How do you define a CCMS?
It is interesting to witness the development of the CCMS market, as it is predicted to continue a steep growth path, which is not that surprising considering that the sector is still in its relative infancy. In fact, The global Component Content Management Systems market was valued at USD 222.41 million in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.42% by 2027. In addition, several studies indicate that the CCMS market will become a 6+ billion-dollar Global industry over the next 6 years. There is also a strong trend toward the increased adoption of the DITA standard, being driven by gains in content quality, as well as time and cost reductions through content reuse and improved customer engagement.
There is no denying that the CCMS market is on the uptick, and so is the popularity of the DITA standard. Now before we get into the features that make up a true enterprise-class CCMS, we have to ask ourselves, what are we trying to accomplish? What kind of challenges are we attempting to overcome? Also, why is DITA support important? It all boils down to saving time and money at work, and depending on your role in the team, you may see benefits others do not. First, let’s define a CCMS.
What is a CCMS?
For those who may be relatively new to the CCMS market, the selection of content management-related solutions can seem difficult to navigate. In fact, we wrote a blog article a while back that covers the differences perfectly – check it out here: https://www.ixiasoft.com/types-of-content-management-systems/.
A Component Content Management System enables the creation and organization of content at a component level. A component can be a topic, a single idea, word, or phrase that’s capable of being used in multiple contexts. Basically, a component is written in a way to convey an idea but avoids contextual dependence as much as possible.
A crucial aspect of any enterprise-class CCMS is the ability to bring collaborators together on the same topic, across geographic or department divisions. Without a CCMS, consider how you organize files on your PC: For a particular batch of content for a set of products, you likely have multiple folders in different formats to keep everything together. And you likely have various versions of these files, with lots of redundancies.
And no matter how organized the files on your computer are, your team can’t access them. In addition, projects can get derailed when multiple contributors make multiple updates to multiple versions of a single product’s documentation.
The CCMS was designed to move the collaborative review process online, so everyone works from the same centrally located piece of content. This single-source-of-truth model eliminates the issue of people working on recently redundant versions of the same content.
DITA lends its own features to the CCMS value proposition, such as in the use of topics, discussed above at high-level, and represented by individual XML files and other key features.
Why does DITA matter?
DITA is an OASIS Open standard first published in 2005 and last updated in 2015 with the publication of version 1.3. The DITA architecture was originally developed inside IBM for IBM technical publications, especially Web-based content, and donated to OASIS Open in 2004.
It provides architectural features for content modularity, content reuse, and controlled extension of document vocabularies in a way that ensures interoperability of DITA documents.
DITA categorizes important business information by an information type called topics, which in turn enables increased reuse opportunities as topics can be updated and added independently of the larger document. This also helps the authors publish updated information in a uniform fashion.
Here is a partial list of DITA features that help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of authors and contributors:
This feature ensures consistent documentation and reduces the effort and time required to generate and update content. The value with reuse is the ability to use a single topic across multiple publications.
DITA maps are documents for organizing topics and other resources into a structured collection of information. They specify hierarchy and relationships among the topics and support the definition of non-hierarchical relationships, such as groups. Common use cases for maps include defining your information architecture, defining topics, and other elements such as navigation and links.
DITA features a number of metadata elements and attributes, both at the topic level and within elements, facilitating the reuse of topics in various DITA maps and use-specific contexts.
Defining what matters in a CCMS
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, some of the basic design features listed here are foundational to an efficient CCMS that saves you and your team time.
- Collaborative Review
In Collaborative Review, contributors and reviewers don’t directly edit the content. Instead, they comment or “annotate” what’s there. This way, a subject matter expert can go through the content they have been asked to review, and comment on anything they want changed or added. Because the feedback is imported directly into IXIASOFT CCMS, there is no need to dig through PDFs to find a comment, and search the CCMS to find the corresponding topic.
- Branching & Merging
It’s important to have support for multiple branching and merging structures, since product delivery itself can follow several methodologies, and the accompanying documentation should be just as dynamic. Think of this feature as release management for your documentation.
- Workflow & Automation
Making sure your publication process follows a specific business flow is another key feature in a CCMS, making it easy for authors to find content for reuse, and route it to editors, subject matter experts, and other reviewers prior to publication.
The DITA standard and CCMS applications are made for each other, and the advantages of working with structured, modular content are clear, adding up to increased efficiency in publishing documentation.
For more information on the DITA standard, and best in class CCMS features to help with your documentation challenges, you can refer to the open source community – https://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=dita or, to our own experts – some of whom sit on the OASIS DITA technical Committee: https://www.ixiasoft.com/why-ixiasoft/what-is-dita/.
Stay tuned as we continue on this topic in future blog articles, and download our CCMS Data Sheet in the meantime.
For a more personalized conversation about your CCMS needs, contact us.
Marketing Director at IXIASOFT
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