From Content Collaboration to Content Services

3D illustration of a compass over black background with the text tailored solutions written in red. Made-to-measure services concept.

Syncplicity has long been known as a leading Content Collaboration solution. In the last few quarters, several key capabilities have been added to transform Syncplicity into a compelling Content Services solution, such as the AMPLIFY™ Content Services to meet the expanded data and content requirements of organizations.

Structuring your content

Content Collaboration solutions provide content access and collaboration capabilities to end-users, who need a structured view of their content, and who require a way to navigate and organize their content.

Traditionally, the primary way of achieving this has been to store content in a hierarchy of folders that can be accessed from a web UI, desktop, or mobile device, and where users find what they need by navigating the hierarchy.

Content Management on the other hand doesn’t generally store content in folders, but applies metadata to each item of content, and allows users to navigate and find content based on that metadata.

To understand this, have a look at your favorite e-commerce site: the same articles show up in multiple places (e.g. “gifts for kids”, “t-shirts”, “clothing”, “special offers”, “top deals” etc.) You don’t need to understand where the content is stored, nor do you need to drill down into a complex folder hierarchy. Each item of content has multiple metadata tags to describe it, and these tags are primarily what is used to retrieve content.

The same concept applies to business-related documents in a Content Management solution: metadata tags allow the content to be classified and accessed in different ways depending on the need of the business.

For example, an organization could easily retrieve all documents for a specific customer by selecting all documents where the customer metadata tag is set to the required value.

Content Services solutions provide the best of both worlds. They still offer content collaboration capabilities to allow end-users to file away content, store it in folders, and work with it collaboratively, but they also allow metadata tags to be set to provide Content Management type classification and access.

Tagging content in AMPLIFY Content Services

For some time now Syncplicity has allowed end-users to tag content in the web user interface. These user-defined tags can be searched upon and are a great way to allow end-users to provide specific words relating to specific content.

Tags can be set and removed by users with editor rights and can be viewed and used by all users with read access to the folder. Each document (or folder) can have up to 10 user-defined tags set.

However, these user-defined tags are very much unstructured, and there are no rules to define the values that can be entered. This means they don’t provide the structured metadata required for a true content services solution. Structured metadata requires the organization to be able to specify key-value pairs for the content.

In the e-commerce example above, this might mean color=red; price=$10; size=12; sleeves=short. And in a typical business scenario this might mean setting values for a document such as office=Chicago; customer=A433; doc-type=proposal, etc.

The organization needs to specify the standard key values, and end-users (if allowed at all) should only be able to specify the values.

In the recent release of AMPLIFY Content Services, we introduce the possibility of specifying metadata tags for folders and documents, consisting of a key-value pair.

This functionality is not available via the web user interface but is accessible programmatically through the REST API. An example of setting metadata tags in Python is shown here:

Via the API, tags can be read, added, updated, or removed, both for files and folders. There is no limit to the number of metadata tags that can be set for each element, though there is a limitation of ten tags that can be set per API call.

Wide range of additional use cases

Providing this metadata capability opens up the solution to several additional use-cases, and allows organizations to meet all of their enterprise content storage needs.

  • Consumer portals: many organizations are in the process of implementing consumer-type portals, to allow employees to easily exchange documents with their customers. The metadata tags functionality in Syncplicity includes the ability to specify which metadata values need to be entered when a document is added, and ensure consistency and completeness across all documents.

For example, if a consumer uploads their ID document, by tagging the document with the customer ID and the document type, it ensures the organization can easily track that the document has been submitted, and retrieve the required document, irrespective of the name of the file.

  • Platform integration: Axway’s Enterprise Integration Platform allows companies to meet all of their integration needs. When building complete integration solutions there is often a need to upload or download specific documents. The Content Services functionality, accessible via prebuilt connectors, provides out of the box functionality to store and tag content, making it easily accessible by other applications or employees.
  • Application integration: any application which requires associated content storage, such as CRM applications, HR applications, etc. can leverage the storage capabilities of Syncplicity. The metadata tags allow organizations to structure the metadata for each of these applications and ensure content can be searched on and used appropriately within the application.
  • Process integration: business process and case management solutions often require some document-related activity. For example, a custom document approval process might require multiple approval steps. The custom metadata tags allow a simple way of tracking the approval status of documents and providing users with lists of documents for which they need to take action.
  • New UI capabilities: the metadata tags also allow organizations to create different views of their content. Using a combination of the search capabilities and the metadata tags, specific UIs can be created to show information for a specific office, project, customer, etc. Employees with necessary rights can still access content via the folder structure, but these new UIs open up a new way of working with the enterprise content and allow companies to get additional value from their content.

Conclusion

Syncplicity remains a rich collaborative solution to meet the business users’ content access and internal and external sharing needs.

The recently released metadata tags open up the solution to a host of new capabilities and use-cases and expanding on the original value of Syncplicity to further develop what we call AMPLIFY Content Services.

Read more about Syncplicity REST APIs.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here