Solutions Showcase: Do You Know Where Your Content Is?
Crouy recommends open-architecture solutions because they offer the ability to adapt to new trends on the market. “If you don’t do that then, you’re going to be stuck with a proprietary Web CMS that won’t be able to evolve as you will, and then two years down the road it might not fit your needs anymore,” he says.
However, like open-source tools, open-architecture solutions have costs beyond the license fees. Ryan Means, e-commerce manager for Success Media—whose parent company, VideoPlus, publishes five national magazines including Success Magazine—says after a four- to five-month research and request-for-proposal process, his company narrowed the list of CMS vendors it was considering to three, two of which are open architecture. While the open offerings have a lot more flexibility for future deployments, they require a larger up-front investment.
“We would have to build and maintain a development group in-house, and this was not an option given our current staffing,” Means says. His company ended up selecting ePublishing’s Software as a Service CMS solution. The solution includes Web design, development, hosting, and ongoing service and support. “The proprietary nature of ePublishing allowed us to focus on the design and marketing aspects, which we felt was where our focus was better utilized,” he adds.
Tips for Choosing and Implementing a CMS
In the end, different solutions work for different companies, whether out-of-the-box, built internally from scratch, open, etc. Means says the key things to look for in a CMS are usability and scalability.
Stevenson offers the following general tips to publishers looking to purchase a CMS:
- Start with a business model and take into account not only what your processes are now, but also what your processes will look like in the future.
- Look for CMS vendors with experience in publishing. The needs of publishers—who often have multiple staff pushing content online on a regular basis based on templates—are vastly different than the needs of other industries, for whom content is not the sole product.
- When you implement, start small. Test one magazine first to get the kinks out of the process and the system.
- Consider your in-house capabilities. Understand who will be using the system and what their skill levels are.
Abny Santicola is managing editor of Publishing Executive sister publications FundRaising Success and eMarketing and Commerce. Contact her at ASanticola@NAPCO.com.