Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Month: February 2005 (Page 3 of 8)

telerik Launches Sitefinity

telerik announced the launch of telerik Sitefinity – a Web Content Management System for ASP.NET that introduces the notion of “100% WYSIWYG” site construction. Featuring telerik r.a.d.controls, the application establishes a environment that enables non-technical business users to build sites, contribute content, and perform workflow tasks in a visual manner. Sitefinity, however, is built with the developer in mind. Its modular architecture and a fully-exposed API enables developers to modify the provided out-of-the-box functionality, reuse existing code from non-CMS driven sites, and add new modules in the form of standard ASP.NET controls. The cornerstone of the environment is a modified version of the r.a.d.designer control, which is responsible for the page layout and content visualization. Layout templates can be created and managed directly from the browser, which eliminates the need for a desktop IDE and file transfer. There are no preview buttons the user workspace is the actual web-site, so that content authoring can be made in-context and on-the-fly. All modifications pass through the approval and publishing stages of the workflow. Sitefinity is offered with a 30-day free trial and 5 commercial licenses, depending on the number of site administrators and the supported database. A server license with unlimited users and unlimited implementations is also available. www.sitefinity.com

Mambo Announces Version 4.5.2

Mambo has released Mambo Version 4.5.2., a significant update to its open source point-and-click website publishing software. This is the first maintenance release on the 4.5.x series and it addresses many usability enhancements, sports many library updates and the addition of the patTemplate templating system. Mambo is released under General Public Licence courtesy of Miro International PTY. Mambo requires a Unix, Windows 2000 or XP server, running Apache 1.3 or above, MySQL 3.23.55 or above, PHP 4.2.1 or above. Users should be browsing the net with Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher, Mozilla 1.7 or higher or FireFox 0.9.3 or higher (Firefox is best supported for Macintosh). You can read more about Mambo and download the latest version of Mambo at www.mamboforge.net, www.miro.com.au.

New Gilbane Report Covers Knowledge Management

We published our lastest report KM as a Framework for Managing Knowledge Assets to subscribers over the weekend. Here is our Intro:

As long-time readers know, “knowledge management” (KM) is a topic we have mostly avoided, especially during the peak of the hype surrounding it in the mid-nineties when even CRT displays were being marketed as “knowledge management solutions”. We also did our best at the time to convince document management vendors that repackaging themselves as KM vendors was a big mistake. Eventually, vendors ended-up adopting the other, more reasonable choice, i.e., “content management”. (For more on this evolution see Vol 8, Num 8: What is Content Management?).

In spite of the mostly negative things we had to say about KM, we did recognize there was a real, identifiable problem that a combination of business practices and processes, with the help of a little technology, could address. In fact, and this was part of the cause of the vendor frenzy, businesses thought of many of their information management problems as knowledge management problems. You can argue that the concept is flawed, but you can’t tell the customer they don’t have a problem.

Today, the idea of KM is much more respectable – there is less hype, and a lot more understanding of the role technology can legitimately play in helping companies better manage their knowledge assets. Contributor Lynda Moulton is one technologist and KM expert that has helped KM become reputable. Her advice in this issue is valuable, current, and hype-free.

Is Sarbanes-Oxley Slowing IT Spending?

Yesterday I wrote about the new AeA
report
on the problems companies are encountering with Sabanes-Oxley Section
404. Another concern raised in the report has to do with innovation and IT
spending.  Quoting from the report …

Instead of taking a principles-based approach, COSO and COBIT provide a super-checklist for all companies, set a cookie-cutter approach for how one must run a business, and they create a limitless necessity to document, document, document, rather than to do, do, do.

The external auditing firms also come in for criticism in the AeA report for
using "cookie-cutter" approaches.  One CFO quoted in the report
complains about armies of auditors in their mid-twenties who know nothing about
business and whose "judgment" is confined to whether or not they can
check off a box on some list.

The fact that Big Four firms are reporting a doubling of auditing revenues,
thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley, invites a cynical view of their situation.  But,
a "big picture" take on the issue needs to consider the risks and
incentives on the auditing side of the problem.  If something does go
wrong, auditors know that shareholders will be coming after them for
damages.  It is hard to see the upside for the auditor in being
"reasonable" and in trying to consider the special circumstances of
smaller companies.  (I am not arguing that the inability to deal with the
special needs of smaller firms is "right" — but simply that the
auditors, too, are constrained by the business and litigious realities
surrounding SOX.)

So … what are the consequences of this "cookie-cutter"
approach?  According to the AeA Report:

A specific example of the damage that this does relates to new IT productivity projects. The only way that U.S. companies successfully can compete with companies based in low-cost countries is to be more efficient. The key to greater efficiency is to invest in new and improved IT and automated systems. Because COSO requires an internal control to be ‘mature’ to be considered effective, it is not practical to implement major new IT systems in the third and fourth fiscal quarters because the control will not be mature.

Ouch!  Is this really happening?  Are readers finding that SOX
Section 404 is turning into a moratorium on IT systems implementation for half
the year?  Send me an email or add a
comment …

MultiCorpora Releases MultiTrans 3.7

MultiCorpora announced toay the release of version 3.7 of MultiTrans, their software based Enterprise Language Management solution. Among other new capabilities, MultiTrans 3.7 delivers a scalable multilingual and multidirectional text repository, a flexible software-based license manager, enhanced project analysis, and an automated text repository update manager. The new multilingual, multidirectional Global Text Repository allows an organization to manage large volumes of content that has been translated into many languages in a single repository. A software-based license manager enables MultiTrans software licenses to be securely activated and transferred between computers with a simple activation code. The new license manager significantly streamlines the deployment and management of licenses for nomadic workers and across distributed workgroups. Enhanced project analysis capabilities provide comprehensive data to support optimal project workflow decisions. Also, automated pre-processing of distributable Project Reference Packages enables external, off-line users to leverage common language assets, improving productivity, consistency and accuracy. The new text repository update manager automatically updates the Global Text Repository with newly completed multilingual content on an ongoing basis. www.multicorpora.com

AeA Hits Section 404

Last week, AeA, the high-tech trade association, released a report titled
"Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404: The ‘Section’ of Unintended Consequences and its Impact on Small
Business
."  Most readers will find that this paper is worth a
look.  The paper argues that:

  • Section 404 is more expensive than anyone anticipated — so much so that
    the costs far outweigh any possible benefits.
  • The Section 404 compliance burden is disproportionately large for smaller
    companies.
  • External auditors are taking a "one size fits all" approach to
    assessing the effectiveness of internal controls.

AeA’ assertions about the impact on small and mid-sized companies are really
striking.  For example …

What became clear during our companies’ discussions on Section 404 is that the cost burden for smaller companies as a percentage of revenue is far greater than for large companies. For multibillion dollar companies, the cost may run at approximately 0.05 percent of revenue, but
for small companies with revenues below $20 million, the costs can rapidly approach three percent of revenue.

This is a striking number.  I have no idea how precisely accurate these
results are — but the general thrust of the argument seems plausible: Smaller
companies typically start with less in the way of sophisticated internal control
systems, and the costs of creating such systems must come out of a
proportionately smaller pool of revenue.

Does this report match up with experiences that any of you are having? Send email
or post a comment …

Snowbound Software Offers Text Extraction for Content Aggregation

Snowbound Software introduced several enhanced options for its RasterMaster Imaging SDK to help streamline content aggregation processes. By enabling content from Microsoft Word, AFP, and PCL files to be batch extracted developers can create content aggregation tools for asset and content management applications. After the text and formatting data is extracted from Microsoft Word, AFP, or PCL files, the data streams can be imported directly into a variety of databases. The content can then be repurposed for publishing, archiving, or searching. The options are available for the Windows platform including Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, and Server 2003, and will soon be available for the Java Platform. www.snowbound.com

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