Salvation from Content Clutter

XML, Web services promise relief from inefficient content management processes, consultancy believes

Waltham, MA  January 27, 2003  Enterprise content today is scattered in various formats through multiple "islands of automation," but XML technologies offer the promise of allowing companies to more easily, effectively and profitably use their information assets, according to a new report from a technology consultancy.

In its report, "XML in the Content Lifecycle," ZapThink, an analyst firm focused on XML and Web services, notes that for most enterprises, content management is still encumbered by inefficient processes.

In fact, the consultancy reports that producers of content in the enterprise spend over 60 percent of their time locating, formatting and structuring content and just 40 percent of their time actually creating it.

"Content processes are currently where distributed computing applications were in the mid-1980's," said Ronald Schmelzer, senior analyst at ZapThink. "Content today is frequently out of context, hard to reuse, constantly changing with multiple versions in multiple languages, and insecure."

The consultancy's report examines how current ad-hoc content management processes are moving toward models where content is componentized using XML, and then turned into "services" that are discoverable on the network.

The report concludes that the primary challenge in the enterprise for producers of content is reuse: the ability to integrate content from disparate sources. XML and Web services offer the promise of new efficiencies in all stages of the content lifecycle, which includes content creation, management, distribution, syndication and protection, ZapThink believes. "Content solutions that leverage XML promise to improve the economics of working with content considerably," said Schmelzer.

Given enterprises' need to better manage their information assets, ZapThink suggested that by 2008, about 60 percent of all content lifecycle products will be XML-enabled. The consultancy estimates that the market for XML content lifecycle management solutions will grow from $1.8 billion in 2003 to more than $11.6 billion by 2008.