In order to keep up with the challenges and emerging needs of business organizations, ClearStory Systems has introduced PowerDeck, a new addition to the company’s suite of solutions for managing digital assets. ClearStory, a provider of content management solutions for digital-media communications, provides software that helps companies deal with the enterprise digital-media supply chain—from creation and collaboration to life-cycle management and delivery.

According to Mukul Krishna, Frost & Sullivan’s digital-media practice industry manager, “Presentation assembly and management solutions are primarily used in corporate environments and geared to facilitate marketing, sales, training, and corporate communication.” According to Krishna, this aspect of CM is on the rise, and ClearStory is poised to tap into this emerging niche. 

Released in December 2006, ClearStory’s latest introduction, PowerDeck, is a stand-alone system designed to enable organizations to create, manage, and distribute files efficiently. It enables users to make updates and assemble new presentations while maintaining corporate branding and controlled messaging. “It’s a concept that we believe will influence the area of presentation management in a good way,” says Susan Worthy, ClearStory’s VP of marketing. 

“Companies usually use PowerPoint to convey information for internal meetings, external presentations, sales positioning, financial data, research, and development concepts,” according to Worthy. “Regrettably, companies often do not use management tools to control the information being presented, which leads to inaccuracy and putting brands at risk. This solution helps companies lock down brand and corporate compliance.” 

The new suite’s emphasis is on eliminating inconsistency in messaging and design, outdated information, as well as duplication of previous presentations. It provides a controlled centralized library for the creation, storage, and distribution of files. “There have been issues with content protection in presentations in the past,” says Joshua Duhl, vice president of product management. “They were readily edited and mutated in PowerPoint but now, functionality of a presentation and integrity of a brand can be assured.” 

The software gives users the ability to integrate a predefined database of assets within the presentation platform and create a flawless and nonlinear presentation. Key features of PowerDeck are a rules-based lock-down tool, intended to control what can or cannot be changed; a version control feature that prevents the use of dated material and reduces the level of inconsistency in both graphics and editorial content; and a tracking system with usage reports, which details presentation deployments, use, and access, including the graphics used. 

ClearStory found that in delivering presentations, companies often had to deliver hefty files via email. To help alleviate this problem, PowerDeck includes “web links,” which provides a link to a presentation in an email. One click and the client can view the presentation, without crowding their inbox. This feature uses the same asset repository an organization uses for its entire digital-media collection. 

PowerDeck also includes quick edit—which allows users to edit, make changes to format, set rules, and update presentations—and version history, designed to allow users to go back in time and get notes associated to a specific presentation. PowerDeck enables users to move nonlinearly through assets. It gives them the ability to pull in assets in their original formats such as PDFs, images, and Microsoft Office files, among others. It also allows users to work live on a document while in presentation format or skip between slides or documents. 

“The challenge posed by the markets was the demand for a product that would control productivity and brand,” says Worthy. ClearStory’s PowerDeck solution aims to help companies consolidate all archived assets onto one presentation platform to deliver a rich, yet unified, consistent experience. Krishna thinks the company delivered on its vision. “PowerDeck gives users the ability to create nonlinear and compelling presentations using different assets, letting them repurpose content for rapid turnovers,” says Krishna. “It is powerful technology with a comprehensive and engaging experience.”