Top Tips: Choosing and implementing a web content management system

Top tips on how to choose and implement a web content management system

[image_library_tag 3c323345-2cf4-4fe5-9977-2976f9012a76 200x267 alt="22-07-2015-choosing-and-implementing-a-web-content-management-system" title="22-07-2015-choosing-and-implementing-a-web-content-management-system" width="200" height="267"class="left "]Greg Murray is Client Services Director at Priocept, and is responsible for service delivery and oversight of Priocept’s client relationships. Greg has over fifteen years’ experience of large scale internet development projects including content management, e-commerce and web systems integration, combined with many years’ experience of operational roles both at Priocept and at his previous agency, AKQA.

Greg specialises in assisting clients with the definition and delivery of complex internet technology projects including the coordination of multi-vendor project teams, and has led the rollout of large development programmes for companies such as Lloyd’s of London, London Stock Exchange, Virgin Mobile, GlaxoSmithKline and The British Council.

Greg shares his top tips on how to choose and implement a web content management system.

Selecting a new technology solution to power your website can be a daunting proposition.  With so many Web Content Management (WCM) software vendors, products and implementers in the marketplace, it is difficult to know which is best for your business or indeed how to even get started. So here are our top five tips for a successful WCM implementation.

Choose the right implementation partner - Whilst choosing the right WCM software product is important, it is crucial to have a trusted and reliable implementer working alongside you throughout the selection process, the implementation phase and the ongoing support and enhancement of the system.   Your WCM project will live or die by the quality of the implementation, not just because a particular software product is chosen.

Decouple the selection of the WCM software from the choice of the supplier you want to build your solution. Choose a supplier with WCM implementation experience across a number of different products and platforms as they will be able to give you the level of vendor neutrality and real world development experience needed to make an informed product selection.

Think ‘platform’ not ‘product’ - Your new WCM system will be at the core of everything you do online.  Think of your WCM project as the foundation on which you will build your digital products and services which will become increasingly sophisticated over time.   Your WCM project is no longer about “building a new website”, it is about building a flexible production development platform which is capable of adapting to changing business requirements and delivering new digital products and services to your customers.

As such, you should select a WCM solution which provides an easy and well supported route to customisation and further development.  Try to avoid anything which is not built on mainstream, industry standard technologies.  Any WCM package that is so proprietary that it can only be implemented, customised or supported by the people that created it in the first place, should be avoided like the plague.

Don’t jump into a purchase decision - There is a tendency for businesses to engage software vendors too early in their selection process, often before they have even properly worked out their core requirements for the new system.

Take some time to capture the detailed requirements which are specific to your business and the required functionality.  The requirements should capture the expectations you will have on the system from a functional perspective and also the commercial and operational aspects such as: price point (total cost of ownership), industry adoption, ease of access to appropriately skilled developer resources and support services, product roadmap, etc.

Each of your requirements should then be weighted by importance and these will form the evaluation criteria by which you can then use to score and compare the WCM solutions you wish to evaluate. 

Involve stakeholders from across the business in the selection and build process - Your WCM project is not just another project to be run and delivered by your IT department.  The solution should transform the way in which the business is able to interact with customers and the type of products and services it can offer and so the project should be led by those closest to the end customer and the overall business objectives.

The real owners of the system will be the product managers and content editors and so getting their buy-in as advocates and champions of the new system will ensure successful adoption.

Don’t forget about the content - The success of a WCM implementation project rarely comes down to simply choosing the right technology.  More important is the ability for a business to produce and maintain engaging and useful content that supports the end products or services that you are offering to your customers.

Ensure that your new WCM platform empowers individuals within your business, allowing and encouraging them to create high quality content, and ensure that it makes every aspect of content generation a straightforward, enjoyable and rewarding process, not an ongoing battle with yet another frustrating or confusing IT system.  A better content editing and content management experience for your internal users will result in better content and therefore a better user experience for your end customers.

Although WCM selection can be unnerving, our tips hopefully help demystify the process. Providing you can stick to these golden rules – identifying a WCM system that’s built for longevity; placing as much importance on including the right stakeholders and implementation partners as you do on the product itself; figuring out your business’s specific needs upfront; and maximising on your new investment by using engaging content – you will find your business has a customer-friendly website that’s fit for today’s content-dominated landscape.