The Trials and Tribulations of Identifying and Implementing a CMS Solution
NewBay Media recently adopted a comprehensive, out-of-the-box content management system (CMS) as part of a companywide redesign. We asked NewBay Vice President of Web Development Joe Ferrick, who will be a presenter during the CMS Forum at the Publishing Business Conference and Expo in March, to share some of his observations on the process. NewBay publishes 50 Web sites and 30 daily and weekly e-newsletters.
INBOX: What system did you decide to use?
JOE FERRICK: We went with Ektron, a company based in New Hampshire.
INBOX: Why did you choose it? What made you decide an out-of-the-box solution was better than producing something internally or working with a vendor to build something from the ground up?
FERRICK: Being an out-of-the-box CMS, the customer service and support were paramount as we knew we would need some guidance in implementing the software. While of course price was a consideration, the scalability of the product was also a key factor as we have now used Ektron for five installations encompassing over 20 sites with many more sites in the works.
INBOX: What have your biggest challenges been in adoption and implementation?
FERRICK: Wow … that is a loaded question with possibly an immensely long answer. But to keep it short, one huge challenge in adoption has been the training and internal acceptance of working with a new tool/product for our editorial teams. As far as implementation, the NewBay Media Web development team has had to juggle the workload of multiple offshore development teams, which is a huge scheduling process. Some of these development teams have their own workflow management tools and others looks to us to structure the workflow.
INBOX: Where are you currently in the implementation process?
FERRICK: Right now, we are about 90-percent completed with the implementation, which we'll have wrapped up in Q1 of 2009. Beyond that, we have already begun the customization process on a site-by-site or installation-by-installation basis, which doesn't really have an end date as this will be ongoing.
INBOX: What are you already seeing in terms of CMS improvements and user feedback? How do you see this new system benefiting NewBay going forward?
FERRICK: The results we are seeing across the board -- workflow, SEO, user feedback, etc -- have been extremely positive. It is still a bit too early to put a percentage on the ROI of our site efforts, but we know we are setting the stage for a great 2009 for any visitors to the NewBay Media sites.