When Tony Byrne, founder of CMS Watch speaks, people listen. Education Web professionals, especially.
At Monday's Education Web Professional National Conference, a packed house of web professionals serving public, private and independent schools in the Mid-Atlantic region (and beyond) convened to talk content management. As the keynote speaker, Tony had the authority and the crowd's utmost attention to take on the issue of enterprise content management, all that it involves and all that it doesn't.
To say that content management is a force to be reckoned with is an understatement -- especially when the conference attendees come from varying backgrounds, budgets and support. Selecting the right CMS can be daunting and without proper guidance, you'll soon figure out that not all CMSs are created equal. It's a "fragmented marketplace," indeed.
Understand The User's Purpose
Tony guided our wayward souls through the six, seven and sometimes eight pillars of SharePoint Moss 2007. He probed us to question portals and to constantly redefine the meaning of "easy to use" by evaluating the needs of our users.
By focusing on "fitness to purpose" -- that is understanding the user's purpose -- it will soon be clear as to what type of functionality your CMS will need to include.
Make Use of Narratives to Define Requirements
When choosing a CMS vendor, he encouraged us to use narratives to convey our needs, rather than listing reqs and specs. Humanizing the CMS experience makes it easier for others, be it vendors, customers or CIOs to understand its importance.
When selecting a CMS it's vital to have the opportunity to take a test drive: kick the tires, honk the horn and see how it handles tight corners. Invite vendors to go tête-à-tête. A CMS duel --if you will -- can demonstrate the merits and pitfalls in real time.
Finally, Tony espoused CMS wisdom: web and enterprise content management don't just exist to add content to your site. When used effectively, they make it possible for your content to add value to the enterprise.