DemoFall 2006: Content management 2.0

At DemoFall 2006, several companies introduced Web-based content management applications that fall under the 2.0 moniker.
Written by Dan Farber, Inactive

At DemoFall 2006, several companies introduced Web-based content management applications that fall under the 2.0 moniker. Koral demoed its freshly minted, on-demand content-management service that leverages the de rigueur Web 2.0 features. The company calls itself a “new kind of business software company--Enterprise 2.0.” 
Many companies are trying to claim the 2.0 pedigree, although precisely what it means is unclear. It is about collaboration and using technologies like AJAX to create more fluid online experiences. Fundamentally, the startups that have a chance to survive will focus on making their Web services more intuitive and people-centric and less about technology or numeric monikers.
Koral seems to have a good start in rethinking content management in a collaborative, wiki context. The enterprise content management market is pegged at $3 billion, and only a small fraction of businesses have invested in the technology, according to Koral CEO Mark Suster.

Traditional folder hierarchies are replaced with tagging and topics, and users can subscribe to feeds by author, content, or tag to be alerted to new content and updated versions of documents. Users can add comments and rate content in the repository. Koral also allows previewing of documents without having to open an application.  The basic service is free, and Koral will charge between $9 and $60 per month for private domains that have more administrative controls, Suster said.
System One introduced a platform that merges collaboration and search, pulling together content from various sources (emails, documents, databases, Web pages) to deliver relevant results. As a query gets refined by adding text, the results are reformulated in real time. Pages are published to journal (blogs), which can be grouped by author, location, group, topic, etc. A timeline displays the history of each page, which can include forms. 
System One has focused attention of a drag and drop, AJAXed user interface. “Large corporate social software can’t get beyond the geeks, and traditional search can’t deal well with information retrieval,” said Bruno Haid, chief strategist for Austria-based System One. The company is also using a semantic Web database, which stores interrelationships rather than traditional database tables.

According to Haid, System One is piloting the software in Europe with BMW and plans to raise funds to enter the U.S. market. Initial subscription fee will be 80 euros per user per month, and an appliance will be available for on premises hosting, Haid said.
Serebrum showed off Axon, another AJAXed wiki-like content management system, and is working with the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation to develop versions that address specifics issues, such as high-level security and requirements management for software development.

MindTouch also demonstrated a wiki-based content management system. Users upload content to be shared in the wiki software to a DekiBox, an appliance that sits on the corporate LAN. In the press release, MindTouch President and CTO Steve Bjorg provides the usual 2.0 verbiage to describe the impact of his product: “At MindTouch, we call it democratization of data. Now businesses can work faster and smarter by harnessing their collective intelligence at a completely new level.” Translation: a wiki is easy to set up and use for collaborative work, and one with AJAX makes the experience more pleasant.

Wiki pioneer Socialtext wasn't as the Demo conference, but the company unveiled this week a revamped user interface, trying to keep lose its geeky interface but maintain its openness and flexibility.

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