The term ‘double-edged sword’ may have been created with content management systems (CMS) in mind. On one edge, they hold great promise for organisations in terms of their ability to create and manage content that is more accurate, less costly to produce, and more consistent in appearance. On the other, they can present a myriad of challenges in their implementation and acceptance by the people using them – and purchasing them. Let’s examine the challenges that a CMS presents, along with ways those challenges can be overcome…
Challenge #1: Control & Management
Perhaps the primary challenge with managing content (which, for the purposes of this article, is defined as an organisation’s ‘human readable’ information, representing about 80% of a company’s total information base), is that there’s little or no control around creating it in the first place. Content is produced by a range of people at every level of an organisation, with usually no control mechanisms over it.
Another issue is the way content has been managed over the years. A good example is financial information. Years ago people wrote their financials longhand on paper, then in ledgers. This was followed by spreadsheet software, which simulated the written ledger in the way it looked.
Soon thereafter, the 2nd generation of software arrived which allowed users to manipulate the information more creatively, followed by sophisticated financial management software. This evolution of systems for financial information, which took place some 15-20 years ago, has not taken place for other content. In fact the majority of common tools to create content (e.g., Word, Frame, etc.) have never moved from the paper simulation stage.
Word processors essentially replicated the function of typewriters, and while they have become more visual and feature-rich they’re fundamentally still doing the same thing: storing information as linear documents. CMS’s have been instrumental in moving content creation out of the paper simulation phase into the database stage, which can’t be duplicated in a paper format. Basically, it’s a revolution in the way content is managed and mirrors the evolution of financial software.
Posted by Paul Trotter, CEO, Author-it Software Corporation