Staying in touch is a constant challenge for sales and marketing professionals. With sales teams spread across multiple time zones and marketing staffs often coping with short project deadlines, taking time out to be available for conference calls, much less to compile an entire corporate newsletter, can be tough.
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Enter San Diego, Calif.'s Gallatin Technologies, Inc.
It hopes mid-size companies will find kNEWS Personal Edition 1.0 for Lotus Notes and Domino R5, its new electronic publishing and information distribution program, to be a timesaving and cost-cutting way for an enterprise to distribute, update, and personalize data in a newsletter style format.
The program gives anyone participating in the flow of information the ability to publish to the Internet or a corporate intranet. However, its most attractive feature may be its price � it's free.
Gallatin can afford to offer kNEWS Personal Edition at no cost because of the exposure the product gives to its more sophisticated version, kNEWS Professional, which is offered for a fee.
Todd Brehe, Gallatin's director of marketing, said the publishing process is designed around a customized style template. It can be easily adjusted to take on a company's desired look and feel.
"You can also take the same content and make multiple style sheets for different audiences," Brehe said, so the same information can be published to multiple pages.
Once customized, the template then lets a user insert information in a newsletter style, with headlines, summaries, and full article texts. Rich text fields give publishers the ability to post a combination of words, pictures and links to other multimedia sources.
Next the template is launched to appear on the designed Internet or intranet page, with the data automatically coded in HTML. The result is a centralized location that employees, partners, and even customers can use to leverage internal information.
With the assistance of a quick start guide, screencam shots and an HTML presentation, Brehe said most users can learn the publishing process in less than three hours and then publish documents in a matter of minutes.
Even though the style template can be customized, the source code for kNEWS Personal is open, providing creative developers with nearly unlimited customization options.
Brehe said the program is not designed to manage content for large sites, but its ability to easily add or modify content may make those with pre-existing electronic newsletters reevaluate their publishing methods.
"All they do is make the changes and replicate [the database]. It takes out the hassle of using a Web editor, Brehe said.
Several differences exist between kNEWS Personal Edition and kNEWS Professional, its more elaborate cousin. One is the addition of a workflow process in the latter.
"With Professional, we've broken down the process. So if there are security or workflow issues, you can assign different levels of access, so you can let one person or multiple people review information" before it is published, Brehe said.
Other variations in kNEWS Professional include a more advanced access control system to prevent unauthorized users from accessing certain information, and event logging, which tracks events that happen to that database.
kNEWS requires Lotus Notes R5.0.x to create content. To publish the content to an intranet or the Web requires Lotus Domino R5.0.x. kNEWS will run on several platforms including Windows 95, 98, NT, UNIX, and OS/2.
Gallatin offers both programs through its Web site. Though the Personal Edition is free, a single-server license for the Professional Edition costs $2,500. It comes with thirty days of e-mail support, and access to an online discussion database.