The Executive's Guide to Content Management Systems

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It’s no wonder executives fail to understand—or appreciate the differences between—content management systems.

They get different information, explanations, opinions and needs expressed by (1) the IT team, (2) vendors of CMS systems and (3) the marketing squad—all with varying degrees of knowledge and experience. We’d like to clear the air, untangle the problem and explain what to look for and how to make a decision.

This will be an agnostic look at what the systems can do and cannot do, and why

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  • The give-and-take between the Internet display (your website) and your database is strict. Actually, our web page doesn’t exist, really; it’s simply pulled together when a visitorasks for it. McDonald’s, for example, no longer lets your burger age under a heat lamp; the burger is assembled when you ask for it. Same for your web page. A visitor asks for a biography and the database “calls” for the information to be presented on the page in the format of your page template. But the database cannot call for tortilla wraps when you’ve specified buns. Nor can it call for grouper when a ground beef is in the fridge. In other words, a website design demands a template be created to display specific types of information—a path structure. What’s the point? Your modern CMS will allow you to shuffle the pages around and rename them but it cannot allow you to change the page design (the template) at will. That’s where flexibility ends for every CMS. Once the plumbing is in place, the commode can't be moved around.
  • We can also say that while the cost of a solution is not exactly in lockstep with the size of a firm, they are correlated. Proprietary solutions have obvious upfront costs that may scare away some buyers. But open-source solutions have hidden costs that should scare away more buyers than they do. Buyers like the idea that WordPress is free, but even though this out-of-the-box solution costs nothing at the outset, WordPress or any other open-source solution may not wind up saving you any money at all. It all depends on which core features are important to you, the client, and whether those features are easy or difficult to implement.
  • The Executive's Guide to Content Management Systems

    1. 1. content management systems, untangled
    2. 2. gb design and technology
    3. 3. if you like this program, you may also like
    4. 4. if you like this program, you may also like
    5. 5. added insight
    6. 6. of grass, wires, plumbing, home entertainment walls, cheeseburgers, surgeons and crows … apologies for the mixed metaphors
    7. 7. why we do research and share our thinking?
    8. 8. what is a CMS, what does it do flexibility and what a CMS can’t do open source v. proprietary confusion’s source: a gathering of crows the right questions to ask agenda
    9. 9. what is a CMS, what does it do flexibility and what a CMS can’t do open source v. proprietary confusion’s source: a gathering of crows the right questions to ask agenda
    10. 10. a cms serves as an interface between your web content and display database your websitecms
    11. 11. … the CMS works between marketing content and distribution modes (website, email alerts, proposals, etc)
    12. 12. allows non technical users to manage different types of data on their own things like images, videos, narratives (text), audio, etc … a CMS puts you in the driver’s seat
    13. 13. the best are easy to use and fitted to the tasks you are trying to accomplish
    14. 14. what is a CMS, what does it do flexibility and what a CMS can’t do open source v. proprietary confusion’s source: a gathering of crows the right questions to ask agenda
    15. 15. it can’t alter your “display” without a cost
    16. 16. a sample template
    17. 17. You cannot move the logo from place to place. It’s in a fixed position, a position decided when the site was designed. You cannot move the subnavigation around but you CAN rename it to fit the content of the page as you like. You cannot change the size or color of the headlines or text but you CAN swap out the copy in the center and add pictures, diagrams, maps, charts and graphs. so what can/can’t I do with a CMS?
    18. 18. You cannot move the fixed position of the main navigation but you CAN change the names and the order of the navigation You cannot move the sidebars around the page but you CAN move them up and down and you CAN change the content of the sidebars as well as the pages they are related to. You CAN also add videos or images if the sidebar was designed to accommodate them. so what can/can’t I do with a CMS?
    19. 19. another sample template
    20. 20. You CAN insert a new name but not change the style of the presentation You cannot move the sidebars around the page but you CAN open or close the bars so they display and enrich the page or shut down and clean up the page so what can/can’t I do with a CMS? You CAN swap out the image and the quotation but you cannot move the position of the image on the page You CAN change the contact information but not its organization or styling You cannot change the size or color of the headlines or text but you CAN swap out the copy in the center and add pictures, diagrams, maps, charts and graphs.
    21. 21. what is a web page template?  one of the structured pages of your website  some websites have a single temple, more common to have four to six with two or three variations on each  remember: while a single page design can give enormous flexibility and freedom, you can’t just move everything in a free for all
    22. 22. the give and take between the display and your database is strict database your websitecms
    23. 23. where flexibility ends
    24. 24. what is a wireframe and its role?  a wireframe is just another way of thinking about a template  before sites are built, wireframes are written to define all of the functionality desired on the page  a good CMS is not restrictive to design  only limit to page design is the imagination of the designer or the courage of the client  but again, once it is coded to display, the CMS flexibility has its limits
    25. 25. it can’t alter your “display” without a cost
    26. 26. what is a CMS, what does it do flexibility and what a CMS can’t do open source v. proprietary confusion’s source: a gathering of crows the right questions to ask agenda
    27. 27. open source “free” and “flexible” built by a community industry agnostic good at a lot of things, great at none go anywhere for service “less” secure (open) proprietary comes with a license fee built by proprietor wears an industry hat great for specific needs for outfits like yours serviced by owner “more” secure (closed) oversimplifying the complex …
    28. 28. note: nothing is “free;” you need to consider the total cost of “ownership” … or getting the open source cms to safely and dependably do what a proprietary cms is built to do
    29. 29. consider the total cost of ownership
    30. 30. also note: once you customize an open source CMS, it becomes proprietary and you are the proprietor
    31. 31. takeaway: when something is not working, clients often prefer the “one- throat-to-choke” model. There is a more direct line of responsibility in a proprietary model than in open source.
    32. 32. another takeaway: telling a non- technical business user that open source is more flexible or better is like telling a patient that one plastic surgeon is better than another because one gives you the freedom to operate on yourself. The point is, you can’t.
    33. 33. remember: if you want to change your display to keep up, you must go back to the developers for changes (you’re always beholden to the open source or proprietary coders)
    34. 34. what is a CMS, what does it do flexibility and what a CMS can’t do open source v. proprietary confusion’s source: the gathering of crows the right questions to ask agenda
    35. 35. a gathering of crows (the IT team, vendors and marketing)
    36. 36. the reality, everyone has an agenda and it ain’t yours
    37. 37. burned before  the vendor was charming but went belly up 18 months after launch
    38. 38. burned before  the vendor was reliable but in 6 months the CMS was out of date
    39. 39. burned before  another CMS I missed in our search had more, better features
    40. 40. burned before  the IT boys knew networks, not websites, but threw their weight around
    41. 41. burned before  my IT department was so intent on learning SharePoint on the fly, our site was delayed by months
    42. 42. burned before  in marketing, some of us learned enough from our last experience to be very vocal
    43. 43. burned before  our marketing partners brother’s nephew has a friend who told me…
    44. 44. so what’s a highly competent, somewhat tech-experienced, slightly tech literate, frustrated executive supposed to do?
    45. 45. learn to ask the right questions learn to ask the right questions
    46. 46. what is a CMS, what does it do flexibility and what a CMS can’t do open source v. proprietary confusion’s source: a gathering of crows the right questions to ask agenda
    47. 47. before you question, here’s a tip forget looking for the final, holy grail solution— it doesn’t exist; only change is constant
    48. 48. learn to ask the right questions does the CMS have the features you want here and now
    49. 49. you can help yourself by:  knowing which features/functions are important to you and why  distinguishing between “must have” and “nice to have”  making a list, checking it twice  understanding that “today’s” features are less relevant, thanks to the cloud
    50. 50. learn to ask the right questions have you considered the future
    51. 51. you can help yourself by asking…  is the CMS in the cloud?  are new features pushed as available or on a set schedule?  how frequently are enhancements delivered?  is there a cost in implementing enhancements?
    52. 52. if you like this program, you may also like
    53. 53. learn to ask the right questions is it easy to use, easy to learn
    54. 54. you can help yourself by:  knowing that ease of installation is different than ease of use  getting a demo and having a list of questions prepared  looking to see if experienced users of any CMS smile during the demo
    55. 55.  intuitive?  easily learned?  easy to use? easily enter content?
    56. 56. easily relate content?
    57. 57. learn to ask the right questions does the CMS deliver the flexibility you require
    58. 58. you can help yourself by:  knowing what flexibility means to you  understanding the difference between a CMS’s “flexibility” and the flexibility of your site design/display
    59. 59. You CAN insert a new name but not change the style of the presentation You cannot move the sidebars around the page but you CAN open or close the bars so they display and enrich the page or shut down and clean up the page so what can/can’t I do with a CMS? You CAN swap out the image and the quotation but you cannot move the position of the image on the page You CAN change the contact information but not its organization or styling You cannot change the size or color of the headlines or text but you CAN swap out the copy in the center and add pictures, diagrams, maps, charts and graphs..
    60. 60. learn to ask the right questions is your team an aggressive user
    61. 61. you can help yourself by:  knowing if you will be making changes frequently, adding pages and stretching its capabilities  canvassing the team to get an accurate idea of what you do now and are frustrated doing…now
    62. 62. learn to ask the right questions is the CMS scalable
    63. 63. you can help yourself by:  using your analytics to gauge the typical load then estimating reasonable increased load  knowing if the strategic plan calls for rapid growth
    64. 64. learn to ask the right questions is the CMS secure
    65. 65. you can help yourself by:  taking host security seriously  understanding plugin risks  having a plan for the failure of the CMS developer
    66. 66. learn to ask the right questions will it help me do effective SEO work
    67. 67. learn to ask the right questions other questions
    68. 68. content management systems, untangled
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