When is the Right Time to Invest in an Enterprise Content Management System?

When the right time is to invest in Enterprise Experience Management? To find out, first, we must identify what an Enterprise Experience Management System is, and what is its value? But first, a short history lesson.

A Short History of the Web

In the late 1980s, The Web was incepted in largely its current form to communicate information clearly in an environment where the volume of information and organizational complexity was increasing rapidly. Early HTTP servers – what we now call “sites” – came online as sources of information and forums for the exchange of ideas. In the early to mid 1990s browsers with tractability for non-academic end users launched, starting with Mosaic and followed eventually by Netscape and Internet Explorer. This introduced the web to the masses creating a commercially viable digital marketplace and establishing a value in web communication. As web usage grew so did customer expectations of the channel.  It was not enough to have your message rendered simply in HTML, you needed to provide a broader context of the message, a site navigation, links up and down the content tree, a set of utility links to contact information and legal documentation.  All of this made the manual management of HTML challenging even for small sites.  New scripting techniques and technologies gave rise to what we know today as the traditional Content Management System (CMS), a system whose value is in making web publication accessible and manageable.

Defining Enterprise Content Management

What a company asks of their CMS increases as the complexity of the company increases.  A CMS may start off serving one site which is managed and maintained by a small group in marketing which outsources development and IT support to a small shop.  Later, their complexity increases. They now require it to serve multiple sites, mobile applications, and social networks in multiple languages which share content and assets, represent and are managed by different divisions, with multi-tenant development occurring to build out customized features and functions. That is a very complex situation to manage. This is where they need to decide between which CMS level they need – Basic Content Management Systems like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace or Enterprise Content Management Systems like Adobe Experience Manager. As we mentioned, the goal of a CMS is to make it easy to publish web pages and content across divisions and roles within an organization. For larger companies choosing an Enterprise Content Management System, that likely requires more capabilities like ensure its secure, controlled (allowing only certain activities by certain roles, keeping publishers in their guard rails), and tractable (it must be reasonably straightforward for users to manage the various types of communication which includes the automation of common tasks and for users to understand the state of their communication at any time both at a unit level and an aggregate level) at an enterprise scale.

Identifying the Right Time to Invest in Enterprise Content Management

The inflection point between Basic and Enterprise Content Management comes when the needs of a company’s web publications reach a high enough level of volume and complexity. For example, when a company has multiple departments or facets publishing numerous pieces of content daily, with each faction needing to understand the state of the communication both as a published communication and as a consumed communication in a straightforward manner without stepping on each other’s toes.  These complexities are the triggers to recognize when you’ve reached the inflection point to switch to an Enterprise Content Management. Hold off too long, and you may have already missed it! Making a move too soon will likely result in an over-investment in the system with a low value realized due to the fact that you will not be ready to consider the requirements which are right for your company.  Making the move too slow, however, means that you will be trying to build the airplane while flying it which may lead to more timely action but will mean that you are living in the pain caused by your capabilities being too basic for your needs. This worksheet is aimed at helping you identify where you are at in your communication complexity and whether you are getting close to, or have already surpassed, a point at which investment in an Enterprise Content Management capability will be of high value. Download the “What CMS Capabilities Do I Need” Worksheet Here. You can also check out the full webinar, which shows you how to determine you’re ready to up-level your CMS to an enterprise platform, how to select the right platform for your needs and then how to successfully roll it out.

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