My last few columns have discussed the interaction manager – a central system that coordinates contacts with customers across independent touchpoints. The key role of the interaction manager is to make decisions about how to respond to a specific situation. However, these decisions must be translated into specific content before they can be presented to a customer. Handling this efficiently is one of major challenges in the interaction management process.

The form of the content depends on the touchpoint system – it may be an HTML page, telemarketing script, direct mail letter, WAP message, and so on. Content for each touchpoint is usually created and managed independently, either in the touchpoint system itself or in a specialized system such as a Web page development tool. The interaction manager itself rarely performs this function, although a few systems do manage e-mail messages internally for user convenience. Content management is a demanding operational process with extensive requirements for text and graphic manipulation, version control, authorizations, work flow, controlled deployment, staging, expiration dates, geographic and other distribution constraints, security and other functions.

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