Your organization has grown to the point where it's finally time for someone, likely you, to propose a Web Content Management System (Web CMS) and that usually means building a case for it.
The first step is building the case against a content management system.
Change is scary for any organization and with change comes resistance. Some people are more comfortable keeping the status quo and continuing to do things the way they’ve always been done. It’s the naysayers who you will actually help you. They will help you build the un-business case for a CMS.
A Web CMS is IT’s Problem
Make no mistake, not having a CMS is an enterprise problem. Your content is your brand and as such, it cannot be owned by one department. It’s shared by marketing, product, business, compliance, corporate communications, IT, HR and more. Believing a CMS should be one department’s problem, or solution, is greatly undervaluing the role of content at your company. It’s like saying that cutting operational costs is finance’s problem or that the company logo is the brand.
A CMS is Too Expensive
Implementing a CMS is not cheap, but a CMS can increase efficiency and productivity. Your current manual processes and systems are no match for a CMS that lets you create once and publish multiple times. Just find the most common updates your company makes to its site and how much time they take from start to finish. You’ll find most web content management systems can streamline and update your content much quicker. In fact, you can even find a Web CMS to automatically expire content, ie pricing or offers. If you really want to cut costs, then decentralize content creation and share the responsibility of updating. A CMS is often designed so anyone in the company can use it. from human resources to business.
Just because it can save money, doesn’t mean it can’t make money. Customers who can find content quickly or find content personalized to their needs don’t go looking to your competition for it. Need numbers to support this? Take a look at site traffic flow and note what users do and when users bail out and where they go. Ask your call centers what customers are saying or complaining about. Check out what emails or feedback you are getting or simply do some social listening.
We Can Create a CMS in House
If that were possible, it would have been done already. If it’s been done already, the system probably is not user friendly and the only people who can update it are the few that built it. Limited bandwidth to make changes reeks of longer development cycles.
In addition, most IT departments are working under the strain of their current workload and often outsource with vendors or contract workers. That money may be better spent implementing a scalable system that keeps you from being dependent on third parties.
We Won’t Have Control
Without a Web CMS, you don’t have control now and surely won’t have it in the future. Remember, content is no longer just images and words on pages. It’s everything that is seen and unseen. It’s video, pdfs, applications, banners, lead forms, tools, chat widgets, meta data for SEO, tags for targeting customer behavior, microsites and much more.
It’s in multiple channels like tablets and mobile and some of this content is generated by your customers in social spaces like blogs or twitter or product reviews. A CMS can help you maintain more control over content so you know where and what content you have and whether customers are finding that content.
Editor's Note: Also read Content Marketing: The Changing Role of the Web CMS
If It’s Not Broke, Don’t Fix It
Ask your business partners the following questions: Does your current site meet accessibility standards? Is it secure? If asked, can you produce an audit trail of content updates, who authored it, why and when? Is the brand and look of the site consistent across pages, microsites and other hosted applications? Is any of the content or pricing old? Do you have any broken links?
Today’s content management systems pack a big punch when you consider you can create once and publish everywhere. Unlike updating systems manually a CMS means you touch the content less, which lessens exposure to costly mistakes.
I Won’t Have a Job Any More
Some people fear a CMS because their job may no longer be needed. That's true. Their old current, obsolete job probably won’t be needed. Although, once a CMS is approved, the organization needs people to help evaluate and choose the right CMS for the organization, to help install the system, and migrate content.
In the future, the company needs people to maintain it with technical support, upgrades and patches in the future to enhance functionality, and user guides to teach new employees how it works. In fact, a new CMS can help employees expand their skills and make them more valuable to the organization than ever.
Installing a CMS Takes Too Long
It’s true. A Web CMS does take time to implement, but your organization is most likely burning a lot of time with daily manual updates or during the annual redesign. In fact, if you plan for a new CMS, you can avoid the biggest implementation mistakes. Also with a new CMS, you’re better prepared to analyze your content on a regular schedule to maintain only content the company really needs or customers really want.
So you’ve turned the tables on the business case. Watch as some of your naysayers turn the tables on you by becoming your biggest advocates. After being knee deep in the trenches with you, don’t be surprised if these negative nellies do a 360 and help you gain buy in now and support the adoption of the CMS, once it’s installed.
Editor's Note: Please welcome our newest columnists, Lori McNabb, who will be writing on the ever evolving web content management space.