Why can't I just use a word processing or spreadsheet software program?
These programs only store content as documents. So, the content isn't smart. It doesn't know where it has been duplicated or changed. It doesn't know if it has been delivered to one media channel or more. It is flat content that is time-consuming to find, update, and manage.
With a component content management system, content is intelligent. It knows all about itself and every version of it that ever existed. It knows where it is and where it's been. It knows to whom it's related. It keeps itself accurate. This makes it easy to manage.
Let's look at two scenarios for a technical documentation example. Suppose you produce user guides for 10 models of DVD players. Within these guides, an assembly instruction says, "Plug Part A into Part B." Due to some reported malfunctions, the manufacturing department changes the assembly instruction to: "Plug Part A into Part C. WARNING: If Part A is plugged into Part B, it will cause an electrical shock." You must now update all 10 user guides with this revised instruction.
SCENARIO 1: Content is stored as separate documents in a word processing, spreadsheet, or typesetting program. To make this update, you would have to search 10 different documents and replace the old instruction with the new one. This would require either the manual process of reading each and every user guide to find the instruction, or relying on a "search" command and hoping it found all occurrences of this instruction. But what if one is missed because it was typed differently in one document? It could result in a customer getting injured!
SCENARIO 2: Content is managed in a component content management system. With a component content management system, that instruction would be stored one time in the system and reused in the other nine user guides. So when one instance is updated, the system would flag the nine other instances and make a global change instantaneously in every guide, saving the editor hours of time. This is the power of single sourcing and content reuse in a component content management system!
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