There are many reasons why a component structured content management (SCM) system is superior to using a Microsoft Word document for managing your Company Core Data Sheet (CDS or CCDS). We touched upon some of the reasons in our previous blog post, The CDS is Dead! Long Live the CDS!

In essence, we said that the CDS functions more like a database than a document. Pharma companies are better served by managing the CDS as an information repository than as a Word file or other document.

A word processor is simply not suited to be a repository. Nor does it have the necessary features that we need for creating, managing, and delivering pharma content.

What are those necessary features? We’re so glad you asked.

Ten Key Features of an SCM for Your CDS

A component SCM enables pharma companies to create accurate content quickly while providing the detailed level of traceability unique to highly regulated content.

Here are ten key features that are of particular relevance to pharma content.

1. Single source of truth

Using a component-based repository ensures that there is one, and only one, instance of the component. That means any changes made to the component are automatically reflected everywhere that component is reused. When you update the information in the CDS, you automatically update the information in all labels that reuse that information.

2. Version control

The SCM keeps a full version history of each component and document. Each version includes tracking information such as when a change was made, who made the change, and all the documents affected by the change. You can see what any component or document contained at any time in its history. The lead author managing the USPI can easily see when the CDS component was updated and by whom. The level of traceability available in a component SCM surpasses that of a word processor or document management system.

3. Planned content reuse

The SCM enables you to pre-populate reused content across a wide set of documents. Planned reuse from the CDS across the global labeling documents dramatically reduces the time it takes to produce the labels and the cost of translating those labels. The common content across labels automatically updates when the CDS component is written.

4. Ad-hoc content reuse

Ad-hoc content reuse allows authors to add reused content wherever they need it. Your content strategy guides when and how authors reuse content even though ad-hoc reuse is not programmed into the SCM ahead of time.

5. Granular content reuse

A robust SCM offers planned and ad-hoc content reuse at many levels of granularity. You can reuse entire sections, single components, individual paragraphs, standardized sentences, and even nest a full document into another document.

6. Data integration

The SCM supports data integration through variables, which act as placeholders within the content. Variables can be replaced with data or text values through automated information retrieval from another system and through manual upload of variable values. Variables can stand in for text such as product names and for data values such as the number of patients who experienced an adverse event during a clinical trial.

7. Findability

The SCM organizes components and documents to make information easier for authors to find quickly. A typical SCM includes features such as folders or directory trees, taxonomy categories, metadata, and even keywords.

8. Automated updating

A single source of truth — one component — is easier and more efficient to create, maintain, and manage. Reusing components means that any updates can automatically propagate to all documents that need the update.

9. Automated formatting

A component SCM separates content from formatting. You can publish the same content to many layouts and file formats. Differences in the look and feel of regional labeling requirements are handled automatically by stylesheets and output templates. You can produce content for print, desktop, web, smartphone, and even a mobile app from the same components.

10. Component management

The SCM keeps track of where each component is used, so you know, without guessing, which documents need to be republished when you make a change. It also enables you to tag components with metadata to support automated content inclusion/exclusion, operations and workflows, data retrieval, personalized content delivery, and other business processes.

A Structured Content Ecosystem for Your CDS

An enterprise SCM provides a lot more functionality than the key features we have highlighted in this post. It provides access controls to protect sensitive content, full traceability of everything that happens to content, search and browse navigation, and an authoring interface for content creation and review. It integrates business workflow with content lifecycle management from creation through archiving.

The leading enterprise SCM systems also integrate translation management, providing all the same features for localized content as they do for the source content. For global labeling, translation management is often the driving factor for companies moving away from word processing into structured content management.

Word is not the optimum tool for managing CDS information. A component SCM provides the path forward to producing global labeling content at scale.

Content Rules, Inc. is one of the oldest and most established content strategy firms in the industry. Our content transformation methodology has been proven in life sciences over the past 20 years. Our content strategists are experienced with the unique challenges of pharma content, as well as the common content challenges that all enterprises face. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you solve your content challenges.

Val Swisher
Latest posts by Val Swisher (see all)