CMS on a daily basis


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A Content Management System is what makes large and complex websites tick. A lot of effort goes into selecting and implementing a CMS, but what happens next?

What are the common challenges, surprises and loose ends that await the web team post-launch?

In particular:

How to train, engage and support content editors
Getting to the bottom of performance issues, including caching
Backup and data recovery
Archiving and retrieval for audit and complaints handling
Understanding content modelling
Balancing flexibility and complexity. CMS customisations vs out-of-the-box features
User access rights and permissions
What is covered (and not covered) by the support contract with a CMS vendor?
Support requests and developer communities – how to get real help when you need it most

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  • ambitious plans
  • And then there’s actually doing the hard work of making web content management work.Sorting out web governance, adding new staff, training existing roles, hiring external vendors, auditing content, creating content, migrating content, fighting political fires, integrating technology, justifying budgets and setting (and resetting) timelines. Oh, and it never ends, as your sites, content and platforms need constant care and attention. Forever.Nobody selling CMS can or will give a full picture of what it will take to completely see it through. Partly because they don’t know and partly because it’s a serious buzz kill in trying to close the sale.
  • A common problem is decentralizing your content authoring to people that don’t have the time, motivation or support to manage the content in the first place.Users don’t care about CMS features. They care about their jobs and how to do them quickly and efficiently.You can lead a horse to water...
  • the elephant in the room: “is this the right product?”, “is this the technology that is not right?”
  • CMS developers don’t always participate in CMS selection. They are not always invested in the product. For them the CMS falls on them from the sky. (look up PLC presentation to add detail)Copyright
  • sometimes lonely experience.only a limited number of CMS administrators will have access to vendor’s support team; first-line support is delegated to power-users in the organization;Sometimes the support is so poor that an organisation chooses to terminate it. This happens for example when the organisation is running on a outdated version of the system and support isn’t helpful.If support contract is terminated, and renewed again say in 2 years, the vendor will ask to cover the fees for the 2 gap years as well as any future ongoing fees.
  • For both end users and developers – training is importantWith in-house experts - beware of silent/withheld knowledge.Objectives / homework
  • Real learning is not memorization.  Most of what we memorize is lost in hours.Ask learners to contribute scenarios.
  • vendors will often say “the problem is with implementation/configuration and not the product”internal performance - web editorshigh numbers of assets, versions, edits, audit records, log files (are we running out of space yet?)pluginsconcurrent editingexternal performance - website visitorssolid caching strategy is a requirement for many enterprise-level CMSspluginsjavascriptanalyticsconcurrent editingpotentially a huge let downoften as the site grows, the site and the administration slows downWe’ve all decided to blame you magnet -
  • The most frequent error in FatWire development
  • Backup – space issueData Recovery – separate licenses
  • A content model is a representation of the types of content and their inter-relationships.
  • Find the right balance. Don’t overstructure your content.
  • Archiving and retrieval for audit and complaints handlingwhile you can roll back one asset, the context (other assets, templates and styles) need rolling back separately. Some of these items may no longer exist.There are several separate tools on the market which aim to address this need
  • upgrades are often less 'upgrade' and more 'migration'read release notesfor some CMSs this is an ongoing / never-ending process
  • Workflow - the need is there – most systems just haven’t solved it well enough; including Enterprise level major playersWhat happens when someone leavesworkflow is more of a collaborative process rather than a series of steps to produce the content.Attempting to reduce this dynamic behaviour to a few steps performed in series is quite difficult and some could say fundamentally flawed.Access rights and permissionscustomers go through the logic of:this is an Enterprise level systemIt has workflow built into itTherefore we can use workflow to support our enterprise’s processesBadly designed workflow creates a bottleneck in the approval process. This bottleneck is precisely the kind of problem a CMS was supposed to solve.
  • restrictions by folder isn’t always possible
  • CMS on a daily basis

    1. 1. JBoye Web & Intranet Conference Aarhus, Denmark 7 November 2012CMS on a daily basis Marianne Kay Web Strategist, Web CMS Consultant
    2. 2. CMS on a daily basis• User adoption• Support• Performance issues• Caching• Training• Content modeling• Archival• Upgrades• Governance and workflow
    3. 3. Business objectives for a CMS• increase revenues• reduce operational costs / increase efficiency• reduce or eliminate risks• consolidate multiple platforms, manage increasing complexity• simplify governance processes, automate record- keeping and archival
    4. 4. A CMS is right and the features are real when yourorganization is using it every day.
    5. 5. User adoption
    6. 6. User adoption• Point out benefits and usefulness• Build training around user requirements / scenarios• Provide assurance of training and support from the beginning of your project• Start with pilot projects and promote success stories
    7. 7. CMS Developers
    8. 8. Support• support from the vendor: – annual fee of 20% of the licensing (negotiable!) for the life of ownership; – provided to a limited number of CMS administrators only; – insight into vendor’s own ‘tips and tricks’ and roadmap – escalate support requests to senior members of support team – provide instructions on how to reproduce the problem – mind the geographical location / working hours of the support team• support from implementation partner – tailored to project – pragmatic, down-to-earth, sceptical, with budgets in mind – expertise in related areas such as marketing and UX• developer communities – not always open, not always vibrant – many customers, if approached directly, willingly share their experiences
    9. 9. Trainingtype of training delivered by who forCMS product CMS vendor CMS administrators,training and CMS developers,certification power-usersProject-specific, CMS implementor Content contributors,scenario-based or in-house expert Web editors,training ApproversTime it right!
    10. 10. TrainingWhat I hear, I forget.What I hear and see, I remember a little.What I hear, see, and ask questions about or discuss withsomeone else, I begin to understand.What I hear, see, discuss, and do, I acquire knowledge and skill.What I teach to another, I master.Mel Silberman (1996)
    11. 11. Performance issues• internal performance (web editors)• external performance (website visitors)“The problem is with theimplementation, not theproduct” – vendors say...
    12. 12. Performance diagnosticsExamples:• Sitecore Performance Tuning Guide e_sc60-64-a4.pdf• Drupal Performance Tuning tuning• EPiServer CMS Performance Troubleshooting bleshooting.pptx
    13. 13. CachingCaching is difficult to implement properly.Things to consider:• Which pages should be cached• Cache full pages or page fragments• How to invalidate the cached data
    14. 14. Backup and Data Recovery You must be pretty angry at yourself right now for not doing the backup...
    15. 15. Content modelingDeane Barker,
    16. 16. Understanding content modelingDifferent content types are:• structured differently• edited and validated differently.• displayed differently.• managed differently.Content types often act as functional boundaries for:- Permissions- Workflow- Navigation- SearchDeane Barker,
    17. 17. Archival needsCMS versioning alone maynot fully address archivingand retrieval needs of alarge, regulatedorganisation
    18. 18. Ongoing development cost• Securing funding for Phase2 developments will depend on Phase1 success stories• Any new functionality / applications need to be developed with the CMS in mind (this usually implies extra development costs)
    19. 19. UpgradesThink carefully before you upgrade:• customisations• extensions• integration points• plugins• refresher training sessions No such thing as an easy upgradeSeek other customers who have by Irina Guseva http://www.realstorygroalready upgraded. such-thing-as-an-easy- upgrade-with-your-CMS
    20. 20. Governance and workflowCMS workflow functionality isrigid (linear, parallel...) while theprocess behind it is collaborativeand dynamic is one of the 8 CMS features customers wantbut never use
    21. 21. User access rights and permissions• restrictions by asset types• restrictions by admin functions• restrictions by folder• administrator access – managing more than one admin role in the organisation• beware of departmental silos• what happens when staff leave?
    22. 22. SummarySmooth running of a CMS requires:• effective training• user adoption• adequate funding for future development• technical expertise• content management skills• governance• commitment!
    23. 23. Thank you!Marianne KayWeb Strategist and Web CMS ConsultantEmail: marianne@mariannekay.comTwitter: @marianne_uaLinkedIn: