Following the Content Audit Trail in a CMS

Content audit trails are critical in regulated organizations, but they can also come in handy for any organization that has a need to track down specific content versions or changes. What changes were made to the content? Who made the changes? When were the changes made? Who approved it? Why were the changes made? Unlike file systems or word processing files, all of this detailed information can be easily found if content is stored and maintained in an XML content management system.

Here are a few tips for using a CMS content audit trail to quickly get the historical information needed about a content component, topic, or document:

Compare the old stuff.

In a content management system, every change made to content automatically creates a new version of historical data. Versions record every change made to content and “whodunit,” and stamps it with a date and time. You can also create a version on demand and label it with a name that will enable you to quickly find that specific version in the future. With these versions, you can easily compare two versions to see the differences and trace the chain of editorial events.

Let the CMS do the talking.

A business content management system audit makes use of the system-generated metadata. Using advanced searching, you can find content that: was last edited by a specific user, was last edited on/before a certain date, contains specific terms or phrases, etc. Or, you can use a combination of multiple criteria in your search routine to find content that you’re looking for.

Follow the reuse road.

By using a CMS to create an audit trail, you’ll also have the capability to reuse content. The CMS keeps track of every reuse instance of a content component or module. Use features such as Where Used and Referenced By to follow the reuse path of any given piece of content. You can also use Branching to trace the reuse and modifications made to similar content.

Track everyone in the process.

A CMS with built-in Collaborative Review tracks the activity in a review cycle. This feature automatically tracks all suggested changes and discussions made by the reviewers, and what was accepted or rejected by the editor in the final content update — all time/date-stamped for future reference. Use this information to trace pertinent actions taken on content.

Go with the flow.

A CMS content audit trail makes it easier to determine why things happened, not just when they happened. Use the CMS’s built-in workflow and project management capabilities to review the production cycles and find comments and documentation related to the actions taken in the workflow. You may find important notes on reasons why users took certain actions or didn’t perform assigned tasks.

Contact us to learn more about CMS content audits for business.

No matter what type of business you operate, a content management system from Vasont Systems can help you establish an easy-to-follow audit trail. We provide CMS solutions for companies in diverse industries such as manufacturing, financial, healthcare, government and defense, publishing, and technology.

Call us at 717-764-9720 or visit our website for help in getting started with your content management strategy.