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When Centralized Makes Sense

Mario Queiroz, VP of content & product data management at HP, explores enterprise content strategy.

Q&A

What was the impetus for HP's ECM initiative?

It started with the merger of HP and Compaq. Both companies had content management systems, but they were fairly fragmented, with a lot of departmental deployments. The project addressed sales and marketing content, including marketing collateral, product content and solutions information created by the business units. We're working with authors across product management and marketing communications (marcom) units, funneling their content into a create-once, use-many approach.

What's the first step in adopting an ECM strategy?

Building a companywide taxonomy is critical for content accuracy and reuse, so early on we set standards for a single marketing product hierarchy. The taxonomy drives our strategy of creating content once and using it many times. We deliver content to internal publishers through a subscription service with a standardized interface, and there's also an interface to the product life cycle and product data management systems that serve the supply chain. If a product description has to appear on an invoice, for example, we want to make sure that it's the same description that's on the Web site.

Why is the one-to-many approach so important?

Without it, we'd have employees in regional markets separately calling up, for example, the marcom people in Boise, Idaho, for information on printing and imaging products. If you start drawing the point-to-point connections between 17 business units and more than 65 localized markets, you quickly get a very complicated environment. With a centralized resource, you can show all your constituents where to go to find the content.

What's the next step toward ECM?

Once you have the taxonomy, you have to describe the "leaves of the tree" by developing standard metadata. This ensures that content doesn't appear twice, even if it resides in different repositories. We exploit inheritance features to automatically apply metadata based on parent-child relationships between documents.

Are you exploiting XML as part of your strategy?

Absolutely. If you don't have documents in a form that makes it easy to pull out chunks, you're going to end up with many, many instances of the same content. We've transformed nearly half of the [1.8 million] documents in our Documentum repository into XML.

How do content translation and localization fit in?

Once you're effectively managing in one master language, you need to replicate the benefits of the infrastructure to all geographies and languages. The [Trados] translation memory technology HP uses is integrated with our content management systems, and we have 10% to 15% of our content flowing through translation and localization.

What can you say about the investment and how the strategy will stand up in HP's reorganization?

We've invested millions, but it has paid off with efficiency gains of about 30% per year. As an example, we're saving $6 million a year just on translation and localization. We've also cut the cost of developing new product content by more than half. The restructuring is about establishing a long-term, competitive cost structure, and creating an efficient ECM infrastructure is one part of that effort.

OUTTAKES

What's your passion? I run, swim, cycle and play tennis every week. I wish I had more time for soccer, a sport I've played since my childhood in Brazil.

What's your favorite place to visit? Beach towns on the northeastern coast of Brazil.

What do you collect? Beer coasters from different parts of the world. I started collecting them when I lived in Germany.