Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Content Management System Selection: Key Factors Affecting Choice

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The volume of product-related information in companies is increasing by leaps and bounds.

The reason is the growing multiplicity of products, software and services that require explanation.

Photo credit: Mauro Bighin

After the EU enlargement, not only large companies, even small and medium-sized enterprises must come to terms with the multiplier effect of multiple languages.

The challenge is to keep the information across the company both consistent and free of redundancy, to make it universally available, to publish it on paper as well as electronically, and to bring out the different language versions as simultaneously as possible.

Companies that have not mastered the art of overcoming these challenges must suffer additional costs and time pressure in handling quality problems that are becoming more and more difficult to solve.

The CMS study of tekom (of which a summary of findings follows) represents the requirements of the companies for the first time, sketches scenarios for the selection and introduction of content management systems.

Photo credit: Ronen

To control the flood of information better, more and more companies are deciding in favour of using special Content Management Systems (CMS) for efficient information management of:

  • Reports,

  • Technical information,

  • Development documentation,

  • Product descriptions,

  • Process documentation,

  • Work instructions,

  • Sales documents,

  • Product catalogues,

  • Safety and maintenance documents,

  • Operating instructions and use instructions

  • and many other contents.

With the help of special CMS, companies can have a grip on their product-specific knowledge, maintain the sovereignty of their critical company know-how and master the multiplicity of languages.

The most important productivity gains lie in:

  • Avoiding inconsistencies during creation,

  • Multiple uses of content,

  • Exclusion of redundancies during translation

  • Availability of interfaces with ERP, PPS and similar systems,

  • Automation of the publishing process and

  • Cross-media publication.

Many companies are in the orientation phase

To obtain a better understanding of the requirements of CMS, tekom conducted a survey of the Documentation Departments of 717 companies that have already handled content management systems.

The result is that the use of content management systems is spreading.

A total of 717 participants answered the question whether they have decided in favour of or against a content management system, or whether they are still undecided.

More than half the participants have not decided yet, but are actively discussing the topic of content management.

More than a third have already decided explicitly to use content management, but only 20% of them are already using a system.

Only 7 % of the participants have decided against using content management.

The objective of the CMS study is to offer orientation to companies that are still undecided or that are about to decide in favour of or against investing in CMS, and to help them select a suitable system.

Decision to invest in content management

The survey also showed that companies that have already decided to use content management went through a series of typical requirements of the decision making process:

  • Multiple uses of content for creating different information products and / or for different target groups

  • Creation of customer and product-specific documentation variants (customising)

  • Localisation, creation of country variants

  • Creation of different layout variants

  • Use of data or databases (e.g., parts list, product data)

  • Creation of catalogues (product data management)

  • Management of relations between semantically related content

  • Single-source publishing

  • Requirement of XML as original data format and media-neutral use of content

  • Management of different foreign languages

  • Active terminology management

  • Use of translation memory systems

Criteria for the selection of system vendors

Soft as well as hard economic criteria are decisive in selecting a system vendor.

The study shows that the project experience of the manufacturer is among the most important criteria for the majority of the respondents.

The product strategy of the manufacturer and the future development of the product are also important for users.

Personal care and "inter-personal chemistry" as well as simple and quick support are also of great significance.

Add economic considerations to all this.

Thus, for instance, the introduction costs including the adaptation expenditure plays an especially important role in the deciding process.

In this context, a lot of importance is also attached to the delivered range of standard functions and the price policy corresponding to the license model.

In addition, the companies preferred the following content management characteristics while selecting a system:

  • User-friendliness and transparency of the CMS

  • Modular nature of the product or module strategy,

  • Product and adaptation under one roof

  • Common web technology

  • Open interfaces and completeness or openness of product

  • Standard formats and interfaces

Interestingly, purely company-related criteria such as size, employee strength, turnover, age and the market position of the system vendor do not play any standard role in the selection for nearly 90% of the respondents.

The "correct" content management system for your company

The selected content management system must be tailor-made to suit your company.

Maximal use is achieved through an optimal support for your individual requirements that must be fulfilled urgently and as a matter of compulsion.

Only then will you be able to increase your efficiency to the maximum extent possible.

To minimise costs, the maximum possible program functions required by you must be offered as standard functions, or as functions that can be configured without incurring sizable expenditure.

Savings can also be made at the time of introduction through a simple integration of the system in the existing data processing landscape by virtue of standard or open interfaces.

Thus far, CMS users have been evaluating the cost-benefit ratio very optimistically. 46% evaluate the achieved uses as positive and another 24% as very positive. Only 3% of the respondents expressed themselves negatively. These results confirm the strategic uses of content management systems, and they can certainly be applied to other areas of the company.

Originally written by
Daniela Straub and Michael Fritz
entitled "Content Management - Strategic Challenge"
and published on - December 2005

If you are interested in getting the full study data in English (original study conducted in German - available for purchase), please send an e-mail to Martin Stettner (m.stettner[at]

Daniela Straub and Michael Fritz -
Reference: Tekom [ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Thursday, January 19 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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