Strategic Consulting Company

Client Objective

The client needed to evaluate a third-party Content Management System (CMS) purchased by the firm for use on all practice intranet sites.

Our Approach

  • The client formed a working group and invited us to participate as a thought partner to explore functionality and provide recommendations for best practices.
  • Both independently and with working group members at the client site, we explored the software and reported our findings at periodic meetings.
  • Bringing our knowledge of and experience with how the client works, we determined the CMS's user interface was complex. The learning curve for the average user would be steep enough that the client's users would resist using the software.
  • Practice Managers and Coordinators would very likely be challenged to do content management cost effectively, particularly within the client's cost containment environment.

Our Solution

  • We submitted our findings and recommendations to the client team.
  • We made a distinction between "content" and "data", where content is fairly static text-oriented information or pictures, and "data" is small chunks of information that may change. For example, a document is content, while the list of currently employed consultants is data.
  • The CMS is well suited to handle sites that are heavily filled with content, but does not work as well for data-intensive sites.
  • Recommendations based on our cost/benefit analysis included:
    • Creation of select external interface tools to make the user's job easier and reduce community support needs.
    • Incorporation of a database (and other infrastructure) solution for handling dynamic elements on the production side. This would reduce content managers overall efforts by generating certain types of content automatically as internal databases are updated.
    • Evaluating which aspects of future CMS-based projects will need support from other tools during the design process. Possible direction would be to separate content from data, and manage content via the CMS and data and meta-data via user-friendly custom tools.

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