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With the plethora of Content Management Solution (CMS) vendors in, and entering, the market, the search for a new or second-generation solution can be a daunting task. "Although we have a good feel for the CMS landscape, we did not want to select a CMS that did not meet our particular needs," says Smith.
Selecting a CMS vendor in today's landscape can be an overwhelming task. Many vendors, old and new, are more than willing to show you their wares through online flash demos, brochures, and Web sites. All of them seem to have great features and functionality. Some vendors boast of their extraordinarily powerful and flexible workflow and approval capabilities, one-to-one personalization, ERP/CRM integration, virtual repositories, robust search capabilities, and the like. But are all these bells and whistles going to meet your needs?
Understanding your company's requirements is paramount before any vendor selection is even considered. Failure to develop an integrated plan that accounts for an organization's business, stakeholder, and user requirements can ensure failure.
One prominent financial services firm purchased a content management system for $1.5 million. The solution limited the number of publishers, the number of pages published and stored, and offered no same day publishing. Even worse, the company that supported the product went bankrupt, leaving the client with no technical assistance. One year after implementation, the CMS was scrapped.
In a similar position, the organization has not only outgrown its CMS, but system support is either non-existent or expensive. Worse yet, the product is no longer sold, leaving the organization to fend for itself.
When choosing a CMS or any software product, functional user and stakeholder requirements must be clearly defined. A structured methodology needs to be invoked to not only ensure that the proper vendor is chosen, but that the product has a productive lifespan.
Gartner estimates that one-third of IT projects in small to mid-sized companies exceed budgets and schedules by almost 100 percent. This represents a lot of wasted time and money due to "scope creep."
Scope creep happens when the scope or deliverables of a project change during the project implementation, mainly because of weak planning that doesn't fully account for the business requirements of the organization.
A thorough assessment and overall plan, along with documenting the needs of the organization and securing the necessary buy-in from multiple stakeholders and business managers will greatly reduce if not eliminate scope creep. An assessment serves two primary purposes:
Ultimately, most organizations are principally concerned with how the CMS manages content — the tool's actual publishing functionality and process, and how your employees will use the system. As such, the most important sub-criteria include:
"Without proper due diligence early in the process, we would run the risk of making the same mistake we did the first time," says Smith. "We have seen many vendors who would probably be a good fit, however, we want the best fit solution that meets our specific requirements."
A new service offering from Prescient, It includes our proven methodology for gathering requirements, a robust CMS Evaluation Matrix, an overview of the present CMS vendor landscape, an RFP template and more. For more information or a copy of the offering contact Carmine Porco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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