That doesn't mean Vasont skimps on any of the usual duties of a content manager. It can store and organize data, especially data meant for publication, so that anyone in your organization can access, edit and work with it. It can break down data into useful categories and subcategories.
But while that might be the sole function of other content managers, it's just the launch pad for Vasont. With Vasont, you can repurpose your material in any way you'd like, with little effort, getting new life out of existing materials. And you can even use it to organize data that's required by several different departments, and to automate internal processes that direct people to work on that data. That makes it more than a content management system. That makes it an excellent organizational tool for intranets.
PIT, the creator of Vasont, started long before the days of content management systems. In fact, PIT began as a hot metal typesetter, before computers and printers automated such things. It got into the software business in 1992, when a frustrated customer needed a way to organize and repurpose content.
If the name "Vasont" doesn't sound familiar, perhaps you've heard of the product as TARGET 2000, its original name (which became a bit dated with the changing of the millennium). The key to the success of Vasont (and TARGET 2000) is its tag neutral organization. Content is stored in a pure state that is unassociated with any specific content type. Thus, you might have a database of recipes, ingredients, and nutritional information in Vasont, and that information will can be used to build other recipes, but the information chunks themselves aren't associated with any particular format. They're not DOC pages or HTML files, but could be converted into those types and many more. PIT understood the value of being tag neutral long before XML was a hot topic. It's why, when you've got a collection of information stored in Vasont, you can repurpose that information into a book, Web site, internal resource center, or anything else.
To judge a product, look at what its clients are saying. Publishing heavyweight McGraw-Hill turned to Vasont when its education division needed a cross-publishing solution. McGraw-Hill was looking for an efficient way to repurpose information from its Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. It had been storing files for the text and CD-ROM editions separately, which meant twice the work for editors and designers working with the content. Besides that, the company planned to create a Web site out of the same information, which would mean another set of data, charts, and pictures, in yet another format.
What McGraw-Hill needed was a way to store the information once and access it in any format. After reviewing different solutions, it chose Vasont. Roger Kasunic, Vice President of Editorial, Design, and Production at McGraw-Hill says, "When we reviewed Vasont, we immediately knew that it was the best system for our needs. Vasont is probably the only content management system developed by people who truly understand the editorial process."
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) also turned to Vasont with a thorny content problem. The needs of the ASHP are more urgent than those of traditional publishers, because the organization needs to deliver timely medical updates to its 31,000 member pharmacists, who in turn service the health needs of millions of Americans. The ASHP found that it couldn't meet the expectations of its members with its usual editorial schedule, so it evaluated six content management solutions and finally chose Vasont.
"We selected Vasont because its capabilities allowed us to manage content within the context of our new challenges-saving us staff time and money while strengthening our customer relationships," said Carol Wolfe, Vice President of ASHP's Publications and Drug Information Systems Office. With it's new system, the ASHP has been able to produce new titles in only six weeks, including a book on drugs to counter bioterrorism.
That's fine, you might be thinking, but what do publishing solutions matter to a corporate intranet? Well, if you've got a marketing team that's forever spending time recreating documents or other materials they used before, Vasont is an ideal way to make sure those elements both text or graphics are logged into a system so they can be repurposed. Vasont features a flexible API, so that the client interface can be customized in different ways. It also has an optional browser front-end, so that team members who might be scared away from the desktop app, or who use a Macintosh (Vasont runs on Windows PCs only) can still take part.
While many use Vasont for publishing, it could easily be used for its organizational abilities alone. It provides an ideal way to create a central database of information that could be shared between departments. For example, your HR team might have employee data that managers across several departments need to access. Vasont gives you a secure way to do that, since any level of access in Vasont can be restricted to only select users.
Vasont can be purchased, leased, or rented from PIT. If rented, PIT runs the software from its own servers at its own offices, so nothing needs to be run on your own systems.
Version 8, Hot and Fresh
PIT announced, as we were finishing up this article, that Vasont 8.0 will be released in February, 2003. The new version promises to be even more useful, with multi-language translation management (which allows branch offices to work from the same resources, without a language barrier) and 30 new processing options (processing options are built-in customizations, which allow Vasont to be tailored more strongly to your company's style and workflow). Other improvements make it easier to publish content in different formats and allow for multi-threading for higher productivity.