Blogs and wikis are fast becoming corporate status symbols, but are you aware of the risks of unfiltered and unsecured content and lightweight tools that aren't designed for enterprise use? Next week, Stellent will unveil new templates and capabilities for managing blogs, wikis and Really Simple Syndication (RSS) within its Universal Content Management platform. The enhancements are designed to give users the look, feel and ad hoc immediacy of these chic Web environments while also ensuring content security, reusability and auditability.
Blogs have much in common with threaded discussions, but they usually take the form of online journals published by an individual or a small group of contributors. Corporate and sales executives are taking to blogs to motivate and keep staff informed and to seek input from employees or customers. But in the Wild West atmosphere of blogging, authors have been known to let financial details and trade secrets slip and unfiltered comments from readers have frequently turned into a source of embarrassment.
Wikis are online knowledgebases typically managed by experts, but they're broadly open to collective authoring and collaboration through simple linking methods and commenting GUIs. Project teams, IT, marketing and sales staffs, and researchers are launching corporate wikis to gather intelligence and best practices. But the danger of using standalone tools is that wikis will become islands of information that can't be easily integrated, searched or reused for the benefit of the broader organization.
"As blogs and wikis flourish, in many ways we're back to where we were five years ago with a mess of unmanaged intranets and Web sites cropping up all over the enterprise built on disparate technologies," says Dan Ryan, Stellent's executive vice president. "If you're going to use these tools, why wouldn't you want to use security models, the records management capabilities, the workflow models — all the things that you already have built into a content management system?"
Managed within Stellent's ECM platform, blogs and wikis can be integrated with LDAP, Active Directory or single-sign-on capabilities, and contributors, reviewers and administrators have assigned permissions and privileges. The blogs and wikis also gain the full-text search, metadata indexing, brand consistency and content reuse features built into the ECM platform. Content is authored and managed in Stellent's Site Studio environment, which provides workflow, tracking and auditing. Templates developed specifically for blogging display short posts in reverse chronological order. Authors post their comments and opinions directly in forms, or they can drag and drop Word files directly into the workflow.
To support wikis, Stellent has implemented the familiar double bracket ("[[ ]]") linking approach that lets contributors automatically create new links and pages. Each wiki entry is managed and tracked with its own history and related discussions. Site Studio's workflow features can be used to send blog posts and wiki submissions to editors and approvers for review before publication.
Stellent already supports RSS, but new capabilities include automatic feed creation and personalization settings. In corporate settings, RSS is displacing e-mail as a way to subscribe to newsletters, alerts and reports. Users are also creating feeds for "my saved queries" or "my checked out items," and content approvers can subscribe to their own workflow inbox so they can review new content within their favorite RSS reader or a familiar environment such as a browser or Microsoft Outlook equipped with an RSS plug in.