McIlroy--Print Production Managers Must Become Content Managers
But asset management is most valuable when it blossoms to content management, namely technology and processes designed to maintain digital assets in a form where they can be quickly and easily rediscovered and reused. Digital assets have no intrinsic value; they are only as valuable as the times they are used and the purposes for which they're used.
As print media mixes with electronic media on the Web, the opportunities to reuse digital assets has never been greater, nor has the scope and intensity of the demand for them. Thus, the new content manager becomes responsible for the strategies and technologies surrounding the deployment of digital assets into multiple media, maintaining branding while getting the job done on time and on budget.
But, before content management can come into play, creative services and print production managers have to get a handle on their digital workflows. It's my experience that almost everyone in the graphic arts continues to manage by crisis. We work like emergency fire crews in crisis, rushing from one blaze to the next, not quite extinguishing the fire in the high-rise apartment complex before racing to the office tower across the street. There's no time for planning during a crisis.
The reality is that digital workflows can be controlled today. Workflows can be made predictable. Jobs can be submitted via high-speed telecommunications. Digital proofs do work. So does CTP. If print managers don't get a handle on existing workflows, they're never going to find the bandwidth to make the transformation to content managers. And managing dynamic digital content into multiple media is a challenge that's going to make putting ink on paper seem like child's play.
About the Author
Thad McIlroy is a San Francisco-based electronic publishing consultant and author, and serves as program director of Seybold Seminars. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.