by Matthew Johnson
I just wanted to provide a brief reply to this basic question I get from various clients. Why should I use a CMS? Many clients who are new to CMS/WCM, view the solution as just another repository or database. I continually get this response, why can’t we just put the content in Oracle, or SQL Server etc… well you can… but that is not the primary objective of a CMS and it will not get you the economies of scale in content management. A CMS is supposed to enable a “Management System” which involves:
- Operations Management & Governance: (Strategy, Policies, Roles, Responsibilities, Workflow, etc)
- Content Development: (Content Editing, Reuse, Search Engine Optimization, Channel Agnostic and Specialization)
- Content Repository: (Content Storage, Source Code Storage)
- Content Distribution: (Cross Channel / Cross Infrastructure Deployment, Integration Services, Transformation/Template Services)
Many companies jump right into repository and integration mindset. AKA, how do I store some content and get it onto the site. Well this is a great idea, but to get value out of a CMS, you must set up the operational infrastructure and governance model to sustain a CMS. If you focus on repository/integration, you are only solving specific technical problems for most often one defined channel like one web site, not larger scale and business specific operational needs. Most often this approach involves a reduced set of resources that know how to store and integrate the content for a specific channel. The result is a CMS that can be leveraged by only a certain subset of resources and then limits the reuse of content. I do not know how many times I have seen a multi million-dollar CMS implementation that only can be used by 4-5 people and only use 30% of a CMS’s capabilities.
A CMS is supposed to empower your Content Management Model to allow more people to participate in the content process, whether its content production, viewing, reuse, and deployment. A properly deployed CMS solution will also enhance a short time to market for content integration/distribution into new channels.
Key questions to ask yourself before you begin big CMS projects are:
- Who participates in CMS requirements? (It should not be controlled by IT only)
- Have you developed your Content Types and Content Hierarchies?
- Have you defined your roles and responsibilities (Who are editors, content contributors, QA, support)
- Have do defined your existing workflows and how they can be mapped to a CMS?
- Is you content semantic and portable?
- Are you planning to transform your content so it can be used cross channel?
- Do leverage in context view of content?
- Do you use Data Capture and Presentation layer template technology?