There is no single content management product that fits all the needs of a company, so companies creating and/or procuring content management systems must first establish what functionality is most important to them. Select a vendor that has the features and functionality you need the most, then put its product through a thorough test-drive. It's critical that you expose your content management team (both technical and non-technical) to as many features as possible.
Prototyping remains the best way to test systems. Use a valid subset of your content and test to achieve specific, real-world goals and objectives. Take a small sample of content and run it all the way through your project lifecycle. Then, work through a half-dozen, real-life scenarios that will cause your content management team to attempt to implement changes with the software. Likely changes would include:
- Changing the templates for a redesigned consumer interface
- Adding two new content sources, with one source to include an external XML feed, such as news
- Prototyping to achieve some level of content personalization
- Implementing a simple content contributor function
- Tweaking the search interface and results interface
- Organizing content into a taxonomy using the automated classification tools provided
It's likely that you'll need the services of the vendor's professional services group to understand how to successfully implement some of these features. Better to understand what you are getting into up front. This will help you factor these ongoing expenses into your lifecycle maintenance budget.
You'll also discover, during this deep evaluation and prototyping effort, that there are functional areas where the vendor has not advanced or even begun development on specific features. This will let you determine what the vendor is hoping to accomplish in future releases, either via its own development efforts or through integration with best-of-breed, third-party alliance partners.
Since your content management requirements will only grow in scope and complexity, having a well-developed understanding of your needs and how to remain flexible in the face of future change is critical.
1 With third-partyTruArc product 2LiveLink provides interesting "workspaces," something other EDMS vendors are beginning to offer.
2 LiveLink provides interesting "workspaces," something other EDMS vendors are beginning to offer.
Sidebar: Enjoy Your Meal
Portal/content management vendors, which offer the "meal" capabilities, include those listed below. Please note this is an extremely volatile market, with many consolidations, mergers, and acquisitions. This constant churn quickly obsoletes any attempt at listing current vendors. This list further omits "component" vendors which may contribute features useful to vendors in this list.
Art Technology Group www.atg.com