The house the CMS team built
Finding the right web content management system (WCMS) is akin to building a house; without the proper thought, time, and consideration dedicated to the process at the outset, you will likely end up with something that you will find difficult to live in/with.
It all starts with a perceived need
Most of us don’t just wake up one day and decide “I think I will build a new home.”, similarly I think the frequency with which someone’s waking thought is “I think I will look into replacing our WCMS today.” is probably even less. I hope. These kinds of monumental and life altering decisions come out of a realization of a few/several/many needs not being met by the current solution.
So the first logical step is to validate the need. Do you really need a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath, with a walk-out basement, radiant floor heating, geothermic water sourcing, and solor power collection, custom-designed raised bungalow? Or would the cookie-cutter, 10 year old, Mc-developer, suburban house do? The only way to find out is to collect the requirements of those affected by the decision.
So in the case of a house, this is a fairly easy thing to do that can be accomplished over the dinner table between hockey and swim team practice. Uncovering the various wants and requirements from across the organization, and then filtering those down to find the true core needs, or focal needs, takes considerably more time, people, and patience. This is where getting some help from an expert in the field can make life a lot easier.
Picking a builder and general contractor
Okay so the consensus is that a new, modern, fully decked out abode is the thing to do. Now who ya gonna call? No, not Ghostbusters. Figuring out who, out of the literally thousands of choices of builders, or in the case of the new WCMS, vendors, out there is the best choice for you is the next effort in the process. Again, getting the support of an external partner can make this process much more efficient and timely than trying to tackle it by yourself.
So with or without the help of a partner you have narrowed down the list of possibilities to two or three that look good on paper, and now is time to see if they really are a good fit via a face-to-face session and demonstration of their knowledge and skills. This is the time where those who have made the shortlist to introduce you to the team they will use on the project. You have to be comfortable with the whole team, not just the pitch person, because these are the people you will be spending a lot of time with and depending on to guide you to a successful implementation.
Time for show and tell
The shortlist of options is even shorter now, either one or two of the three you interviewed. Now is the time to get down to brass tacks, or blueprints and 3D models in the case of the house, or solution and pricing when talking about the selecting the WCMS with a written response to your documented needs (request for proposal). Then, and only then, are you ready to move forward with the team to show their wares in a short (about two weeks) proof of concept (POC) to give you and your team an opportunity to get some hands-on time with the platform and really see the proposed team in action.
If the POC goes well, then providing you can get the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed on the contract, and don’t underestimate the time that can take, then you are ready to roll up your sleeves and start building a new home for your digital content.
Digital Clarity Group works with clients to guide them through each of these steps; from validating the decision of acquiring a new technology, right through to overseeing the POC. For more details about our process, please download our Ultimate Guide to Selecting a Web Content Management System: An 8-step guide to successful WCMS selection.