What CCMS Will Make Your Digital Products Work Best?

ClickHelp
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Published in
10 min readApr 10, 2024

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by ClickHelp — professional help authoring tool

Selecting a Component Content Management System (CCMS) is a crucial choice that will affect the operations of content administration, management, and publishing processes. The key factor to consider when choosing a CCMS is the capabilities of the system. Look for a CCMS that offers robust authoring and content management features, such as version control, content reuse, structured content support (like DITA), and the capacity to handle various content types (text, images, videos, etc.).

Another factor is integration with existing tools and systems. Consider how well the CCMS integrates with your existing tools and systems, such as content management systems, translation management software, workflow automation tools, and publishing platforms.

Whichever system you choose, it should combine the features essential for your digital products. This blog will show you the diversity of existing CCMSs and outline their features so that you can make an informed choice about a CCMS based on this information.

What Stands Behind Structured, Unstructured, and Partially Structured Systems in Content Management?

Structured, Unstructured, and Partially Structured Systems in Content Management refer to different approaches for organizing and managing information within a content management system (CMS).

There is no strict difference between structured, unstructured, and partially structured CMS, as the lines between the three types of content management systems can often be blurred. However, there are some general distinctions that can be made.

A structured CMS refers to a system in which content is organized and classified using a specific and predefined structure. This can include categories, tags, metadata, and other taxonomies that help to impose consistency and order on the content within the system.

Taxonomy in a structured CMS refers to the classification and categorization of content within the system, making content easier to manage and retrieve. It involves creating a system of hierarchical and organized categories, tags, and metadata that help to classify and organize content in a logical and efficient manner. This allows for easier sorting, searching, and retrieval of content, as well as the ability to create relationships and associations between different pieces of content. Taxonomy in structured CMS helps to improve the overall usability and findability of content within the system.

An unstructured CMS, on the other hand, allows for more flexibility in terms of content organization. Content is not constrained by predefined structures and can be created and stored in a more freeform manner. This can be more conducive to creativity and organic content creation but may also lead to inconsistencies and make content management more challenging.

A partially structured CMS falls somewhere between the two extremes. It includes some elements of structured content organization but also allows for a certain degree of flexibility and adaptability in content creation and management.

Ultimately, the choice between structured, unstructured, and partially structured CMS depends on the specific needs and goals of the organization or individual using the system. While some people value consistency and control above everything else, others can value adaptability and creativity.

Let’s now examine and contrast the three types of systems in more detail.

Structured Systems

The term ‘structured systems’ refers to content organized in a highly organized and predefined manner, typically using a database or other method with strict rules for data entry and storage. This includes fields, categories, and metadata that are well-defined and provide a clear framework for organizing and retrieving information. Structured systems are common in traditional database-driven content management systems.

DITA, or Darwin Information Typing Architecture, is an XML-based architecture for creating and managing structured content. It is commonly used in Content Management Systems (CMS) to organize and standardize information so that it can be easily repurposed and published across different platforms and channels. DITA allows for the creation of modular, topic-based content that can be reused and tailored for specific audiences, making it an effective tool for managing and delivering complex documentation. DITA is designed to help organizations manage large amounts of content, including technical documentation, training materials, and other types of information.

Structured Content Management Systems ( SCMS) can be used by various groups of users:

  • Content creators and editors. These individuals are responsible for creating, editing, and managing the content within the SCMS. This may include writers, editors, and other content contributors.
  • Technical documentation teams. SCMS can be used to manage and publish technical documentation, such as user manuals, product guides, and API documentation.
  • Web developers and designers. SCMS can be used to manage and publish website content, including text, images, and multimedia elements.
  • Compliance and legal teams. SCMS can be used to manage and track compliance documents, legal disclaimers, and other important regulatory content.
  • Project managers and administrators. These individuals may use SCMS to oversee content workflows, assign tasks, and track project progress.
  • Content consumers. While not directly involved in the management of the system, content consumers are the end users who benefit from the organized, easily accessible content provided by SCMS. This could include website visitors, customers, and internal stakeholders.

Summing up, structured CMS are designed to help organizations efficiently create, organize, and manage content in a way that makes it easy to maintain consistency, reuse content elements, and deliver personalized experiences to their audiences.

Unstructured Systems

In contrast to structured CMS, unstructured systems entail content that is not organized according to a specific predefined model. It often includes free-form text, images, and multimedia with less rigid organization. Examples include documents, emails, and social media posts. Unstructured systems require more advanced retrieval methods, such as natural language processing and machine learning, to extract and organize information.

Unstructured content management systems are software solutions that help organizations manage and store unstructured data, such as text documents, images, videos, and audio files. These systems typically allow users to organize, store, and retrieve unstructured content in a structured and searchable manner. They often include features such as document version control, metadata tagging, search capabilities, and security permissions to ensure that content is managed effectively and securely. These systems are particularly useful for organizations that deal with a large volume of unstructured content and need to manage it efficiently.

The bright examples of unstructured CMS are:

  • Microsoft Word. A widely-used word processing software that facilitates the creation and management of unstructured content in documents.
  • Dropbox. A cloud-based file storage and sharing service that allows for the management of unstructured content such as documents, images, and videos.
  • Google Drive. Another cloud storage service that offers unstructured content management with the ability to store, organize, and share files of various formats.
  • Evernote. A note-taking app that allows for the management of unstructured content such as text notes, images, and web clippings.

The users of unstructured CMS include individuals, businesses, organizations, and government agencies that need to manage and organize large volumes of unstructured data. This can include documents, images, videos, audio files, and other forms of digital content. Additionally, content creators, editors, compliance managers, and IT professionals may also be users of unstructured CMS.

Partially Structured Systems

Partially structured systems lie between the two extremes, with some elements of organization or classification coupled with more flexible or unstructured components. For instance, a system may have defined fields for certain metadata while allowing for free-form text. This approach provides a balance between the rigid structure of fully structured systems and the flexibility of unstructured systems.

Partially structured content management systems are systems that allow for a combination of both structured and unstructured data management. These systems provide a framework for organizing and categorizing content, but also allow for flexibility and customization in how that content is handled. This can be particularly useful for managing complex or diverse types of content, as it allows for a balance between standardization and flexibility in organizing and managing data.

Examples of partially structured content management systems include:

  • ClickHelp provides users with a partially structured system for content creation and management. Combining structured authoring with the flexibility to incorporate unstructured content elements.
  • Drupal. A popular open-source CMS that allows for flexible content modeling with a combination of structured and unstructured data.
  • WordPress. While primarily known for managing unstructured content, WordPress can also be extended with plugins to manage structured content in a partially structured way.
  • Adobe Experience Manager. A robust CMS that enables organizations to create, manage, and optimize digital customer experiences across various channels. It offers a degree of flexibility in managing structured content.
  • Contentful. A CMS that allows for structured content modeling and flexible content delivery, enabling content to be used across various digital channels.

Each type of system has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice of system largely depends on the nature of the content being managed and the requirements for organizing and accessing that content.

What CMS to Choose — Structured, Unstructured or Partially Structured?

The choice of CMS ultimately depends on the specific needs and content requirements of your organization. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Unstructured CMS. Choose an unstructured CMS if your content primarily consists of articles, blog posts, and other types of free-form content. Examples include WordPress, Ghost, and Medium. Unstructured CMSs are more suitable for content that doesn’t require a rigid schema.
  • Structured CMS. If your content is highly structured and has specific data requirements, such as product catalogs, reference materials, or scientific data, a structured CMS like Pimcore or Magnolia may be more suitable.
  • Partially Structured CMS. If your content has elements of both structured and unstructured data, a partially structured CMS may be the best fit. Such systems offer flexibility in content modeling, allowing you to define structured data fields while also supporting unstructured content.

Consider the nature of your content, the level of flexibility needed, integration requirements, scalability, and the technical expertise available within your organization when making a decision. It’s important to thoroughly assess your specific content management needs before selecting the appropriate CMS. If you need to transition from an unstructured system to a structured one, consider first exploring partially structured systems. These systems offer a balance between the flexibility of unstructured content creation and the organization benefits of structured content management, providing a smoother transition for your organization.

Why Is ClickHelp a Top Choice When Migrating From MS Word?

ClickHelp is an online content management platform that can be the right choice when transferring content from MS Word. It is a web-based tool that allows for easy editing, collaboration, and management of documentation. With its user-friendly interface and built-in features for authoring, publishing, and distribution, ClickHelp is an ideal choice for creating and maintaining documentation in a seamless and efficient manner.

There are several reasons for choosing ClickHelp when transferring documentation from Word:

  • Seamless import process. ClickHelp allows for easy import of Word documents, preserving the document’s formatting, styles, and structure. This makes the transition from Word to ClickHelp smooth and effortless.
  • Centralized management. ClickHelp provides a centralized platform for documentation management, allowing for easy access, collaboration, and version control. This ensures that all documentation is organized and up-to-date.
  • Multi-channel publishing. ClickHelp supports multi-channel publishing, allowing documentation to be exported to various formats such as HTML, PDF, and CHM. This makes it easy to distribute documentation across different platforms and devices.
  • Collaboration features. ClickHelp offers collaborative features that enable multiple users to work on documentation simultaneously, track changes, and manage review processes. This fosters teamwork and ensures the accuracy and quality of the documentation.
  • Customization options. ClickHelp provides customizable templates, branding options, and style guides, allowing organizations to maintain a consistent and professional look across all documentation.
  • User-friendly interface. ClickHelp provides a user-friendly and intuitive interface that makes it easy for individuals to manage and update their content without requiring technical expertise.

Overall, ClickHelp streamlines the process of migrating from Word by providing a user-friendly interface, robust features, and efficient tools for creating, managing, and publishing documentation.

Conclusion

Choosing a CCMS depends on your specific requirements. When evaluating CCMS options, consider your content diversity, organization needs, and future scalability to help make your decision. It is also important to consider factors such as the level of customization and integration required, the ease of use for content creators and editors, and the overall performance of the platform.

It may also be helpful to seek input from stakeholders within your organization and to conduct a thorough evaluation of each platform’s features, capabilities, and support options before making a decision. Take the time to thoroughly research and test different options to ensure that the chosen CCMS will effectively support and enhance your digital products.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

Originally published at https://clickhelp.com.

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ClickHelp
Level Up!

ClickHelp - online documentation tool for technical writers and teams. Check it out: https://clickhelp.com/