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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