We are often asked by publishers what they can do to get a content management initiative headed in the right direction. Following are 7 tips that all publishers can follow to ensure a successful CMS project.
1. Data conversion | Typesetting service providers. Define what role a conversion house or a typesetter will have in the project and communicate that to in-house staff and the service provider. Get them involved early and detail the business requirements to them as well.
2. Pilot content. Identify and select representative publications that you would like to use as test content. It's useful to have a range of content types from your publishing organization (eg, 1 journal, 1 textbook, 1 instructor's manual, etc). But keep the number of actual documents small so you can work out the data details. You don't want to spend too much time just massaging data and not implementing core features.
3. Business rules. Define the essential business rules that the system needs to reflect. What are the high-level business process workflows? Keep the business process as simple as possible yet still document useful tracking and management. This usually means reflecting the key development, review, and approval steps. Don't necessarily model each little thing each actor does in the process. Shoot for the 30,000-foot view. Typical RSuite customers require
- data validation
4. Metadata and search. Pinpoint the key discreet pieces of metadata that need to be captured to enable searching, reporting, and general management of content objects. Think about how you'll want to be able to search and find things from various users' perspectives. Also consider what you'll need to report on from a management and tracking aspect. Typical metadata fields include
- author names
- classifying metadata
- controlled vocabularies
- approval statuses
5. Key deliveries. Determine what the system needs to deliver and export in order to demonstrate success. Some key deliveries RSuite customers require include
- input to page layout
- XML for aggregation
- HTML for a Web site
6. System integration. Consider what systems the CMS will need to interact with now and in the future. Create a thorough list of systems that your editorial and production staff use. Obvious systems include page layout systems such as Typefi or InDesign. What about peer-review systems? Will your CMS deliver content to your web site?
7. User roles. Specify all types of users of the system and define their roles. Will users interact with the CMS on a daily basis? What are the logical job roles? Will you need to provide for "casual" users of the system?
The main idea is to get your staff thinking about content management and CMS before you embark on an actual CMS implementation. Define, document, and communicate to internal staff, decision makers, stakeholders, and service providers. Have any other tips to add? How do you measure the success of your CMS implementation?