How to Choose a Content Management System

of White Paper: How to Choose a Content Management System WebSideStory Number of Pages: 12 Publication No Target Audience Whilst the target audience will be primarily IT Managers, the paper is of general public interest as it provides an introduction to managing a Content Management System (CMS) implementation. It focuses on the pros and cons of 4 different implementation approaches, the team infrastructure which will be required and the key milestones in such a project.
Relevance of the Paper
WebSideStory’s paper is timely. knowledge management in general and content management in particular is increasingly important in the commercial world. In 2003 IDC forecasted1 that $7.5 billion will be spent on CMS technologies by 2007.
Figure 1 – Source: Ellis (2002)
WebSideStory agrees with the findings of other commentators2 who have explained the phenomenon of CMS ‘shelfware3’ arising from the failure of organizations to have a content management strategy4:
Identify specific requirements and determine goals.
Put a business case in place.
Involve potential stakeholders when drawing up requirements. and
Ensure potential content writers are part of the early adopters’ team.
This has 2 knock-on effects: internal and external suppliers only have a very woolly idea of what the organization actually requires and employees resist the changes to their working practices.
Joyce (2003) refers to an often quoted piece of research undertaken by Jupiter Research analyst Matthew Berk:
"Today, more than 60 percent of companies that have deployed Web content management solutions still find themselves manually updating their sites. Overcomplicated, end-to-end packages can as much as quintuple site operational costs over human labor alternatives. Unfortunately, the breadth of many vendors’ all too-inclusive ‘silver-bullet solution’ vision has left these companies struggling with platform lock-in, overengineered site infrastructures, exorbitant technical maintenance costs, and per-business-user costs averaging as much as $25,000 per year."
Investing in this technology is not cheap. an enterprise-wide system such as Interwoven can cost over $300,0005 to purchase. Open-source solutions such as Zope may save on license fees but will have development and maintenance costs too. Common problems include overspending on the platform, poorly implemented search solutions6 and manually updating content – all of which undermines ROI and TCO. WebSideStory’s paper addresses a real training need by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches to CMS implementation and identifying how to leverage the technology to add value to the business.
Objectivity and Quality
The paper is positioned to inform and persuade the reader that internet-based subscription CMS will prove to have the lowest TCO and ROI of any of the 4 approaches for implementing CMS (manual, automated, subscription or in-house) but there appears to be no doubting the strength of their argument. Certainly an internet-based CMS is closer to a fixed cost solution with the onus on the vendor to keep up with the competition in terms of implementing the latest technology. It’s a very attractive solution for organizations who wish to focus on content rather than infrastructure and web technologies.
This paper feeds well into this major area of business concern starting as it does with an overview of some of the most common complaints of commercial websites. The net effect is that the reader comes away with reliable, useful information and tools to form the backbone of a CMS implementation strategy. Although WebSideStory have a commercial interest in ensuring decision-makers understand the technologies they have to offer they do not make the mistake of comparing themselves with similar vendors
Overall Impression and Recommendation
The paper is concise and well-researched without being too high brow. WebSideStory has provided objective data whilst avoiding product centricity. It has identified some of the key concerns with CMS technology whilst avoiding overtly comparing themselves with other suppliers.
I would recommend the WebSideStory white paper as a starting point to persons who are contemplating using a CMS solution to manage their intranet, extranet or internet applications or who wish to keep abreast of content management technologies. It’s also very useful in providing tools to identify the key components of TCO and ROI for CMS which will assist in making a business case.
Ellis, James, (2002), CMS and the Single Web Designer. Available at Last visited February 13, 2006
IDC (December 2003), Worldwide Rich Media Asset Management Forecast and Analysis, 2002-2007, IDC. Available at: Last visited February 12, 2006
Joyce, Erin, (2003), Content Management Tools Fail. Available at: Last visited February 12, 2006
Petersen E, Bayriamova Z, Freeman Evans P, McGeary Z, Schatsky D and Daniels D, (July 2005), ‘Site and Commerce Search: Driving ROI Through Vendor Selection, Proper Implementation, and Active Measurement’, Jupiter Research. Available at: Last visited February 12, 2006
Kreimer, CW, (2005), How to Keep Your Web Site Content Fresh and Relevant New Content Management Systems Cheaper, Feature-Rich’. Available at Last visited February 13, 2006
Mendelsohn, T, (2005), The Forrester Wave: Web Content Management For Retail, Q3 2005. Available at Last visited February 13, 2006
Veen, J, (2004), Why Content Management Fails. Available at: Last visited February 12, 2006
WebSideStory, (n.d), How to Choose a Content Management System, WebSideStory. Available at: Last visited February 12, 2006