We often hear people say that they are going to implement a component content management system (CCMS) with the expectation that it is going to solve all of their problems. While a content management system can solve many problems, the system is only as good as what goes into it. For example, if you put poorly structured XML content into the system, it cannot magically make well-formed XML; you will have problems. It’s the old “trash in, trash out“ syndrome. But there are things you can do to prepare for a smooth content management implementation. Here are a few helpful CCMS implementation/preparation tips:
Scrub your content.
While scrubbing your content requires some additional time and effort upfront, this essential CCMS preparation step will make the transition to the content management system environment much easier. Clean up your content so it loads more easily into the content management system. Fix all inconsistencies and typos in the content for a cleaner conversion. Make sure that the same elements are typed in the same way—for example, don’t type a procedure as paragraphs in one instance and as a table in another instance. Look for reuse opportunities—i.e., duplicate or similar content—and consolidate it to one version to minimalize your content base. Cleaning up your content as much as possible while it is still in its unstructured format will save you money in conversion costs, and down the road, it will save in translation and publishing costs, too.
Implement good writing practices.
Getting all of your content writers on the same page will enable more consistent CCMS results. Train the writing team to follow the same guidelines. Create a style guide or use an existing standard writing style for consistent authoring. Use templates to ensure all writers follow the same structure for the documentation. As you convert from the “book“ paradigm to the “topic“ method of writing, it will be beneficial if writers are already creating content in a consistent manner since they will be sharing and reusing each other’s content in the content management system.
Set the expectations.
As with the introduction of any new business system, there will be an adjustment period when you implement a CCMS. Educating your staff should be a key aspect of your CCMS preparation process. Hold meetings and provide information to the writing team about what they should expect. Since the content management system will likely change the way they are currently working, it is important to communicate the changes that will affect them so they are ready for it. If the writers are surprised at the last minute by the changes, the transition will likely be more difficult.
Plan your processes.
A content management system is most effective when its processes are aligned with your departmental and organizational goals. If you plan to use the content management system’s workflow, evaluate and plan your processes carefully before you implement them. Remember, the system is only as good as what you put in it, so create processes to implement in the workflow feature that will accomplish your goals effectively.
Contact us for more useful CCMS implementation tips.
Vasont Systems has more than a quarter century of experience in the development and implementation of content management systems for businesses in a wide range of industries. We can provide valuable CCMS preparation advice for publishing, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, financial, and government and defense entities. Call us at 717-764-9720 or visit our website for help in getting started with your content management strategy.