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Understanding Content Management

29 Sep 2004

My colleague at Adaptive Path Peter Merholz and I are heading to Boston on 13 October 2004 to conduct a full-day workshop on Making Your Content Management System Work For You”. I’ve done this workshop a couple of times before, and I find that my thesis often surprises people. I tell them that content management is a process and not a sofware package, and that most companies don’t need a CMS at all. Jared Spool, who is running the conference, asked me to do an interview for his newsletter, and in it I make the point further.

Most often, I find that businesses don't treat their web site as a publication, especially those organizations developing standard content, such as product and service descriptions. Instead, they view their site as a software project -- a product that undergoes a development process and needs to be "released". Parts of a web site development project work this way, such as search engine upgrades. Yet, most users aren't concerned with these parts -- they are focused on the content. For example, I recently helped a company migrate to a new content management system. In my interviews with the content creators, they told me that problems, such as spelling errors and fact changes, required them to open a bug-tracking system ticket. Once the issue was report, they typically had to wait four to six weeks before the problem was "resolved." Like many companies, they consider their web site a software project and not a publication.

The whole interview is online at UIE.com. If you’re planning on attending, you can knock 15 percent of the registration price by using code JV01 when filling out this form.

Update: John Zeratsky offers an excellent continuation of this discussion. “In the long run, good strategy tied with good content will benefit an organization in ways that software cannot.” Read the full post… ​

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