Content Management Solutions
Content management solutions are growing in size and scope, and a business manager looking for outside help with content management will find that there is a wide choice of solutions available. The field has grown so much that there is at least one consumer publication, The CMS Report, devoted entirely to comparison of content management systems. This website discusses web content management software elsewhere, but this page is about complete solutions.
The magic word for many businesses is "outsourcing". Content management, if it's done properly, consumes a lot of company resources in training and organizational work. It's an ongoing process, regularly chewing its way through chunks of your staff time. So it's very tempting to purchase a "content management solution" and solve the whole problem with a one-off payment. The bad news is that it is impossible to completely outsource your content management. A company that talks about content management solutions might mean consultancy, or it might be talking about a package including software and ongoing technical support. The word "outsourcing" is often used, but it's misleading, as it is impossible to completely separate content management work from your company's other business and still have a good website.
The reason for this is that the content for your company website has to come from your company. You can hire web content writers from outside, but they would still have to work closely with someone from the company in order to understand the company's vision and include the right information. A good website will change regularly to include the latest news, so you would have to hire such writers on an ongoing basis. Some managers make the mistake of outsourcing web development and thinking that they have solved the problem. It's a good idea to pay an expert to make your website attractive and easy to navigate, but you also need to put organizational systems in place to update the content regularly. Remember the computing slogan: GIGO, or Garbage In, Garbage Out. Even the most talented web developer can't create a useful page from useless content. Nor can developers guess what your content might be in the future. You're paying for good design and usability, not alchemy and fortune-telling.
Having said all that, content management solutions can be an asset to your business if you're prepared to devote the organizational resources to creating and updating content. A company that combines high-quality software with full training and technical support can help you get a good website up and running without the need to hire any in-house IT support staff. However, such solutions don't come cheap. Companies usually don't publicly list their prices for content management solutions, so you will have to do a lot of investigation when comparing prices. This reluctance to disclose charges is partly because prices vary depending on the size of the company and the features you want from your website. A very basic solution will cost you a few hundred dollars, but a full software, support and consultancy package for a large company might run into hundreds of thousands.
Expect plenty of questions about your company's needs and resources before being quoted any prices.
As for which content management solution to choose, you need to think about your needs and your budget. For example, independent comparison site CMS Watch praises CrownPeak for creating user-friendly interfaces for its products. However, MediaSurface are praised for good role management. Work out which features are a priority before buying, but remember that in the field of content management, there is no true outsourcing.