in Open Source

Considerations for implementing a Content Management System into your organisation

The abbreviation CMS is becoming very popular among organisations and the open source community. There is a huge range of CMS’s available through open source initiatives and in the commercial sector that have a range of different features and modules.

If you are considering implementing a CMS into your organisation, consider these three key areas in your decision making processes.

Technology

  • Research - Research the different types of CMS’s available and their features. http://www.cmsmatrix.org/ is a good source for comparing different CMS’s.
  • Track Record - Look at the success and failure case studies of different CMS’s. Although a particular CMS may have all the features, it might be the worst CMS to implement.
  • Strategy - Look at other businesses / competitors in your industry to see what they use as a CMS. You can use this research as a competitive advantage to get ahead of your competitors.
  • Migration - Migrating your existing system / content into a new CMS can be a huge project and can put strain on the cost and labour to migrate existing data. Some CMS’s will allow bulk importing of existing data or another approach is to research into writing scripts to automate the migration process.
  • Cost - Costing is a major factor. Consider open source products, commercial products, support agreements, internal and external consultant’s costs. Initially you may think that open source products are great as they are free, but support and maintenance can be a huge cost in the long term.
  • System Quality - Performance, Stability, Extensibility, Security are just some of the words that IT managers, developers and architects worry about when implementing a new system.

Organisational

  • A scale of balance - You can find the best CMS’s will all the bells and whistles, but there is no point designing and implementing a CMS without knowing the problems and requirements of your organisation. Some examples are features overlapping with existing systems, too many features that won’t be used or not enough features that fit the requirements.
  • Quality/Standard - Quality is a key area in content management. There is quality in terms of how well the software is written and how it performs, but also measuring quality in terms of the information. This becomes an organisational process of insuring the quality of the content in the CMS is sound.
  • Risks - Identifying the risks is standard practice including risks of implementation, quality, having the right technical team, the right consultants and advice, the approval and support of management, and the support of staff through your organisation.

People

  • Training - Depending on the number of staff involved in the implementation, these people will need to be trained on using, administering and/or even developing modules within the CMS. A lot of commercial CMS businesses will offer training as part of their package, but a lot of the community open source based CMS’s have no formal training available. Consider the time involved in training users is a critical factor for system buy-in and to have the on-going support of your users.
  • Change – Implementing new systems affects users if they like it or not. Having the right change processes in-place and the support of staff helps have a smooth transition. Consider a CMS that will help your change processes run smoothly including training and user-friendliness.

Having the answers to these considerations will help you identify the best CMS for your organisation. You have to be careful when making the decision as there are so many variations of CMS’s available in today’s market.
Good luck!

References

7 Challenges of implementing Content Management Systems (http://www.istart.co.nz/index/HM20/PC0/PV21905/EX210195/AR210332)

CMS Compare Matrix (http://www.cmsmatrix.org/ )