Mistakes to Avoid When Selecting a Content Management System

Once your company understands the need for a content management system, the foremost decision you have to make is picking content management systems that fit your needs. While many people are tangled in the fine details of what expectations they require their CMS to fulfill, you cannot lose sight of your main intention and the progress you need to reach your goals. These issues are the most common mistakes companies make while choosing their content management system and with a few precautions, you can avoid these mistakes and get the perfect content management system to fit your needs.

Thinking that more expensive is better

While many people would think that if something has a higher cost then it should show a better performance. However repeatedly, content management systems have shown that there are is no association in price and performance. A CMS that runs a bit more money but offers a large variety of options may seem like a great choice, but if most of those options end up not being used money ends wasted.  When selecting a content management system first identify your business requirements and find the simplest CMS that will meet your needs.

Not knowing current content management issues

If this is a company first time in selecting a CMS, they may not understand what they should expect from a content management system. A company should research which features are available in the CMS products they are choosing. They should know what is the process is to implement the specific content management systems.  Additionally, knowing any common issues or bugs within the CMS products will help the company make a final choice.

Not understanding the features needed from the CMS 

Rushing to buy the newest CMS technology without re searching the features they need beforehand is bound to happen in some companies but this can be avoided by understanding what they need before purchasing.  A few steps of preparation should start with creating an intranet or website strategy and identifying any design issues with the website. Once you know what your needs and goals are, you can identify what functions you need your content management system to accomplish.

Most of these mistakes can be avoided simply by using common sense and a bit of extra research when selecting a content management system. Understand that you need a CMS that will satisfy your company’s needs while being simple enough for you to use on a regular basis.

Using Intranet for Enterprise Content Management

If you are thinking about improving your enterprise content management by introducing a new intranet strategy or just revising the one you have, it’s important to start with a solid plan.

First, decide what you want your intranet to accomplish. What kind of information will it relay? What value will it provide to employees? How will it benefit the company as a whole?

Answering these questions will help you determine how to set up your system and what content should be included on your intranet. This might include human resources policies, IT support information, employee contact info, company news and announcements.

As you plan, try to keep things as simple as possible. If your intranet site is too complex, employees may be intimidated or discouraged from utilizing the site or contributing to it. Think about what you really need to include, and leave out anything that seems superfluous. Seek input from end users as well as those who will be contributing content for the site.

Once you’ve developed your system, you need to create a maintenance plan to keep the content fresh and up to date. Employees won’t use an intranet that is never updated. You may be able to use an automated system, and/or you can assign staff members to create new material and manage all the content published on the site. As you develop your intranet, try to use interfaces that are familiar to those who will be creating, editing and publishing content. Set things up so that it’s as easy as possible for them to contribute and update information.

When you roll out a new intranet or make any major changes, it is key that you take the time to instruct and train employees about how to get the most benefit from the site. Be sure to relay the benefits and goals for the intranet, and be open to any questions or feedback.

Four Open Source Content Management Systems

engage your community – unconference © by Br3nda

Open source software has opened the door to a world of opportunity for small to middle sized business organizations that have interest in using content management systems. CMS software allows organizations to publish content from different users, disparate sources and locations in an organized manner.

The four open source content management systems that have currently gained the most traction include WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento. All of these tools have strengths that will allow an organization to leverage itself over a wider scale on the internet.

What each may mean to you:

WordPress: The WordPress CMS is highly regarded and widely used for search engine friendly architecture. Many pre-built plug-ins and templates are available free- of- charge and a huge array of paid templates are available from developers worldwide. Their architecture and template system has proven itself to be a safe and reliable, easy- to- use CMS tool

Joomla:  Is a tool with a more complex back end infrastructure than WordPress. Like WordPress, there are many available templates such as flashing of news stripes, calendars, blogs, polls conduction and the like, including the integration of RSS feeds.  Joomla features an object oriented programming that for the beginning user may require a longer learning period. Joomla is currently being used as the platform for sites large and small and provides a very usable tool for   social media platforms.

Drupal:  provides easy to understand workflow tools, integration with social media platforms and a multilevel menu system that is currently being used as the back-end tool in about 1.5 percent of web sites worldwide. Drupal features a search engine friendly URL tool that can be used to strengthen SEO across your web site.

Magento: is owned by Ebay and features e-commerce integration tools, catalog management features and order management tools, all items that one would expect from a company with a vast knowledge and background in e-commerce. If you plan to conduct e-commerce features like shopping carts, the Magneto platform is certainly something that your company or organization will want to investigate.

The Evolution of Web Content Management

We are beginning to see a convergence of the web content management and the web experience market. This will lead to further integration of tools that are usedfor social media management. This is a result of websites that are converting to the use of APIs for engaging users instead of content that will be loading from a content management system. An article on the San Francisco Chronicle explains how web content management is evolving.

“The Web Experience Management (WEM) and Web Content Management (WCM) markets are quickly converging making vendors pay close attention to integrating social management tools, according to two new research reports from Info-Tech Research Group.”

The increasing use of mobile devices has led to apps being used to improve the customer experience of a business. This has led to a decreasing importance of where content is displayed on a web page. Content will need to be formatted from a standard website to one created for mobile devices. Mobile apps and mobile website needs have led to a decrease in web content importance and an increase in user experience.

Businesses need to see this as the shifting of focus. Users are more likely to care about apps used for their device, then the underlying software. The same is true for computer users who use a specific browser and do not care about the type of operating system. This is a change in philosophy that will be the future of how a user experiences content on the web.

The way that web content management is evolving means that a business is able take advantage of this new landscape. A business is now able to extend the online awareness of their brand to the mobile web and social media.

Managing Your Data Responsibly and Effectively

Successful companies treat stored data as an asset and therefore take steps to manage it well. Data can give any business an edge over its competition, provided they can store and leverage it with confidence and competence. Well-managed data possesses three main qualities: accuracy, security, and proper usage.

Even the most accurate data ages poorly. Because old data will waste resources and potentially alienate the customer, businesses must engage in regular and reliable data cleansing and profiling. Data cleansing describes the process of creating and maintaining accurate, relevant, and streamlined information. Data profiling functions as a pre-requisite to cleansing by making by compiling statistics from the company’s existing data sources. An in-depth data profile can identify anomalies and outliers as well as provide tags, keywords, and categories.

Once the data profile has granted an understanding of the data’s composition, the business is in the ideal position to engage in data cleansing. The process of cleansing involves four steps:

  • Field Formatting – Serves as a means to standardize terms and format, avoiding unwieldy and inconsistent formatting.
  • Component Partitioning – Further refines standardization by breaking data into smaller chunks such as names, purchasing history, contact information, etc. This enhances quality automation.
  • Content Checks – Act as a safeguard against improperly defined fields and erroneous data.
  • Duplicate Removal – Deletion of duplicate data sets to improve efficiency.

The processes of data profiling and cleansing should repeat as necessary, though the exact timeframe will vary according to a company’s needs and its data’s nature. As an additional safeguard, businesses can employ a data quality firewall to validate new data upon entry.

Businesses naturally seek to protect data assets without compromising performance and so employ both internal and external security measures. While there exist many options for server security, data tends to be more vulnerable to internal threats like disgruntled employees, lost access keys, or lax usage policies. While these threats cannot be eliminated, businesses can mitigate them by using and enforcing a central point of authorization.

The final point of proper data management involves its proper use, otherwise known as data governance. Good governance clearly dictates the company’s set of rules regarding data usage. These rules cover elements like inter-departmental sharing rules, data privacy regulations, frequency of updates and maintenance and assignment of teams to those tasks, and data monitoring, among others. Large enough companies will often create a Data Steward position to guard against unsound practices and ensure proper use.

Accurate, safe, and adequately governed data can reduce operational costs while giving the company a competitive edge over its rivals. Data forms as much as a company asset as finances and personnel, and like any asset, it requires nurturing, protection, and attention to be of any use.

Image credit: cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by kenteegardin

For more information about business intelligence solutions, visit Magenic who have been one of the leading software development companies providing innovative custom software development to meet unique business challenges for some of the most recognized companies and organizations in the nation.

What to Look for in a Web Content Management System

For running any business, having a degree of control over the various aspects of the business is very important. In the same manner for running a website as well, having a degree of control over the authoring and administrative tools of the website is necessary especially if the website is of a small business company. A WCMS or Web Content Management System can provide a website owner all the administrative powers he wants to regularize and manage the content authoring and collaboration activities taking place on the website.  The following are some of the important features that must be looked out for in a web content management system for a small business.

Quick Installation

The first and most important feature to look out for in a WCMS of a small business is quick installation. Since the small businesses do not have the time to wait for a slow content management system to take months in getting ready to be used, therefore, they must look for a CMS software program that can be installed quickly and can be put to work immediately.

SEO Capabilities

The second feature that must be present in a Web Content Management System is built-in SEO tools. The software programs that have these tools make it a lot easier for the website owners to optimize their websites in the best possible manner so that they are ranked highly on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and can get noticed by potential customers.

Plug-in for Social Networking

The third most sought after feature in a WCMS for a small business is a plug-in for social networking services. Since the social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have become an important part of the lives of people, having a plug-in on the website that can allow them to link the website with their Facebook and Twitter accounts can rope in a lot of traffic for the website.

Powerful Tools

The fourth feature that a Web Content Management System must possess in order for it to become useful for small businesses is a powerful set of tools. A management system that provides advanced tools in addition to the standard tools and options provided by other CMS softwares can really help a small business company website in getting ranked highly on SERPs.

Multimedia Functionalities

The fifth feature that must be present in a WCMS is an abundance of multimedia functionalities. A CMS offering audio, video and slideshow functions can really help a website owner in making his site more interactive and appealing for a viewer.

Blogging Option

The sixth feature that a WCMS must have is a blogging option for the users. This blogging option is going to provide the website owner to keep updating the content on his website and keeping hold of the customer’s attention.

Help Documents

Help documents or modules are the seventh feature that a good Web Content Management System must provide its users. These help files must be very expansive and should provide a step-by-step guide to the users for navigating the tools and options of the software.

Top Five Tips for Selecting a Content Management System

Selecting a content management system (CMS) is a key step in the successful management of any company.  However, the market is flooded with an overwhelming amount of technologies available. Although selecting a CMS should follow a well-developed strategy, there are some important considerations to review first. Consider our top five tips for selecting a CMS.

  1. Conduct a needs analysis.  You must first understand the purpose of the CMS.  Outline your organization’s business needs and goals. Create a strategy for your website and/or intranet, and identify what functionality your site(s) should have.  Be careful not to rush this stage.  Clearly identifying your needs will ensure you will make a wise purchase decision.
  2. Consider the technical aptitude of your staff.  There’s always a learning curve with any new technology. However, if you end up purchasing a CMS that is difficult for your content staff to navigate, productivity will decrease and your IT team will be overloaded with help tickets. Evaluate how much IT support you can afford to give and how much your content staff needs to be able to handle on their own.
  3. Know what questions to ask.  Evaluate each CMS by asking the important questions.  Can you automatically get your existing content into the new CMS? What parts of the CMS can be modified and what must stay “as is” out of the box? How many users can access it at once?
  4. Align CMS goals with your website strategy.  What you want to do with your website is key to what CMS you select.  You must balance between a CMS that is not too complicated for end users, but is sophisticated enough to handle your website needs.
  5. Don’t overbuy. Bigger is not always better. The more money you spend, the higher the risk of the project. While some companies may need the most expensive system out there, many do not. Consider a CMS with the functionality you need.  Balance this evaluation with future goals.

Six Tips For Extranet Success

An extranet is a private website that is used by employees and other people that are associated with a specific company. This site is similar to a company’s intranet in many different ways. The only thing that separates extranet from the intranet is the fact that extranet can be accessed remotely as well. Intranet can only be accessed when employees are physically inside of the company’s quarters whom they are working for.

Having some type of extranet set up for your small business will simplify data management, communication, and other issues that stem from promoting the products and services that your company offers. If your business involves you having to communicate with customers about products or services that are offered, having extranet set up will help you streamline your means of communication with the general public.

One of the biggest advantages that involves using extranet services is being able to hold online conferences, regardless of your location or the location of an opposing party. All you need to be able to hold these conferences is a web cam and a software program that is designed for conferencing. Online conferences help you stay close to your company and your clients when you cannot physically meet with them.

In order for you to be able to experience extranet success, the service that you use has to possess several functions. There are six things that you may want to consider before employing the use of an extranet service.

1. Make sure that your extranet service has some type of availability to a company-wide chat room. This way, everyone within the organization will be able to reach out to each other if there are any immediate concerns that need to be addressed. Make sure that the chat rooms have restrictions that are set up according to the requirements of your company.

2. You will want to ensure that there is some type of calendar software setup that your company employs to tell your employees about any upcoming meetings or important appointments. This way, everyone that is supposed to attend the event gets a calendar reminder of the date and time that the event is going to take place.

3. Your extranet service should allow you to access file sharing. If there are important documents that you need certain people in your organization to see, then your extranet service should make it possible for only the select group of people that you select to be able to review over any important files that you have.

4. Your extranet service should be synchronized with software programs that are relevant to your organization. For example, Microsoft office is one type of software program that a lot of small and large businesses employ.

5. In order for people to want to use the extranet site, it has to be easy to use and easy to navigate.

6. Just like the traditional internet that is used by the general public, your extranet service should allow you the ability to be able to update the software sporadically. The extranet should send every user alerts whenever updates need to be performed.