­i­tal as­set in­ven­to­ry to over 1 Terabyte

The Upshot

DCM is a nec­es­sar­i­ly sprawl­ing sub­ject. By com­ing up with a mul­ti­part so­lu­tion (en­ter­pris­es can pur­chase as much or as lit­tle of QCM as they need) Quark pro­vides the en­ter­prise with a cus­tomiz­able way of con­sol­i­dat­ing dig­i­tal as­sets, mak­ing them ac­cess­able to who needs them, re­in­forc­ing ac­cu­ra­cy and al­low­ing every­one who needs to play to get in on the con­tent game by pro­vid­ing for many ways of interfacing.

Quark seems to see QCM as a strong way of mov­ing away from be­ing seen as a one-product com­pa­ny, and it looks like a very cred­i­ble effort.

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