Monday, December 04, 2006

So how about your Web CMS versus your KMS/CMS/Intranet?

Stand-Alone Web Content Management System

Many organizations have intranets on which they perform their content management duties. It is natural to propose that the WCMS integrates with the CMS. Parts of the content which should be exposed on the Web already exists somewhere in the CMS, perhaps on the intranet or on a central file server.


It is natural to believe that the best solution is to invest in a total solution where a CMS includes the WCMS by displaying the content with a Web interface. The case for choosing an isolated or singular standalone WCMS is explained below.


When selecting a system to control their web-site, decision makers are tempted to invest in enterprise solutions. These solutions promise to solve many of the corporate IT-problems with a single centralized silver bullet system. However, the projects where these solutions are selected, implemented and deployed often fail miserably, taking too long to complete. If they ever achieve nominal use, the requirements have changed and the system no longer satisfies the expectations of corporate presence on the World Wide Web [Robertson, 2006].


One way to avoid this pitfall is to build an internal lightweight WCMS, or to invest in an off-the-shelf product. There is still an understood need for such enterprise solutions in large corporations, but I am not sure any of the products in this category satisfies today.


For smaller organizations it is a viable option to leave web content management to a standalone system which is streamlined and specialized for the task.

The Differences between a CMS and a WCMS

A CMS and a WCMS have some traits in common. They contain some of the same content, like company and product information, and they might have similar content delivery methods. A CMS can be used to control the web-site. The company can make the knowledge base in the Intranet available online for allowing customers to troubleshoot problems themselves [Pelz-Sharp, 2006].


A WCMS can either be implemented as a front-end to the company's CMS, or as a stand-alone application. Since many companies have no suitable CMS in place, or their CMS lack a proper web front-end, the latter solution is likely the case.


If the web-site has a user name/password sign-on for employees, there is technically an “intranet” on the WCMS. This access control creates many possibilities for the system. As soon as the identity of an employee or member can be verified online, several normal content management processes can be performed inside the WCMS. The key advantage of doing content management online is portability. The users can access and modify content from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an Internet connection.


The next post will focus more on specific software alternatives (and links to where one can find such software).


References:


Pelz-Sharp, A. 2006, " ECM + WCM = ? " Retrieved 2. March, 2006

Robertson, J. 2006, "Grand enterprise projects: why are we wasting our time? " Retrieved 8. August, 2005