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Thrifty And Efficient

Car-rental company offers ideas to make a more-useful content-management system
Thrifty Car Rental tries to live up to its name--in part by finding ways to use business technology more effectively. It recently made some suggestions to the vendor of its content-management system that should find their way into new products later this year.

Brad Rosenthal, director of Internet marketing and strategy at Thrifty, uses the Rhythmyx content-management system from Percussion Software Inc. mainly to handle content for Thrifty's Web site and to manage documents and other forms of content.

Brad Rosenthal, director of Internet marketing and strategy at Thrifty convinced Percussion to add prebuilt modules to Rhythmyx.

Rosenthal convinced Percussion to add prebuilt modules to Rhythmyx.
Rhythmyx provides templates to help create certain types of Web pages and to funnel data into those pages. But Rosenthal and his IT staff had to do a lot of HTML coding to modify those pages to serve Thrifty's needs. He convinced Percussion that additional templates and software modules that provide code for things such as making Web pages easier to navigate and publishing content to the Web in alternate formats would help customers. Percussion plans to include those suggestions in FastForward, additions to its content- and document-management systems later this year.

FastForward should eliminate a lot of work, Rosenthal says. "Let's say we had to program and change 15 different templates," he says. "We got that down to two or three, and, with Fast Forward, we wouldn't even have needed to develop those."

It also would have sped deployment. It took Thrifty 100 days to deploy the Rhythmyx enterprise content-management system. FastForward modules "could've diminished our launch time by better than 50%," Rosenthal says.

Fast Forward modules are designed to let customers quickly use Rhythmyx's content-management capabilities to produce and manage a variety of content, including documents, imaging, and Web portals. Deployment requires little training, and Rhythmyx can be tightly integrated with other applications, such as Microsoft Office and Outlook. The new modules will be packaged as part of the Percussion Enterprise CMS suite, priced at $95,000.

Percussion's content-management software is attractive to midsize businesses because high-end competitors offer products that require much more administration, development, and training, which raises overall costs, says Andy Warzecha, an analyst at the Meta Group research firm. He adds: "If a company doesn't need all that robustness, it's just overhead."

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