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Selecting a CMS Vendor - Articles Surfing
With so many mid-tier content management system vendors vying for market share, it's important to look for unique selling points (USPs) and specialist expertise that fits your requirements.
When a market sector becomes awash with choice, it can be hard to differentiate between the USPs of your shortlist of vendors. This is currently the case with the mid-tier content management system (CMS) marketplace, where products range from web CMS solutions to enterprise CMS offerings.
Web CMS solutions are built to drive websites - incorporating features for capacity planning, site design and layout, content development, production, content delivery, session tracking, and site evolution. The core focus of these products is to empower business users, webmasters and website developers to create and manage their website content.
But today's web CMSs are rapidly evolving to embrace enterprise content management systems (ECMs). These provide the strategic "glue" for enterprise content, helping to integrate multiple back-end processes and data stores, with multiple customer-facing applications. Meanwhile, the front-end customer-facing applications could include e-commerce, sales automation, customer relationship management, supply chain management, or an employee portal, for example.
With many mid-tier CMS solutions jockeying for position in the marketplace today, what should information professionals look for when choosing a system?
At a technical level it comes down to products being industry standard, easy to integrate into a heterogeneous IT environment, and scalable - independent of delivery requirements and without incurring major incremental costs. They should also be able to deliver content to end-users in a variety of ways, and be capable of supporting multi-lingual websites.
The ability to customise the solution to meet specific business needs is also key, as is ease of use and efficiency, in terms of content reuse across multiple channels. Content reuse capabilities are essential to enable organisations to improve knowledge worker productivity and avoid creating content chaos. Products should also offer the right balance in terms of rich, out-of-the-box functionality, rapid implementation and easy ongoing administration by IT.
Information professionals should also look for CMS vendors that offer good content collaboration tools. These are invaluable since they improve knowledge sharing and teamwork, including project collaboration capabilities using facilities such as discussion forums, bulletin boards, team calendars, to-do lists and file-sharing.
These features and strategies will guarantee a flexible, extensible CMS development platform that can grow with the business.
But the system has to be affordable too, which is when you need to consider total cost of ownership. In terms of ROI, look for an affordable services contract tied to short implementation timeframes. That's why we've been enjoying our use of a new and many-featured content management system called Traffic King Pro. More info here: http://www.traffickingproducts.com.
Obviously, CMS vendors should be financially sound, with a track record in the appropriate sector. But they should also be culturally sensitive - an offshore vendor is fine provided its solution has been appropriately adapted to cater for the European market, and it can offer good, local support.
Information professionals should also look for a vendor of a similar size to their own organisation, so as to maintain their influence on issues such as support. Of course, this is not always necessary, or even possible - witness the option of buying Microsoft's Content Management Server. Microsoft's CMS may not fit all needs, despite being the brand of the moment, while the vendor dwarfs most users.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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