When Microsoft's Internet Plaforms and Security marketing director Gary Schare indicated that a misleading typo on Microsoft's Web site (discovered by a ZDNet reader) would be corrected within hours of his reception of my email about the snafu, the first word that came to my mind was "nimble." I thought, here's a vendor that practices what it preaches. When it becomes aware of new information that's highly relevant to its customers, it has the content management systems and business processes in place to move that new information (in this case, a correction) in near real-time to its customer facing systems. In fact, it is this ability to efficiently marry business process to timely knowledge sharing that is one of the chief selling propositions of enterprise content management (ECM) systems from Microsoft, EMC, and many other solution providers.
But, when I woke up this morning to find that the misleading information on its Web site had not yet been corrected, I wondered what is it about Microsoft's business processes or its content management systems (or both) that's turning a 2-minute typo fix into an act of God? As of the publishing of this blog entry (around 11:30 AM ET, the typo still stands uncorrected). Furthermore, how might Microsoft and other vendors who absolutely must eat their own dog food if their pitches are to be believed either (a) heed the same marketing pitches their giving to their customers in the context of selling their solutions or (b) change those pitches to more accurately reflect reality.
Lest you think I'm overstating the situation, consider the following text that I excerpted from an ECM white paper on Microsoft's Web site:
....organizations are looking to ECM solutions to help with the process of authoring and publishing this information to the web without burdening the IT department..... In terms of web content management, the requirements include finding a way for non-technical personnel to take control of web sites within their departments without the need to constantly rely on the IT department....providing easy-to-use authoring tools for creating web content and automating the publishing process encourages business users to embrace ECM and use the web to communicate with their customers...user acceptance will be fastest if users actually recognize the ECM solution as making their personal work life more efficient and streamlined....
....The major goal of Microsoft’s web content management system is to help businesses effectively communicate with employees, partners, and customers, to preserve corporate branding and look and feel, and to put publishing power into the hands of business users. Microsoft’s web content management solution enables organizations to easily manage multiple, multilingual sites and mobile devices content, while ensuring that these sites can be updated in a timely manner...Authoring can be done in the context of the web page giving authors a much better visual experience of the process...Out of the box workflows are available to submit the content for approval before it is published to the web site....A Quick Deploy capability is also enabled which allows authors to immediately move content from staging to production without requiring emergency help from IT. This is particularly useful for content like breaking news which needs to be published immediately....
....Microsoft is assuming a role as a leader in the next generation of integrated user-oriented ECM systems...While Enterprise Content Management may have seemed like a daunting task at first glance, organizations will learn that with an intuitive and scalable solution, ECM can easily become integral to business processes and essential to business success.
Although it seems like I'm singling out or targeting Microsoft for criticism. I'm not. During my many years as a journalist, I've observed how there are plenty of other companies that are guilty of this as well. Today's example simply served as a good one that exemplifies to me how, even if the certain solutions are efficient as their purveyors say they are, organizations might never be ready for that efficiency. When it comes to ECM, we (the press) and probably you have been hearing for years about how advanced and well-tuned to role-based collaborative publishing certain ECM systems are with the idea being that the right people in the right workgroups at the right time can publish or edit the knowledge under their jurisdiction thereby aligning business processes with the organization's need to be nimble and competitive. If vendors don't practice what they preach, is it all talk?