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Published on June 18th, 2010 | by Rahel Bailie

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CMS Facts and Myths, and Why Process is So Important

Earlier this week, I published a guest post on CMS Myth about the top ten claims (or misrepresentations) that CMS vendors make. The post arose from a discussion between me and two other long-time consultants on the trade show floor of a conference. We had been in separate sessions during the day, and heard various speakers – some of whom worked for software vendors – represented their software to the audience, and our ears pricked up as the familiar “check is in the mail” claims got sprinkled amongst the facts.

Of course, a presentation is just that. It’s generally an hour-long session, in which a speaker has to pick and choose their facts and explanations to fit within the time frame. Sometimes large issues get glossed over in order to fit in all the great material the speaker wants to present.

CMS-savvy people – internal staff to project stakeholders to consultants and everyone in between – know that there can be inadvertent, besides deliberate, misrepresentations of what a system can do. It’s often a mismatch between a system’s features and organizational needs, and often a mismatch between cost models and budget expectations. So how do you ensure that you’re not ¬†left holding the bag when the software vendor has left the building?

Process.

When you can explain to a vendor exactly what you need from a system – the scenarios and use cases – then you can get the vendor to demonstrate how their system will fulfill that need, how much it will cost for add-ons or customizations, how long it will take to accommodate all of this, and what impact all these will have on the maintenance after an upgrade or two. Without doing all of your homework first, you fall prey to the never-ending escalation of time, cost, and frustration as you discover the shortcomings of a misfit content management system.


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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,



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