Content-integratie: het nieuwe paradigma

Magnus TopForce Content integration Platform: the new paradigm

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Organisaties maken in toenemende mate gebruik van ‘enterprise portals’ om zowel hun eigen personeel als externe partijen geïntegreerd toegang te bieden tot zakelijke kennis, applicaties en processen. Deze whitepaper beschrijft hoe het Magnus TopForce Content Integration Platform het gebruiksgemak van een Web Content Management Systeem combineert met de mogelijkheid om informatie uit verschillende bronnen probleemloos vanuit één gebruikersinterface te beheren, aan te passen en te publiceren. Daarmee is dit innovatieve en open platform dé oplossing voor elke organisatie die rijke informatiebronnen, waaronder sociale media-inhoud en dynamische inhoud uit webapplicaties, samenhangend wil presenteren op een effectieve en toekomstbestendige manier.

maart 2012
  • Groeiende behoefte aan integratie van inhoud
  • Integratieproblemen van webportals
  • Content-integratie: het nieuwe paradigma
  • Tien voordelen van een Content Integration Platform
Content integration Platform: the new paradigm Magnus TopForce February 2012 Content integration: the new paradigm A growing demand for content integration Organizations are increasingly making use of `enterprise portals' for integrated access to business information and knowledge, applications and processes ­ for use by their own staff and external parties such as clients and suppliers. With the increase in information sources, the demand for content integration is growing. Important areas of focus, in addition to the integration of website content, are the integration of operational data such as price, product and order details, and the integration of unstructured data such as Office documents, PDFs, emails, social media data, images and videos. Enterprise portal technology is the answer to the challenge of providing staff members with the right information at the right moment and optimizing their ability to work together internally and externally. Commerce portals facilitate the buying process for a potential customer, but they also display important information on products and services, social networking functions and other types of information that mix and match with the buying- and brand experience. Partly due to the popularity of portals, there is ever increasing demand for solutions for the effective management and integration of content. This has proven to be a significant bottleneck in the connection between websites and portals. Despite the overlap between the technologies, their fundamental differences mean the integration of website and portal content remains far from problem-free. Website portal integration problems What quickly becomes apparent is that web content management systems are ill suited for the dynamic structure of portals and web applications, and that portal products are only marginally geared towards managing content. Moreover, portal software is essentially unsuitable for mixing unstructured and structured information in a user-friendly way. It may be suitable in terms of technology, but not in terms of design, use and management. And because each supplier of portal software maintains its own organization and structure, it is virtually impossible to find a simple integration solution. Let us first take a closer look at the organization of the use and management of web content management systems and portals. The problems of integration will then quickly become clear. Content integration: the new paradigm The content integration platform represents a solution to these problems. It brings the ease of use of a WCMS editing environment to portal content management. It also makes it possible to mix, match and reuse structured- and unstructured content, web applications and dynamic content from web applications across websites and portals. Magnus TopForce Page 2 of 11 Content integration: the new paradigm Web Content Management A web content management system (WCMS or CMS) allows you to easily publish and manage documents and data on the internet. Data is entered to the content management system as rich text, i.e. without layout. The use of templates ensures that the content is presented to visitors in a defined layout. In addition to content, intranet or internet pages also need a navigation structure. Visitors can use this structure and hyperlinks to navigate through the various pages. For ordinary websites, structure and content are the same for everyone. There is a one-to-one relationship between the structure managed in the WCMS and the published content. The site structure, page layout and `look & feel' that a user experiences are based on the publication process. Content is separated from the presentation form and as a result, it can be used or reused in one or more publications in a manageable way. During the publication process, all pages are generated and made ready for use. From this point on, the WCMS plays no further role in the use of the site. Changing the site starts in the content management system again, and only after publishing this change is seen by a user. Thanks to the popularity of portals, managing and integrating content is getting more and more attention Magnus TopForce Page 3 of 11 Content integration: the new paradigm Portals Each work process which involves employees using information from different sources can be supported using portal technology: from standardized sales or HR processes to ad-hoc projects. A portal is a web infrastructure component which offers personalized and integrated access to business information, knowledge, applications and processes. According to the research agency Gartner, portals offer "access to and interaction with relevant information, software applications and business processes, geared to the target group in a personalized manner." It is important to remember that we are talking about personalized information from various sources. The user experiences a portal the same way as a website, though what they are seeing is in fact a dynamically generated (during the session) framework of pages. Within this framework, content is delivered based on the visitor profile, the page context and queries. Portals are built using functional building blocks or `portlets'. The portlets are combined depending on the desired webpage: they display content and manage the user dialogue. Both the content and the `look & feel' of the content are dynamically generated. Each time a portlet displays information, the portal's style sheet is consulted in order to add the right colors, fonts and frames. Portlets display two things: Application functionality, in other words services from an underlying application system, for example for entering an order form, or queries and reports; Information from the content management system (including layout) or from the portal database (the layout is added in the portal). Magnus TopForce Page 4 of 11 Content integration: the new paradigm Alternatives A portal displays information using a system of portlets. The structure is created in the portal management module using the roles and authorizations of users. The navigation and page structure is linked to this structure. This is the framework. The portal is not only the provider of access to information, it is also the `integrator' of applications. The portlets are the windows which offer that information and functionality (transactions) from connected applications. The portal and the portlets are always `on'. These are the essential differences to a WCMS, where a complete website with a navigational structure is published and where application functionality is not easy to integrate with published pages. The menu structure of a portal is a dynamically generated framework which you cannot bypass. For content management, you can utilize the standard functionality of the portal product and supplement it with custom functionality as required. You can also consider configuring a WCMS so that it publishes content via portlets without navigation elements. In that case the navigation structure for the content published from the WCMS will be regulated in the portal. This lowers the added value of the WCMS. One problem which is not easy to resolve is the exchange of authorizations. Another one is the fact that it is not possible to sufficiently regulate the version management of publications in a portal. Portals and traditional WCMS's are fundamentally different in their system design, which makes it difficult to integrate both efficiently Magnus TopForce Page 5 of 11 Content integration: the new paradigm Double navigation and management activities When displaying a website published by a WCMS in a portal, two different navigation panes are displayed. This is because the website content can only be displayed in the portal via a portlet. The portal navigation is visible from the outside, the published WCMS navigation within the portlet. This is really not an option as it is counterintuitive to users, inefficient and difficult to streamline in terms of style/house style. Moreover, site management always has to take place in several places: For the content in the WCMS; For the publication of content from the WCMS in the portal (a portlet for each content element); For coordination of page layout and look & feel in both the WCMS and the portal; For the management of the navigation and page structure in the portal. Integration of WCMS content in a portal: two navigation panes are displayed Magnus TopForce Page 6 of 11 Content integration: the new paradigm Not a true solution Other solutions involve a banner and horizontal main navigation generated by the portal and a large portlet publishing the entire site with only the sub navigation from the WCMS. But this approach is still too labored; you are not solving the structural drawbacks. All in all, the integration of WCMS publications in a portal remains a time-consuming business, particularly when it comes to multiple content sources or the operation of multiple portals from the WCMS. Integration of WCMS content in a portal: maintenance in several places Of course, over the past decade solutions have been devised to add portal functions to WCMS's. Web Content Management components (plugins) have also been devised for portals. In general, these remain solutions that are tied to particular suppliers, which means concessions in terms of functionality, flexibility, manageability and applicability. This form of direct integration will never lead to a true solution. This is because the heart of a portal solution is built on an authorization structure, whereas in its most flexible form a WCMS is structured around a metadata model. The fundamentally different forms of structures and management are impossible to bring together in a clear-cut way. Magnus TopForce Page 7 of 11 Content integration: the new paradigm CIP as information broker A good Content integration platform (CIP) is ideally suited for use in environments where content is spread across various systems. It combines full WCMS capabilities with integration solutions for all possible content sources and publication targets. This creates an unambiguous and future-proof process of content management over multiple systems and sources. Within that process, web applications can easily be managed as content and portals can be used as publication targets. Content can be organized, modified, managed and published via a single user-friendly user interface. `The best of both worlds', in other words: 1. 2. 3. 4. The ease of use and editorial support of a WCMS, including metadating, version management, publication workflow, etc.; Utilization of the personalization and application integration possibilities of the portal system with assured integrity; Mixing any form of content on a page: web applications, multimedia, text layout, structured, unstructured, freedom of page layout, etc.; The reuse of content across multiple publication targets. The principle of content integration is based on delinking the management of information sources and publication targets. The content management takes place at only a single location rather than two, the WCMS and the portal. Web applications (including portlets) can easily be managed as content and portals can be used as publication targets. Using a CIP also offers convenience for the content editor, which means that the system is also suitable for occasional users. This contrasts with the often complex content management facilities in a portal. The business can independently take care of the functional side of portal content management. Thanks to a well-defined and managed standard interface, the integrity of the portal infrastructure remains assured. Less dependence on IT (portal management) enhances the productivity and efficiency of the content management process. With a CIP, various types of content, such as text, multimedia, web applications, internet feeds, etc., can easily be mixed together in portals. The architecture also offers flexibility for the publication targets. After being linked to the CIP, a new portal is fed directly by a publication from the CIP. This means there is no need to do everything again when migrating portals. The CIP can be fitted into a web architecture seamlessly and in a phased manner, and can take over tasks gradually. As a result, no disinvestment of existing environments is required: these can easily be connected (integrated) and if necessary consolidated over time. Magnus TopForce Page 8 of 11 Content integration: the new paradigm Portal integration How does portal integration work? The CIP acts as information broker between, for example, a WCMS (information source) and a portal environment (publication target). The website information and portal content can be managed with a single user interface. The content remains in the WCMS, but is edited in the CIP user interface with the help of an integrated preview function, from which it is published on the portal. The content from the portal database can also be included in this process. The correct roles, authorizations, navigation structure, pages and portlets are created on the portal side without the intervention of a portal manager. With the same management interface, the CIP can integrate content from multiple sources (such as a document management system, collaborative space, other WCMS or portal) with channels such as a second portal, a PDF or a website managed by the CIP. New integration options With a content integration platform, scenarios which previously seemed difficult to realize also come into the picture, such as: The integration of social networking engines in portals and websites; The enrichment of product information in e-commerce portals; The reuse of web applications like Google Earth/Maps/Docs, online image processing, any cloud services, etc., in the content management process; The use of dynamic content from web applications like online photo/video databases, recommendation engines, YouTube, etc. Offering personalized information is a lot simpler when user profiles are centrally recorded and managed. E-commerce sites like Bol.com and Amazon.com are making ever smarter use of dynamic personalization in order to focus extra attention on products or services, or alternatively to remove them from the view of users. They combine the user profile with content classification models and operating rules based on the click and purchasing behavior of the user, and the purchasing behavior of user groups matching the same buyer profile. Magnus TopForce Page 9 of 11 Content integration: the new paradigm Content integration: the new paradigm A Content Integration Platform (CIP) offers a solution for organizations that want to manage content from multiple information sources and structures for different publication channels in an effective and future-proof way. Using a CIP, content from various sources can be organized, modified, managed and published in a single user-friendly user interface. The heart of the solution lies in delinking the editing and content management functions from the elements that define the structure. Open standards can be used at the interfaces. The separation of content, navigation, layout, version management, authorizations and media means that web applications can easily be managed as content and portals can be used as publication targets. Deep integration with portal infrastructure makes it possible to publish in a portal environment without using the portal management module. Individual components in an architecture of content sources and publication targets can be replaced, expanded or consolidated independently of one another. Social media can also be connected in a web architecture. Portals can be implemented more quickly: both the previously time-consuming design issues and content management are far simpler. The use of a single integrated user interface also ensures enormous productivity gains for content management and rationalization in the management of the web architecture. Magnus TopForce Page 10 of 11 Content integration: the new paradigm 10 Benefits of a content integration platform (CIP) 1. 2. Simple, seamless integration of websites and (e-commerce) portals More efficient and simpler content management across all content sources and linked systems: databases, files, other web content management systems, portals, internet feeds, web applications, etc. 3. A single editorial process for all types of web content: web applications, portlets, text, multimedia, internet feeds, etc. Complete authorization, metadata, navigation, structure, look & feel and publication workflow management for all content types Business users can manage the functional side of the portal without the intervention of IT Assured integrity of the portal infrastructure and links between components and structures thanks to control lists, issue tracking, reports, scripting, etc. for continuous quality and convenience in content management 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Flexibility in the architecture of the channels Simple portal migration: after connection to the CIP, the portal is fed directly No disinvestment of existing environments because the CIP fits into the web architecture in a seamless and phased way Unlimited reuse of source data and references to source data. Metadata and authorizations can be linked to both content and references to contents. 10. About the Author Edo van de Velde has been active in the field of Web Oriented Architectures for over 17 years. He has been involved in architecture development in portal, BPM, SOA, document management and web content management projects for several large organizations. He is particularly interested in integration issues, whether they are business or IT related. Especially where these two worlds intersect, an interesting field of tension emerges within which he facilitates new solutions and propositions in a creative manner and with an approach founded on sound architectural principles. Contact Hofplein 20, 3032 AC Rotterdam Gooimeer 5-39, 1411 DD Naarden www.magnus.nl +31 (0)10 458 64 02 +31 (0)35 699 60 60 Magnus TopForce Page 11 of 11
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