Justine Clan 2017-01-11 14:00:00
No one wants to make a bad choice when it comes to a content management system. If you make your decision without having the proper information and asking the right questions, you could regret it when easy tasks become difficult. Here are some tips to help you choose an effective CMS.
Choosing a vendor for your CMS is like choosing a life partner. Look for support, vision, community, and stability and focus in a vendor. Buyers should look at technical fit as well as cultural fit. Think about the vendor’s professional services to see who would be implementing the product, as well as the partner network.
Before you invest in any software, take a general look at all of your information management practices and business goals. Educate yourself about the ways different CMS tools work and any potential downsides. Possibly the most important question to ask is if the problem you are solving is related to software. If you have insufficient processes and staff, or an ineffective strategy, there’s no point investing in CMS.
It’s not easy or quick to build a short list. You want to choose a CMS that will support your requirements and is easy to use, so you don’t want to waste time or money with the wrong product. Take four things into consideration: relevant technologies, your budget, business functionality, and the proximity of your partners.
Identify your focal needs to reduce your list of possible CMS vendors. Focal needs may fall into either idiosyncratic requirements or extreme priority requirements. Most companies will have no more than 10 focal needs.
The requirement matrix usually comes as a spreadsheet and offers a list of capabilities, sorted by high level category down the left column. Across the top you will see the different products being evaluated. In the body you note if the requirements are met, or you input a score for each product in the proper area. Some of the requirements in a normal features matrix might include Version History with Rollback, Strong Separation of Content and Presentation, Strong Multi-Lingual Support, Integration with Product X, Mobile Content Delivery, and more.
The spreadsheet does a good job telling you the features, but you need to develop an understanding of how these products might work for you. Usage scenarios are short stories that describe an interaction with the system in order to achieve a business objective. These usage scenarios will give you more meaning and context of the different requirements.
Once you’ve gone through the feature requirements, developed usage scenarios, and done your product research, you will move on to the stage where you will evaluate the products against your specific needs. Only do this with products and vendors that are compatible with both the way you do business and your content. Don’t be swayed by a charismatic sales person and don’t get stuck in a sales cycle that doesn’t move you towards an informed decision.
If you don’t have a specific strategy in mind, you will tend to overbuy under the assumption that you will reduce the risk by acquiring capability. This is actually not a good choice, because you’ll just be wasting money on functionality you don’t need. The best way to get what you need is to do a five-year total cost of ownership and account for things like software licenses, maintenance and support, customization, implementation, training, and all other related expenses.