Expert Tips on Implementing an Enterprise Content Management System

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On implementing and installing

If you have not implemented a CMS, don’t try to do it on your own. Seek guidance from a consulting partner who has an established methodology that covers the full project lifecycle. There are many smaller firms that specialize in this technology and can help you avoid the common pitfalls that you will fall into if you are new to implementing a CMS. — Philip Kurinsky

Start with one project; when it is successful, expand your implementation. Don’t try to do it all in one shot. — Suzanne Mescan

Find ways to keep critical writing and publishing on track during implementation; for example, we used a Microsoft Word template that matched our model to keep a critical piece of the writing moving forward, and then when we had the system up we were able to convert and load the new content into the CMS fairly easily. — Sue Wear

The first project was a pilot. We picked the strongest people in writing, editing, planning, production, and translation to participate in this project. They helped us find the areas that needed to be improved before we fully implemented. — Teresa Welch

ECM is very much a “garbage in/garbage out” type of endeavor and an ECM project is only as good as the content to which it is providing access. Therefore, the best investment an organization can make to improve the accuracy and quality of its content is to invest in trained writers and editors. The role of editor is particularly critical since they not only ensure the content is of good quality, but they are also process managers who ensure that the content is both written, reviewed, and approved in a timely manner. — Joshua Cohen

Take an inventory of the content you will be migrating into the system very early in the project cycle. Content migration and cleaning could be the biggest single risk in your project plan. Evaluate the migration tools for the CMS as part of the vendor-evaluation process and create a budget for this. — Mark Suster

Don’t skimp on the transition phase for your CMS system. Scalability for large installations may require a few passes on just how much hardware is required to support simultaneous content creation and production. Always try to have at least two servers for production—preferably with mirrored disk arrays—one of which will act as the server for authoring and workflow control and the other for serving up content in the production environment. Monitor traffic growth carefully and be ready to have additional mirrored servers available for capacity as required. — John Blossom

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