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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