How to Get More Mileage Out of Your WCM System

Dec 10, 2015


BEST PRACTICES SERIES

So you're ready to buy that car of your dreams. You do the research, make sure it has all the gadgets you need, test-drive it, and sign the contract. Then you need to plan for maintenance, upgrades, gas, dealing with scrapes and dings, and parking. Selecting and maintaing a CMS is similar-especially if you want to get more mileage out of it.

Drive responsibly-After the selection phase, it's time to implement, maintain, and customize. This process should involve input from various groups, and web content management (WCM) success hinges on how well the implementation goes. If one of your initial requirements was "easy to use," then you should take this into account during the implementation and rollout phases.

Don't let yourself go through many phases of the implementation only to realize that users find the CMS far too complicated.

Objects may appear closer-In the era of fast-moving business processes and demanding customers, your organization may be leaning toward a big-bang approach. Don't do that. WCM is not a simple endeavor, but it can be effective with proper planning.

 While you should have a big vision, you should think in terms of "start small, go far." Take an agile approach and accomplish smaller projects faster to show ROI to the person who helped you fund the purchase. Another useful methodology is KISS (keep it simple, stupid), which allows you to carry out incremental, project-based, departmental, or line-of-business implementations.

Fuel it-There are times when CMS implementations happen at organizations that are not used to having holistic content management practices. Therefore, the web operations layer in those organizations is probably a lot thinner than at more mature digital-experience-focused organizations.

 If you don't have enough-and, most importantly, the right-people to fill in the digital experience operations holes, hire them. Developers are likely not the best staffers to do your SEO. Content strategists, information architects, data gurus, campaign managers, content marketers, and user experience teams are all vital parts to a successful WCM project. They have to be present in the overall digital strategy process either internally or externally.

If taxonomy, Big Data, or analytics is a new field for your organization, hire a specialist. You don't go to a butcher to change your tires, so why would you put taxonomy design and management on your developer's plate? A CMS tool is not a replacement for the human value that different people in your organization bring to the holistic process of digital experience management.

Don't idle-A WCM system is the foundation for your innovative digital experience management strategy. Planned innovation will allow you to distance yourself from competition and create value for your brand. However, this will not happen without a good content management strategy. By "strategy," I do not mean a checklist of desired features, but a holistic look at overall content and digital experience management practices, coupled with your organization's specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and business goals.

 If your content is being reused across multiple channels, you will need to consider not only how to best display that content using specific templates, but also how to optimize your content for target personas and deliver the right content, at the right time, in the right place, to the right person.

In short, a lot of it has to do with innovation, plus continuous measurement, refinement, and optimization for your content. You never stop. Your WCM system never stops. If you find yourself in the "deploy and forget it" stage, you need to put more power into your WCM project-implementing the CMS is only the beginning of getting to your ultimate goal.

Get a good mechanic-Finally, make sure you have the right partner by your side. Whether implementation-, strategy-, or content-production-related, there are right partners for every kind of job. However, your task is to find them, evaluate them, and use them to get the most mileage out of your WCM.