Managing Content Throughout the Product Lifecycle

A guide to content management systems to support product lifecycle information.


5. Sell The selling step consists of creating customer-focused product manuals, support and repair manuals, selling strategies (product positioning and how to sell guides), marketing collateral, product warranties, and product manufacturing and sales reports. All of this content needs to be accessible to the correct groups within the sales and support organizations through an appropriate CMS.

A CMS can also facilitate translation and localization of sales, marketing, repair and instruction documents, extending workflow to internal translators or external localization agencies and then delivering content in the appropriate language for the appropriate audience. Digital asset management capabilities also come into play in this phase, for such activities as managing marketing and training videos and other rich media files.

6. Support As new products are sold, customer service organizations should be able to access all relevant content such as support and service manuals created throughout the product development process. Additionally, support groups author their own internal and external content, including product support articles, service bulletins and service difficulty reports, and that information should also be available to all relevant parties. In rare cases, support organizations document product deficiencies identified by customers, and pass them to product design and manufacturing teams for resolution. The end result is typically a manufacturing or sub-assembly change requiring an engineering change order and revisions to product documents, manuals and information for suppliers.

For companies looking to make the most out of their product lifecycle information, a successful content management implementation can effectively support this critical business objective.

Companies also can use a CMS to improve productivity by providing employees, suppliers and partners with real-time access to critical product information from any computer with a Web browser. This accessibility, combined with the ability for product team members to easily collaborate through the Web, helps manufacturers bring products to market more quickly.

About the Author: Todd Price is vice president of product management for Stellent Inc., a provider of content management solutions. Price has more than 18 years of experience in the software industry and has managed all levels of the software lifecycle.

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