9 Do's and Don'ts for Implementing a CMS
Implementing a new content management system (CMS)—whether a traditional CMS, a Web CMS (often called a WMS), or both—is, to say the least, a daunting task. Integrating past content and anticipating future needs, all while trying to meet the requirements of present constituents, leaves the process riddled with potential for missteps. It’s no wonder experts in CMS implementation stress the need for adequate preparation.
“The idea is [that] you’d better know what you are doing before you are doing it,” says Randy Woods, executive vice president of Ontario-based CMS provider Non Linear Creations. “It sounds blindingly obvious, but 90 percent of the time it just doesn’t happen.”
Basically, all companies—publishers included—must not embark on a project until they are sure they understand the process they are trying to imbed, Wood says. He calls the effort “information architecture”—a means to determine what/who the end use/user is (e.g., who will be visiting your Web site) and what you are trying to accomplish.
To reach this understanding, Patrick Becker, senior vice president of business development at CMS provider Woodwing, stresses the importance of a pre-site evaluation. “It needs to be done well in advance of any scheduled installation,” Becker says. “The first thing you are going to do is look at a few main areas—personnel, hardware, infrastructure, process and content.”
Becker says no conversation about specifics should be undertaken before this preparation. Failing to thoroughly understand goals and parameters can lead to huge, costly mistakes, as with a company cited by Woods that purchased a CMS solution after an 18-month procurement process, only to discover it did not comply with corporate IT standards and could not be used.
Such a scenario highlights a second major point: Make sure all stakeholders are involved in the planning and implementation process from the outset.