Eliminate Content Management System BottlenecksPrint This Post
In a time when the enterprise is obsessed with agility, nothing is more frustrating to a wider cross-section of people than operational and technical bottlenecks in web content management (WCM) that delay marketing campaigns, e-business programs, and the publishing of digital content—not to mention preventing IT from focusing on their own strategic projects.
Freeing IT to Focus on the Business
Battle-tested IT groups have wisely implemented workflow processes for the publishing of new content and microsites and for the integration of third-party technologies, having seen the havoc that can result from even seemingly minor changes to an enterprise content management system (CMS) and its associated resources.
Yet IT heads are justifiably concerned when their most talented people spent the majority of their time answering trouble tickets instead of focusing on higher-level initiatives like learning-path projects or business-process automation.
If your organization is evaluating new options in digital content management systems, it’s helpful to consider how these issues can be resolved with mature, enterprise-focused web content management systems.
Curing Change-Management Pain
You may have heard WCM vendors talk about how content deployment times can be compressed from weeks to days or even down to a single day. Mature WCM solutions most definitely do enable this, but, in point of fact, nearly any CMS could do the same. The difference lies in the risk of doing so on a legacy system.
If you’re using a legacy CMS, there’s no way around the fact that nearly any change makes both content and infrastructure vulnerable. Aimed at eliminating risk, the quality assurance (QA) and release process is time-consuming and typically involves replicating changes across multiple databases and multiple complex environments.
Adding to the complexity, many systems architects are forced to deal with independent factions within their organizations who have “gone rogue” and produced websites or microsites on their own, exponentially complicating the process of deploying new content, new websites, or migrating to a new CMS.
Architecture as Destiny
Your content management system shouldn’t be the controller of the infrastructure around it; instead, it should be an enabling platform. Newer and more robust web content management (WCM) systems make the process of updating content, changing workflows and templates, deploying new sites, integrating new technologies, and even evolving to the latest version of the WCM itself much simpler than on legacy systems. However, there are differences in architecture that can have a significant impact on how easy upgrading the CMS and deploying content changes will be.
With on-premise or legacy systems, the QA/release process for developers typically involves:
- Installing, setting up, and configuring the application, database, and runtime environment (Java, .NET, PHP)
- Synchronizing databases and managing the content versioning/staging process
- Dealing with content delivery and hosting integration
- Managing performance, scalability, and capacity issues
- Creating and running a disaster recovery process.
Hosted WCM and CMS solutions seem to promise a reduction in IT involvement, but in fact, depending on whether a system is simply hosted at a service provider’s site or truly software delivered as a service (SaaS), the same pain points may exist as with on-premise CMS solutions.
With a WCM that is merely hosted and not SaaS in the precise sense of the term, the architectural model is likely to require that the application logic be coupled with the data it controls. Because they’re joined, every time the software is upgraded, the content management system has to be redeployed for each customer and all of the previous customizations must be re-implemented. These two facts will require additional time and expenses before the updated software can go live.
A content management system that separates itself from the content-delivery environment drastically simplifies and secures both upgrades/updates to the system itself, but also to content and programs being deployed.
Safely Empowering Content Producers
On the creation side, when evaluating digital content management solutions, it’s important to ensure that workflows can be mapped closely to your governance policy. Just as crucial is the ability to provide an authoring interface that’s not only secure, but productive for non-technical team members.
When content owners and strategists can work swiftly within a secure environment without worry of affecting complex and interdependent areas of infrastructure, programs and initiatives are launched quickly and within corporate guidelines, IT’s workload is lightened, and the business as a whole benefits from increased agility.