Cadillac vs Hyundai CMSs
On the topic of governance, do not think that by simply implementing a CMS, your governance challenges will disappear. Like any new technology, a CMS is simply a piece of software that does what it is instructed to do. The old adage, “garbage in, garbage out” holds true. If you do not put the effort into defining your governance model before you implement your CMS, you will be doing yourself and your organization a disservice (Read “Politics” for more on governance).
A new CMS will allow you to enforce a governance model, but it is up to the organization to tell the CMS of the rules and parameters. For example, who is responsible for each page of the site? Who can edit, review, contribute to, and publish each page on the site?
Another factor to consider is timing. Do you need the CMS for 1-2 years or 3-5 years? How is the business case being built? If you require a quick solution to last, say, three years, then it may be more economical and tactical to go with the Hyundai. For example, some organizations only require a short term solution until their enterprise-wide Document Management System or portal product gets implemented in the next 2-3 years. In this case, it may make more sense to purchase a short-term solution.
A CIO from a large utility summed it up quite simply, “If I can get a solution that meets 90% of my needs at one-third of the price of the larger vendors, and then replace it in 3 years, why wouldn’t I do so?” This is a trend we have been witnessing of late. With all the promises of the larger enterprise applications, the “good enough for now” approach is gaining traction. While Sharepoint and Microsoft CMS, for example, figure out how it will all fit together over the next couple of years, companies are investing in simpler solutions for the time being. It is also possible that lower-cost solutions will pay higher dividends in value.
Looking at some of the smaller vendors, you don’t have to travel far to find a product that has many of the components the upper tier vendors have. Most, if not all, are web-based, have pre-defined user types (content contributor, approver, publisher), basic workflow, links and image upload capabilities, basic reporting, some out-of-the box templates, a robust editor, preview capabilities and versioning. This is by no means a complete list of the features and functionality of a basic CMS, but, once again, an organization needs to consider their requirements. Three levels of workflow and three user types may be sufficient (any more than this and you risk bottlenecking the system). Although a vendor’s technology may offer more levels of workflow and/or user types, the people and governance model may not be able to accommodate it.
Here, then are some guidelines when venturing off to shop for a CMS:
When looking at purchasing a CMS, first understand your requirements. Ask your stakeholders what they need and document their requirements.
Make the requirements drive the vendor’s dog-and-pony show. Ask the vendor to highlight the features and functionality that are important to your stakeholders.
Don’t let the vendors sell you on features that you don’t need (i.e. six levels of workflow, personalization, online collaboration).
Define your Governance model before the CMS is implemented. The CMS must be told who is responsible for managing the content.
Understand the life expectancy of your CMS and how it will/may integrate within your organizations overall knowledge/document and/or portal management strategy.
As with any new technology, an organization must understand its needs before deciding on a solution. This is even more important in the CMS field, what with all the new vendors and amalgamation of solutions there are today. Although you may have your eye on the new Cadillac, the Hyundai may well meet and potentially exceed your expectations.
To engage Prescient for help in selecting the best CMS for your organization, please see our CMS Blueprint service or contact us directlly.
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