REVIEWER: Mike Wenzlaff, Web architect for BC Hydro.
BACKGROUND: BC Hydro provides high-value, reliable power to fuel economic growth in British Columbia. BC Hydro serves more than 1.6 million customers in an area containing more than 94 percent of British Columbia's population. BC Hydro has constructed a world-class integrated hydroelectric system of nearly 11,500 megawatts of generating capacity, more than 87 percent of which is hydroelectric.
PLATFORMS: Rhythmyx Server: Sun Solaris. Database: MS SQL Server 2000. Web environment: SUN E250, Tomcat and Iplanet. Output formats: HTML, database.
PROBLEM SOLVED: BC Hydro decided to evaluate and select a content management system (CMS) because of the rapidly growing body of sophisticated content we were trying to manage both on our Internet Web site and our employee intranet. BC Hydro also needed to implement template-based designs and increase the overall efficiency of our online publishing.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We can manage much more content more easily since we implemented Rhythmyx 5 Enterprise Content Management (ECM). Our mission is to generate and deliver electricity in an economical, environmentally friendly, safe and socially responsible way. As such, we maintain more than 5,000 content items that our customers can access. These items include HTML, PDFs, images and public information on all sorts of topics. The content ranges from regulatory information to energy efficiency (Power Smart) tips to customer service to business resources. There are more than 1,500 PDFs of regulatory items alone. We also maintain a large internal knowledgebase of customer service information, called "Genius." It contains information that is accessed by hundreds of employees. Before Rhythmyx, managing content required a full-time person, but now it requires approximately a quarter of that time. As our use of Rhythmyx grew, we realized that our Web developers could become Rhythmyx administrators. Support and general contribution of content could be passed down to content owners with little or no HTML experience. Sites no longer require full-time management, and administrators can now look after multiple areas and support end users. Before Rhythmyx, we had two people supporting just 2,000 to 3,000 content items. Now, with Rhythmyx, we have just one to two people to support more than 13,000 items. The ROI on Rhythmyx has been our ability to get much higher productivity from the same - or lower - head count.
STRENGTHS: Rhythmyx requires very little training for our nontechnical employees and makes it very easy for them to reuse content. With Rhythmyx's new Content Explorer, the learning curve is now only 30 minutes plus two to three days of using it for an hour or two per day. As for content reuse, now, when it's time to present it with a new look and feel, we just create a new design template and the content is republished in a matter of minutes or hours versus days or weeks required in the past.
WEAKNESSES: The weakness with Rhythmyx early on was the large learning curve required for developers to understand the setup and development of content types in the system. In 2002, Percussion's new workbench tool allowed our developers to more easily set up new content areas without needing to go into XML.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Our major evaluation criteria included ease of use for end users with little or no technical background, system flexibility, cost-effectiveness, system adherence to open standards, and ease of content reuse and ongoing maintenance.
DELIVERABLES: On the Internet side, Rhythmyx produces content that includes policies, consumer Q&As, regulatory information, conservation tips, and sales and service information in either HTML or PDF format. Images are also published through Rhythmyx. On the intranet side, we've had content such as energy-saving light bulb give-away events that publish to our intranet, Internet and IVR system database. We also have thousands of news stories that cover both employee news and news stories sourced from automated news feeds.
VENDOR SUPPORT: We're very happy with the evolution of the product over the past four years and the way that Percussion has supported us.
DOCUMENTATION: Percussion supplies great Rhythmyx documentation, which includes step-by-step instructions on almost all of the features.
Rhythmyx 5 Enterprise Content Management System
Percussion Software, Inc.
600 Unicorn Park Drive
Woburn, MA 01801
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