Institutional Web Management Workshop 2005: Addressing The CMS Challenge

Institutional Web Management Workshop 2005: Addressing The CMS Challenge

This is a feedback session from the regional discussion groups that have happened over the last couple of days. Each group was looking at the challenges surround the implementation and use of a CMS.

Essentially what is coming out is:

  • Be clear about your objectives – remember CMS is a tool, so don’t confuse this with the problem or solution. You have to be clear about the problem you are trying to solve, and identify the best solution.
  • ‘Sell’ the solution. You need to get buy in across the board – from end-users/content creators, to top level management. Again, being clear about the problems and the benefits of your solution.
  • Be realistic about the resource needed. You have to be able to buy/develop and implement, and then also continue to support.

What is perhaps obvious, but has been stated and re-stated throughout this workshop is that you have to have clear objectives. The whole ‘content management’ area is huge (I’m now pretty convinced that most problems can be stated as ‘content management’ problems) and none of us are in a position to tackle everything.

Once you have identified what problems you are trying to solve, you can prioritise and start allocating resource to solving those problems. You can also be clear about what the benefits are.

Something that is interesting to me is that you can identify the problem, and the solution, but the consequences are often very different.

For example, if we start by saying the ‘problem’ is that we want to lower the barriers to becoming a content creator by having easy to use tools for content creation and maintenance.

After some discussion you decide what tool you are going to use for this, and it happens to have CMS type functionality.

When you actually implement it, you solve the problem that you wanted to solve – but the actual challenge of the implementation is redesigning the the workflows of the whole content creation process.

This is the challenge – solving one problem is exposing a whole load of other issues, which you then need to solve for the project to be a success.

At one session yesterday there was a straw poll which showed that most of the audience regarded marketing/communications as the key ‘users’ of a CMS, but that the IT staff most often led the projects. This makes real sense to me. As the person running the technology, I stand to save my teams time by having a CMS system. However, the issues that arise are all likely to be ones that the marketing/communications people have to solve – so we have a tension between the drivers and the outcomes.

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