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Content Management Systems: Would You? Could You? Should You?


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Content management systems (CMS) are making it easier than ever to create and manage Web site content. Often, once a CMS site is constructed, administration can be performed by users with limited technical knowledge (no coding experience necessary) using rich text editors and graphical, user-friendly interfaces. But how do you get to that point? This session will explore the decision making process arts organizations should engage in to determine their readiness to move into a CMS, to navigate the multitude of CMS lines in existence, and to ensure successful return on investment for a CMS transition. Created by Josh Futrell for the 2008 Technology in the Arts: Canada Conference.

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Content Management Systems: Would You? Could You? Should You?

  1. 1. Content Management Systems: Would You? Could You? Should You? Josh Futrell Support Specialist Center for Arts Management and Technology Though a CMS can accomplish many things, it is not magic. It is not a silver bullet, a royal flush, or a holy grail. It is a tool.
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>What are Content Management Systems? </li></ul><ul><li>Recognizing the Need for Change </li></ul><ul><li>CMS Hunting </li></ul><ul><li>Selling the Value of CMS </li></ul><ul><li>RFPs </li></ul><ul><li>Finding Partners </li></ul><ul><li>Seek First to Understand </li></ul>
  3. 3. C ontent M anagement S ystem: A Definition <ul><li>Content – any information published on a Web site, be it text, HTML, images, videos… </li></ul>Management – the workflow and processes in place to create, share, and control information during its lifecycle Systems – an application that enables the creation, collection, publishing, and presentation of content
  4. 4. C ontent M anagement S ystem: Characteristics <ul><li>Content is separate from presentation </li></ul><ul><li>WYSIWYG editors </li></ul><ul><li>Not software-based, browser-based </li></ul><ul><li>Robust user management </li></ul><ul><li>Content approval </li></ul><ul><li>Easy installation of new features </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Lower technical burden </li></ul><ul><li>Streamlined content creation, approval, and publishing processes </li></ul><ul><li>Timely, more accurate content </li></ul><ul><li>Content scheduling and expiration </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent templates and branding </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitation of future site-wide changes </li></ul>C ontent M anagement S ystem: Benefits
  6. 6. Yeah, But… <ul><li>CMSs are not free </li></ul><ul><li>CMSs are not instant, turnkey solutions </li></ul>“ CMS is not a panacea for broken processes. It’s important to help your staff understand that integration will take time, effort, and persistence. But the payoff can be huge” (Gammel and Trochlil). <ul><li>CMSs are not Webmaster/IT replacements </li></ul>
  7. 7. How Do You Recognize the Need for Change? <ul><li>Time since last update </li></ul><ul><li>Visitor or internal staff issues </li></ul><ul><li>Stakeholder dissatisfaction </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of support </li></ul><ul><li>Out-of date or inaccurate information </li></ul><ul><li>Webmaster bottleneck </li></ul><ul><li>Design/navigation changes between sections </li></ul><ul><li>Minor site-wide changes are tedious </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Project Needs a Champion <ul><li>Passionate about the Web site </li></ul><ul><li>Has or can be granted authority </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledgeable of latest technology trends </li></ul><ul><li>A bridge-builder </li></ul><ul><li>Communicates well to various groups </li></ul><ul><li>Able to analyze data and feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Someone crazy enough to accept the job </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Project Needs a Champion <ul><li>Limit the number of decision makers. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Seek First To Understand <ul><li>“ Most failed WCM implementations have not failed because of technology-related reasons - most have failed because of people/process issues.” </li></ul><ul><li>Tony White, Lead WCM Analyst, </li></ul><ul><li>The Gilbane Group </li></ul>
  11. 11. Understand the Site <ul><li>Step 1 : Review your organization’s mission statement </li></ul><ul><li>Step 2 : With that in mind, write one for your Web site </li></ul>
  12. 12. Get Everyone to the Table <ul><li>Get everyone involved </li></ul><ul><li>Review the current site </li></ul><ul><li>Review the workflows and processes </li></ul><ul><li>Review the support applications and framework </li></ul>
  13. 13. Who’s Visiting, Anyway? <ul><li>Who are the users coming to your site? </li></ul><ul><li>What are they looking for? </li></ul><ul><li>What do they expect? </li></ul><ul><li>What do they need ? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Selling the Value of Changing to a CMS <ul><li>Gather as much information as you can about the internal and external needs to determine if the need for change is real and urgent </li></ul><ul><li>Get a current budget breakdown of site related expenditures </li></ul><ul><li>“ Management wouldn’t question you if you needed a financial management system for your accounts.” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Selling the Value of Changing to a CMS <ul><li>Put a $ value on </li></ul><ul><li>Content publishing being done by content creators </li></ul><ul><li>Content separate from the design </li></ul><ul><li>Simple future additions of plug-ins/functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Last revenue/conversions due to current site </li></ul><ul><li>Time/resources saved by moving offline services online </li></ul><ul><li>Risks of not taking action </li></ul><ul><li>All other intangibles </li></ul>
  16. 16. Selling the Value of Changing to a CMS <ul><li>Determine and secure project budget and human capital </li></ul><ul><li>Create a list of Must Haves , Should Haves , and Nice to Haves </li></ul>
  17. 17. CMS Hunting Advice <ul><li>Over 2,000 distinct CMS lines in existence today </li></ul>
  18. 18. CMS Hunting Advice <ul><li>Martin White’s Law of CMS Products : </li></ul><ul><li>All products can meet 80% of your requirements </li></ul>
  19. 19. CMS Hunting Advice <ul><li>Say no to custom-built or proprietary CMS lines </li></ul>
  20. 20. CMS Hunting Advice <ul><li>Open Source Software: Free? </li></ul><ul><li>Not so much. </li></ul>
  21. 21. CMS Hunting Advice <ul><li>Your Main Objective: </li></ul><ul><li>Get Down to a Short List (3-5) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Thin the Herd <ul><li>Use the CMS Directories </li></ul><ul><li>Eliminate based on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compatibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Portability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current…ability </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Thin the Herd <ul><li>Eliminate some more based on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Upgrade frequency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training Materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Primary Markets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pricing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How well it meets your work-flow and technical need </li></ul></ul>
  24. 24. Thin the Herd <ul><li>Keep going! </li></ul><ul><li>What are people saying: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Industry and peer evaluations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Product forums </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In the CMS resources blogs and news </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google for: “<insert CMS name> sucks” </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Features to Consider <ul><li>Many CMS lines can implement most of these features. A “better” CMS will be one that has the features that are important to you in its core and built in a way that meets your needs. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Try It On For Size <ul><li>Get a demo. </li></ul><ul><li>Get some guinea pigs. </li></ul><ul><li>Get some feedback. </li></ul>
  27. 27. NTEN CMS Satisfaction Survey <ul><li>643 completed surveys </li></ul><ul><li>“ We learned that the sector is really fragmented. There are SO MANY products, and it was startling how spread out the usage was.” </li></ul><ul><li>Holly Ross, NTEN </li></ul>
  28. 28. NTEN CMS Satisfaction Survey <ul><li>Antharia </li></ul><ul><li>Blackbaud </li></ul><ul><li>Convivio </li></ul><ul><li>Drupal </li></ul><ul><li>iMIS </li></ul><ul><li>Joomla </li></ul><ul><li>Kintera </li></ul><ul><li>Plone </li></ul><ul><li>WordPress </li></ul><ul><li>XOOPS </li></ul>Survey results will highlight:
  29. 29. To Be Consulted ? Or Not To Be Consulted ? <ul><li>A good consultant should: </li></ul><ul><li>save you money </li></ul><ul><li>have consulted on CMS before </li></ul><ul><li>not be tied to a particular product </li></ul><ul><li>be your employee </li></ul>
  30. 30. Why an RFP? <ul><li>More than one person or product for the job </li></ul><ul><li>Serves as a reference point </li></ul><ul><li>One final check-in with your stakeholders </li></ul>
  31. 31. RFP Features <ul><li>Overview of the project </li></ul><ul><li>Description of essential needs driving the RFP </li></ul><ul><li>Organization information </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff size and technical skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical environment specs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other pre-existing systems and technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Details of the desired workflow and processes </li></ul>
  32. 32. RFP Features <ul><li>Details of desired CMS features </li></ul><ul><li>Details of templates/styling for new site </li></ul><ul><li>Details of integration needs </li></ul><ul><li>Project start and launch dates </li></ul><ul><li>Call for estimate/information/references </li></ul>
  33. 33. RFP Advice <ul><li>Don’t get extremely specific when describing technical needs; focus on functionality </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t mandate solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Choose wording judiciously </li></ul><ul><li>Set out clearly what you want the CMS to accomplish </li></ul><ul><li>Request details from the vendor/developer </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on measurable deliverables, if possible </li></ul>
  34. 34. RFP Advice <ul><li>Use scenarios, examples specific to your organization, and walkthroughs </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss the WYSIWYG editor specifically and in great detail </li></ul><ul><li>Include training, technical support, and manuals </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t fear revealing your budget </li></ul><ul><li>Know your workflow and needs inside and out to help respond to vendor inquiries </li></ul>
  35. 35. Evaluating Your Potential Partners <ul><li>Know what an acceptable solution looks like </li></ul><ul><li>Does the response to the proposal show a true understanding of the project needs? </li></ul><ul><li>Did the vendor respond to all items thoroughly? </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be wowed by extras </li></ul>
  36. 36. Evaluating Your Potential Partners <ul><li>Take a hard look at vendors/developers: </li></ul><ul><li># of people on their team </li></ul><ul><li>How much time will they spend working with you? </li></ul><ul><li>Will they takes the time to fully understand the needs and requirements of the request </li></ul><ul><li>Where does your project fit into their business? </li></ul><ul><li>Are they close/available enough (geographically, electronically) to provide the service and support you need and expect? </li></ul><ul><li>Do they have good references and reputation? </li></ul>
  37. 37. The Project in Motion <ul><li>Communicate, communicate, communicate! </li></ul><ul><li>If the project becomes to big for its britches, break it down into segments </li></ul><ul><li>Be wary of scope-creep </li></ul>
  38. 38. Closing Thoughts <ul><li>Stay Flexible. Your CMS needs will change over time. </li></ul><ul><li>There is no silver bullet. </li></ul><ul><li>Execute for now, while keeping the future in mind. </li></ul><ul><li>Questions? </li></ul>
  39. 39. CMS Resources <ul><li>CMS Review ( ) – huge collection of CMS resources, including a directory (over 350 CMS lines), articles, and search and feature comparison tools. </li></ul><ul><li>CMS Report ( ) and CMS Wire ( ) – blogs compiling posts on 50+ different CMS lines. </li></ul><ul><li>2008 CMS Vendor Satisfaction Survey, NTEN ( ) – due out in June 2008, the Nonprofit Technology Network will be compiling a report of survey results from its members conducted in April 2008. You may need to email me for a copy, as the survey may only be released to those who completed the survey. </li></ul><ul><li>A Nonprofit’s Guide to Content Management Systems, Common Knowledge ( ) – incredibly good CMS implementation overview created by Jeff Patrick, President of Common Knowledge, a San Francisco consulting firm. </li></ul><ul><li>Web CMS Report, CMS Watch ( ) – annual report that provides analysis of WCMS practices, strategies, and products, including detailed reports on 24+ WCMS lines – note: this is a paid service ($975 + for full report). </li></ul><ul><li>Top 10 Mistakes When Selecting a CMS, Open Source CMS ( ) </li></ul>
  40. 40. CMS and Directories <ul><li>CMS Matrix ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>Wiki Matrix ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>DMOZ CMS Directory ( ) </li></ul><ul><li>Open Source CMS ( ) – this site has demos of the OSS CMS, blog, and wiki lines in its directories. These demos, reinstalled and refreshed every two hours, allow you explore and work with the administrative back-ends of default installations. </li></ul><ul><li>Content Management Overview, Hartman Communicatie BV ( ) </li></ul>
  41. 41. References <ul><li>Ambroz, Jillian S. “CMS Revolution.” Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management 36.8 (2007): 50-52. </li></ul><ul><li>Beveridge, David. “Why You Need a Content Management System.” Nonprofit World 24.2 (2006): 16-19. </li></ul><ul><li>Doyle, Bob. “Compare and Contrast CMS.” EContent Jan./Feb. 2007: 31. </li></ul><ul><li>---. “Resourceful CMS Selection.” EContent Dec. 2006: 18. </li></ul><ul><li>---. “Where the Wild CMSs Are!” EContent Dec. 2005: 18. </li></ul><ul><li>Gammel, C. David, and Wes Trochlil. “The One-Click Solution.” Associations Now June 2007 Supplement: 13-15. </li></ul><ul><li>Guenther, Kim. “Content Management Systems as ‘Silver Bullets’” Online: Exploring Technology & Resources for the Information Professional July/Aug. 2006: 54-56. </li></ul><ul><li>Harney, John. “Web CMS: Best Practices.” EDoc Magazine Sept./Oct. 2007: 37-39. </li></ul><ul><li>Kinsman, Matt. “The CMS Evolution.” Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management 36.3 (2007): 22-23. </li></ul><ul><li>Kneale, Ruth. “From Static to Dynamic – Choosing and Implementing a Web-Based CMS.” Computers in Libraries March 2008: 16-20. </li></ul><ul><li>Porter-Roth, Bud. “An RFP for ECM.” The AIIM Guide to ECM Purchasing 2007: 40-44. </li></ul><ul><li>Starkman, Neal. “If You Build It Right, They Will Come.” T H E Journal 33.13 (2006): 20-30. </li></ul><ul><li>Tynan, Dan. “Worst Case Scenario: IT Survival Guide.” Infoworld Jan. 31 2006: 24-30. </li></ul><ul><li>White, Martin. “Managing Content Management System Selection.” EContent July 2002. </li></ul><ul><li>---. “One CMS or Two?” EContent May 2006: 37. </li></ul><ul><li>---. &quot;Tire Kicking and CMS Shopping.&quot; EContent July/Aug. 2005: 35. </li></ul><ul><li>Yakubovich, Alex. “New Systems Put Web Work in Hands of Nontechies.” Crain’s Cleveland Business 27.8 (2006): 17. </li></ul>