Think you need a content management system of some kind, but aren't sure exactly? Well you probably aren't alone. And with what seems like hundreds of options available for content management products and services, knowing how to define your requirements and go about selecting a solution is critical.
InfoWorld has released a Test Center Guide for Content Management Systems to help you make that decision an informed one and hopefully the right one for your company.
Before you start, make sure you understand the difference between Enterprise Content Management(ECM) and a subset of it -- Web Content Management (WCM). There are few ECM vendors in play today due to a number of recent consolidations. But there is a much larger number of pure-play WCM vendors who offer fairly decent solutions.
According to the InfoWorld article there are five key questions you need to carefully think about:
# Does the CMS fit into your IT infrastructure? You are unlikely to put a Microsoft-based product into a Java environment, so know your IT infrastructure requirements and other technical requirements that will influence your decision.
# What features are most important? You won't find all the features you need in a single CMS - so go with the 80-20 rule: "Find the product with 80 percent of the functions most important to you using 20 percent of your overall budget".
# Will it play nice with your enterprise systems? Make sure the product provides an API that you can use to integrate the CMS with your other systems. Also look for other data interchange standards including XML, RSS, and Web services.
# What more can you get beyond the basics? What kind of add-on products does the vendor have/provide? Do they have an SDK for developing your own?
# How much will it cost? Ah, the age old question, how much does it cost and can you afford it. Look for all costs associated -- not just licensing.
The article also mentions a number of products that fit into different CMS categories, the likes of which include:
* Ektron CMS400.NET
* RedDot CMS for Web CMS, RedDot's Enterprise Content Management to add Document and Business Process Management, LiveServer for content mashups
* Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 WCM
* Sitecore CMS
* SDL's Tridion
* Day Software Communiqué
* FatWire Content Server 7
* Mediasurface's flagship Morello and Immediacy
* Hosted services such as CrownPeak CMS and Clickability * Open source CMSes such as Alfresco, Drupal, Joomla! and others
Most of the information provided in this article is standard requirements review for understanding your true requirements (both business and technical) and making the right product selection.
Read the full article for more information.
And if you want some additional information, see my article on Suite101.com: "Do You Need Content Management:5 Questions To Answer Before You Invest Time and Money into a CMS".