By Gerry McGovern Most organizations don't need content management software. Unless you have a very busy website with lots and lots of content being published, the return on investment is not there. The majority of those who do require such software need a very simple, streamlined solution.The following are common pitfalls that companies make when buying content management software: * Don't place blind belief in technology * Don't underestimate change management issues * Don't put IT in charge of the purchase process * Develop a proper business case * See information as the real asset DON'T PLACE BLIND BELIEF IN TECHNOLOGY Technology is great but it's not God. Right now, we're being told that technology alone is responsible for all the increased productivity over the last five years. It contributed, as did longer working hours and more efficient work practices. Unfortunately, too many people still have a blind belief that if you just buy the technology, you'll solve the problem. Despite all the investment in customer relationship management software, less than 40 percent of sales executives feel that their organization collects customer data in a predictable and reliable manner. This is according to a recent survey by Miller Heiman. DON'T UNDERESTIMATE CHANGE MANAGEMENT ISSUES Unless the people who create content buy into the content management software, you won't have much success. Remember, the better the writer, the more techno phobic they are. What is "user friendly" to a programmer can be a nightmare to an author. The specification of content management software should begin with the author. These are the people who will be using it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, they are often the last people to be considered. DON'T PUT IT IN CHARGE OF THE PURCHASE PROCESS Content management is primarily a communications challenge. It should be managed by those with a communications/marketing expertise. IT should be involved in the purchase process. It should not, however, drive the process. Content management is about getting the right content to the right person at the right time at the right cost. That's a publishing challenge. An editor should be in charge. DEVELOP A BUSINESS CASE What is the return on investment? Where will be the increased productivity and profits? "Websites often bear an unfortunate resemblance to the Balkans-no one likes how the turf has been divided, and fire fights may erupt at any moment," states CIO magazine. "Marketing has one axe to grind, engineering has another, and that self-styled Web expert with a "C" title has yet another." So what does CIO propose to solve this problem? "Deploy a content management system (CMS) and stay as far away from the melee as possible." SEE INFORMATION AS THE REAL ASSET How can a magazine that claims to speak to chief information officers make such a ridiculous, surreal recommendation? It could only happen in an environment where information is seen as a commodity. There is a shift happening today with regard to how IT is seen. Historically, technology has been the asset and information, the commodity. We are now seeing the commoditization of technology. Finally, information is being seen as the asset. Technology can enable content to be more efficiently published. It requires smart people to decide what to publish, who to publish it to, how to create it, and when to publish. Technology is the commodity. Information is the asset, and people create and publish this asset. --- Gerry McGovern, a content management author and consultant, has spoken, written and consulted extensively on writing for the web and web content management issues since 1994. He has also authored several authoritative books on the subject. Subscribe to Gerry McGovern's weekly newsletter