What is it?
A centralized system that helps organizations capture, manage, store, preserve, and deliver topic-based content (components), whether the content is proprietary or follows a standard architecture, like DITA.
Why is it important?
A Component Content Management System (CCMS) provides a working environment for content engineers and technical communicators to plan, track, reuse, publish, translate, and control topic-based content assets.
Why does a technical communicator need to know this?
A CCMS is a content management system designed to handle the challenges that come with granular content. It provides adapted ways to find smaller pieces of content using full-text and metadata searches, variables, branches, and so on. It also tracks dependencies, reuse (transclusion) between objects, references to resource files, and content applicability.
A CCMS enables single-sourcing for high-quality, fully-automated, and multi-channel publishing and can manage all content assets included in the final information products, including XML fragments, artwork, lists, videos, and 3D models.
A CCMS provides:
- Centralized Control: concentrates knowledge and enables sharing, swapping, reusing, and reviewing content. It can answer content audit questions such as, who did what, when and why did they do it, on what content did they work, and where was that content delivered.
- Content and Media Enrichment: helps create metadata that facilitate discovery by both CCMS users and information product users.
- Referential Integrity: manages and maintains the links between objects – particularly important when the content is reused in multiple documents, versions, and formats.
- Cross-functional Collaboration: integrates and adapts to the organization’s roles and access needs, facilitating experts’ collaboration in adding and reviewing content.
- Process Management: adapts and enforces the organization’s business rules and processes, including planning, translation monitoring, final processing, and output delivery.
- Process Integration: interfaces with delivery platforms, such as dynamic delivery systems, learning management systems, and other storage sources.
As more organizations shift towards using topic-based content strategies, technical communicators will find themselves working within CCMS environments and appreciating the support provided by such systems.