A Legacy CMS' False Sense of Security

Posted by Barry Bealer on Jun 25, 2014 9:30:00 AM

old computerAs with everything in life, it's all a matter of the lens you view things through.  Something can look rosey to one person while looking like a train wreck to another.  Often times the view of a legacy content management system is dependent on where you sit within your organization, and rightly so.  But many times the decision to not replace a legacy CMS is based completely on the false premise that everything is OK and IT has everything under control.  In our experience, many times the IT organization is overwhelmed with projects and maintaining a legacy system becomes more difficult with each passing year.  

In many publishing organizations that we speak with on a daily basis, legacy CMS' are patched together by one or two very key individuals within an organization because they happen to be the longest tenured staff and were around when the system was installed.  There is generally a knowledgebase of small system idiosyncracies that these individuals know to stay away from because of either a design flaw or through implementing the system incorrectly.  Having an IT person be a single point of failure is not a good business practice to begin with, but having little or no understanding of what the black box legacy CMS is doing is much, much worse.  Unfortunately these situation exist at major publishing organizations around the globe.  This is an outgrowth of publishers who don't want to face the reality that their system is in serious jeapordy of crashing and there is no recovery mechanism in place.  

So how does each management level within a publisher view a legacy CMS?  Here's an outsiders perspective:

C-Suite View - We have technology that is proven

From the top, everything looks calm, cool, and collected.  Think about the duck gliding across the pond.  Products are being produced, money is being collected, why do we need to change anything? Remember the duck is paddling like crazy under the water.

VP View - We can make this work with little investment

While there are issues we need to address, the technology is solid and has been proven for some time.  Our team does not have turnover issues and therefore they are well versed in the CMS.  Some investment might be required to patch things here or there, but we have no need to upgrade to a new CMS.  Throwing more staff or budget at the legacy CMS will take care of everytihng.  We should be fine to meet our strategy.

Director View - We are unable to keep up with daily issues let alone scale the system

The system has been working, but barely.  The fragile nature causes daily concern that one hiccup could bring the entire production process down.  Editorial is comfortable with the workflow, knows the editorial tools, but under the covers the CMS cannot be extended and is patched because the technology has not been upgraded in years.  Adding more content, integrating with other systems, or adding third party tools will be extremely difficult without a large budget and a sufficient timeline to complete.

Developer View - We are so screwed 

The application has been maintained by different people over time.  Nothing has been documented, we have not paid support and have not received CMS software upgrades, and the underlying database has not been upgraded in years.  If the system goes down, I may need to look for a job.

The Bottom Line

Every position and management level at a publisher has a different view of their CMS.  It's natural.  What consistenly surprises people is that a legacy CMS can only address the requirements from yesterday and potentially not address the strategy of multi-channel publishing or automated eBook creation or whatever objective because changes are difficult and the system cannot scale.  Legacy systems are generally proven, but they do not generally have the stability to support the long-term business objectives and must be replaced.

If your CMS is over seven years old, has been patched to keep it running, and doesn't support your strategy, let us show you why publishers from around the globe and over 10,000 publishing professionals use RSuite every day.

Topics: content management for publishers, content management, CMS for publishers, Content Mangement Project Team, CMS Teams, Legacy CMS

The First Rule of Content Management: Centralize Content

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on Nov 6, 2012 10:45:00 AM

Educational publisher Triumph Learning knew that digital products would be the ticket to offering great products to its customers as well as being in a position to compete against some of the larger educational publishers in the industry. But to bring digital products to market, it was understood that step one was centralizing content.

Chief business development officer, Robert Methven, shares how in just 1 year Triumph Learning has been able to centralize, inventory, and reuse more than 25 years' of assets to create "Readiness for the Common Core." 

We now have a whole new business line that may generate tens of millions of dollars for us based off of being able to leverage our assets that we put into CMS that we now converted and delivered into a new product offering. A year ago we didn’t even have that idea on our product roadmap.

Get started on content management

Schedule RSuite Demo!

1. Centralize your content

2. Inventory and understand your assets

3. Develop new digital products quickly

4. Refine digital products based on customer feedback

RSuite CMS | Content Management for Publishers

Topics: content management for publishers, CMS for publishers, RSuite CMS, Triumph Learning

Content Management System: To Build or Not to Build, an Ongoing Management Question

Posted by Barry Bealer on Oct 19, 2012 11:42:00 AM

A couple years ago there was an article from wsj.com under the Cubical Culture section that struck a chord with me: “Management to IT: We don’t like you either.” As evidenced by the title, the inherent conflict between IT and management is never ending. And even though the article was published 5 years ago, we still see the conflict arise in many publishing and media organizations.

Management today at many companies expect more out of IT organizations than in previous years. It's no longer acceptable to request an 18- to 24-month project life cycle and not show a return on investment quickly. If IT continues to do these types of things, they will render themselves useless and out of a job. The old days of “we can build it better than any product on the market” is long gone.

For publishers I have seen a shift over the past 5 years related to this build-vs-buy mindset. If your IT organization is still touting that they can do it better, cheaper, faster by building a critical system (e.g., CMS) from scratch… run, run away as fast as you can. Given the wealth of tool sets available and the openness of many products on the market, why would an organization ever take the build-it-from-scratch approach? I'm genuinely interested in this and welcome your dialogue in the comments section.

I’m not biased when I make these statements. I’ve seen a renewed interest by publishers to license a product and show a return on investment quickly. This has been our mantra since day one with RSuite CMS. Our goal was to make a highly configurable CMS that can manage any content and be operational in a short period of time (under 12 weeks) to meet core requirements. Yes, there will be some organizations that require 12-month projects to migrate from one system to the next, but overall the trend has been implementing a new system, even for larger projects, in a much shorter time frame. The only way IT will be able to handle this shortened timeline is to license a software product that meets 70% of their core requirements pretty much out of the box such as RSuite CMS.

I can certainly understand why IT organizations at publishers want to build their own CMS. First, it’s fun to build software. Second, it gives more of a feeling of accomplishment than integrating third-party software. Finally, a programmer can have a job for life just making endless changes to the software (ok, that was a cheap shot).

Management today needs to understand that IT does have value and IT needs to understand that management has the right to ask questions. Reducing the stress between these organizations is critical to publishers making the right technology choices and implementing new systems on time and within budget.

Let us show you how RSuite CMS satifies management's desire to demonstrate ROI on CMS investment and IT's desire to play with cool technology.

Schedule RSuite Demo!

Topics: content management for publishers, RSuite, CMS for publishers, RSuite CMS, RSI Content Solutions, CMS project, Barry Bealer, Build Your Bottom Line With Strategic Content Mana, Content Mangement Project Team

David Saracco Joins RSI Content Solutions to Expand RSuite Sales Team

Posted by Sarah Silveri on Aug 23, 2012 9:04:00 AM

describe the imageRSI Content Solutions, a leading content management system software provider, announced the addition of David Saracco as vice president, business development to expand the RSuite CMS sales team and help further develop key publishing markets. He brings more than 20 years’ experience having worked at global publishing companies as well as publishing service and technology companies. David will be based at the RSI Content Solutions headquarters in Audubon, Pennsylvania.

“David brings a wealth of publishing technology experience having held leadership positions at Elsevier Health Science in their production department as well as other publishing service and technology providers throughout his career” stated Barry Bealer, CEO and co-founder at RSI Content Solutions. “We expect David to hit the ground running and very much drive our business development efforts in key markets.”

“I am thrilled to join such an accomplished team” said David Saracco. “RSuite CMS is the best content management system for publishers on the market today and I look forward to helping RSI grow the business even more.”

Learn more about RSuite CMS

Topics: RSuite, CMS for publishers, RSuite CMS, RSI Content Solutions, David Saracco

RSuite CMS 4.0 Screening in New York City at the Dolby 88 Theatre

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on Jun 27, 2012 1:56:00 PM

Christopher Hill | RSuite CMS 4.0 ScreeningYesterday afternoon, June 26, a select group of publishing professionals gathered at the Dolby 88 Screening Room in New York City to preview the next iteration of RSuite CMS.

The software was prescreened to a packed audience of publishing professionals and a global online audience joined via a live streaming broadcast.

Christopher Hill, vice president of product management at RSI Content Solutions, highlighted key features of the 4.0 release and detailed how these changes are based on feedback received from  users over the years.


The flexible user interface offers a new user experience that is better organized with contextual menus that detail what choices a user has based on the current state. Barry Bealer | RSuite CMS 4.0 Screening


All the fundamental content management capabilities remain that ensure publishers' and media organizations' content and assets are preserved to ensure long-term survival in one central and secure location. But a large and obvious improvement in RSuite 4.0 is the digital asset management (DAM) functionality that offers better visibility of digital assets that will aid content discovery and reuse.




RSuite CMS 4.0 Screening


The software screening was the first time an audience of C-level publishing professionals viewed the new user interface, which is spearheaded by Bryan Elliott, user interface architect at RSI Content Solutions. Attendees were invited to speak with members of the RSuite development team and CTO, Lisa Bos, following the software demonstration during a 2-hour networking reception.





RSuite CMS 4.0 Screening


The post-screening reception was packed with publishing and media executives. The main regret was that our global audience who watched the demonstration via a live stream online could not imbibe in the libations and food.

Barry Bealer, CEO and co-founder at RSI Content Solutions, welcomed all and served as master of ceremonies for the event. Before the software demonstration commenced, he rolled out the changes of the impending release with a video highlighting the work he has directed over the past 12 years as well as the changes witnessed in the publishing, software, and media industries.


If you were at the event and have any feedback for how we can improve, we welcome your suggestions!

Topics: CMS for publishers, RSuite CMS, RSuite 4.0 Screening

Best Practices for MS Word Authoring | Content Management for Publishers

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on Jun 20, 2012 9:27:00 AM

consistency is kingWhen implementing RSuite CMS, our content architects and engineers help publishers ensure that the transformation from Word to XML is seamless and easy. The following best practices were developed that can be used in any publishing workflow to ensure content is consistently styled.

The following guidelines are based on a Word-to-XML conversion process using DITA For Publishers, which transforms embedded Word XML to true XML by taking advantage of style-to-tag mapping. All publishers can benefit from this approach, even if an early-XML workflow is not yet on the radar (though it SHOULD be!). What you get out of using real templated Word documents is consistency. Whether it's to generate XML or deliver to an offshore production service, consistent styles make downstream processing easier and allow for automation.

Best Practices for MS Word Authoring by Harvey Greenberg and Paul Eisenberg


  • MS Word 2003 and above use docx as default format.
  • A docx file is actually a zip – you can rename foo.docx to foo.zip, unzip it, and see what’s there.
  • Word to XML conversion process using DITA4Publishers transforms the embedded Word XML to “real” XML using style-to-tag mapping.DITA For Publishers
    • Content that does not have a style accounted for in the mapping is ignored.
    • Only styles are processed, not format overrides.
    • This applies to character styles as well as paragraph styles.

Templates in MS Word

  • Whereas “template” often means a starting document, in MS Word a template is a dotx file.
  • All documents are attached to a template – the default is normal.dotx.
  • Templates may be stored in the user-defined template location (Word | Options | Advanced | File Locations), or in a workgroup location (generally a shared network drive).
  • Best practice is to use a template specific for the project.

Viewing, Applying, and Creating Styles

  • Best way to view styles throughout the document is using Draft view with style pane; this needs to be set in Word | Options | Advanced.
  • CNTL + SHIFT + S will pop up style dialog appropriate to cursor position; both para and character styles will show up.
  • To create new styles, process is:
    • Create or open document to which your template is attached.
    • Make and test changes, being careful to always select option that applies changes to all documents based on the template, as opposed to current document
    • Exit Word.
    • Reopen Word, create new document based on your template, and see if changes took.

Some Tips and Tricks

  • Templates may contain boilerplate text as well as styles; you can provide starting title, standard sections, etc, for authors to change.
  • You can assign keyboard shortcuts and also change the quick style bar.
  • A style can automatically assign style for the next para (e.g., Title can create Heading 1).
  • A shortcut to a macro that does Edit | PasteSpecial | Unformatted Text is your best friend
  • Probably best to avoid use of the default “Normal” para style, because it may not be clear whether para should be normal or you just didn’t take any action; perhaps use something like BodyPara in its place.
  • Do not use empty paras for spacing; assign spacing via the style.
  • Adding formatting to the styles so that the author can tell immediately that a heading is a heading and a list is a list, etc, is good.
  • Trying to replicate the look and feel of the product is wasteful and can distract authors from the task at hand, which is good content.

I hope these best practices will be useful in your publishing workflows. To learn how some of our publishing clients are implementing this, download your free white paper: "How Successful Publishers Deliver Content: RSuite CMS and DITA For Publishers."

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Topics: content management, CMS for publishers, Word Authoring

Macmillan Higher Education Selects RSuite CMS to Manage New Publications

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on May 31, 2012 8:06:00 AM

Macmillan Higher EducationMacmillan Higher Education (MHE) is widely recognized as publishers of high quality content with a strong focus toward innovation and course redesign. Macmillan Higher Education includes Bedford/St. Martin's, W. H. Freeman, Worth Publishers, Hayden McNeil, i>clicker, and Bedford, Freeman, and Worth High School. MHE recently licensed RSuite CMS by RSI Content Solutions. RSuite CMS is the leading content management system for publishers who want to manage, store, and deliver content to any channel, in any format, at any time.

RSuite CMS will integrate with a number of existing tools, such as Word and InDesign, to provide a secure centralized repository to store content, related assets, and metadata for the organization’s new publications.

“Macmillan Higher Education has the distinction of serving global markets with regional and specialized products,” stated Barry Bealer, CEO and co-founder at RSI Content Solutions. “RSuite CMS will provide the Macmillan Higher Education publishing team with workflow tools and content discovery tools that serve their global mission to deliver precise content to specific markets.”

“We required a content management solution that honored our Word-based editorial workflow but still brought us the benefits of early XML,” explained Chad Crume, Director of Content Solutions at Macmillan Higher Education. “RSuite CMS will provide us with automated transformations to publish to multiple formats and products from a single source. Additionally, it will offer us the benefits of a central repository where staff can easily search content to find publication-ready pieces that can be reused in new products.”

To learn more about RSuite CMS, or to schedule your demo, please visit www.rsicms.com.

Topics: content management for publishers, CMS for publishers, RSuite CMS

Defining CMS (Content Management System)

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on May 16, 2012 9:53:00 AM

The term "content management system" means different things to different people. Sometimes, when discussing CMS, I'll realize that the term "web" is omitted from the conversation but absolutely implied. A web CMS is quite different than a CMS like RSuite. So when selecting a CMS, getting ready for a CMS project, or implementing a CMS it's important to establish your definition and communicate that to your team.

Teams struggle because there is not always a shared vision of what they are undertaking and, depending on perspective, team members have a different focus in mind. Some folks focus on the need to store all content in a common repository, others think about workflow management, and still others may be fixated on content structure and delivery.

With these things in mind, I define a content management system as the processes, technologies, and people involved in acquiring, preparing, and delivering content. This definition ensures that all aspects of content management are considered and ultimately leads to a better understanding of necessary technology components. You may find that there are process changes or organizational changes that are equally important as implementing technology.

Technology is an enabling device. Technology won't manage your content any more than a filing system will file your documents. Be prepared to think hard about the processes that make up your content management system and how people interact with the content and that process. There's no point implementing a Content Management System if you don't intend to manage your content!

How do you define CMS?

Topics: content management for publishers, RSuite, CMS for publishers, CMS project

Is Your Content Future-Ready? Create, Manage, Transform, Publish

Posted by Marianne Calihanna on May 8, 2012 2:00:00 PM

PRISM Source Vocabulary

How do you create and manage content that's ready for print, web, mobile, tablets, and future publishing channels?

The source is the solution!

The PRISM Source Vocabulary (PSV) is a standard framework for encoding digital content and configuring content management and digital asset management systems to produce future-ready content.

The latest vocabulary from IDEAlliance's nextPub initiative will be discussed tomorrow during a free webinar from RSI Content Solutions and Data Conversion Laboratory.

Come hear Dianne Kennedy, vice president of emerging technologies for IDEAlliance, share her thoughts on opportunities to advance automation for publishing systems where there has been little if any automation to date. She'll discuss where roadblocks exist, what opportunities are out there, and what role standards play in all this.

We'll also be introduced to the PRISM Source Vocabulary and learn how design-based publications can begin to and should take advantage of automation with standards, tools, and technologies available today.

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Reality Check: The Truth About Automation

May 9 | 1:00 to 2:00 EDT

Presenter: Dianne Kennedy, VP of Emerging Technology at IDEAlliance

Topics: Webinar, CMS for publishers, CMS

RSuite CMS to Exhibit at SSP 34 | Booth 213

Posted by Sarah Silveri on May 2, 2012 2:15:00 PM

RSuite CMS will be exhiting and sponsoring at SSP's 2012 Annual MeetingFrom Wednesday, May 30th to Friday, June 1st, RSuite CMS will be exhibiting at Society for Scholarly Publishing's 34th Annual Meeting in Arlington, Virginia at booth 213.

The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP), founded in 1978, is a nonprofit organization formed to promote and advance communication among all sectors of the scholarly publication community through networking, information dissemination, and facilitation of new developments in the field.

Schedule your appointment with RSI today at the 34th SSP Annual Meeting and see how publishers have done the following things with RSuite CMS:

  • Secure their content assets in one central repository
  • Search, find, and re-use content
  • Automate workflows
  • Improved editorial and production processes
  • Pioneer your digital publishing strategy

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Tweet @RSICMS from #SSP.

Topics: CMS for publishers, RSuite CMS, RSI Content Solutions, Society for Scholarly Publishing, SSP, SSP 2012

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