Tuesday 6 December 2011

I miss my CMS

I’ve just moved to a new job and left behind a content management system (CMS) that I specified, procured, and then worked with for about three years. Call me sentimental, but I miss the old girl. And not just that particular CMS – I miss having one at all (except for a teensy bit of the intranet).

I'll explain why I’m feeling so bereft:
  • Speed. With a CMS you should be able to add an item to the site’s A to Z in a couple of clicks rather than 15 minutes copying, pasting and editing multiple pages.  And who wants to have to search the whole site every time you change a link, making the same change in multiple places, when you could  update it in a link library just once and have it shared immediately across the site.
  • Workflow. Forget pestering your boss to ask her to approve your work. Within a managed system she might get an automatic notification, or maybe even a nice orderly approval queue. And wouldn’t it be nice if she could see exactly what changes you made from the old version, and refer to an audit trail that doesn’t rely on manual updating of spreadsheets.
  • Quality assurance. As well as spotting broken links and accessibility issues, if you can lock down your WYSIWYG editor you can prevent all sorts of extraneous colours, fonts and styles sneaking on to your website or intranet (those pesky contributing editors...).
  • Support. When it all goes wrong, it’s great to have a whole user community and some experts (paid to be) on the end of the phone, rather than always having to wade your lonely way through reams of code or rely on – gulp – IT support.
Of course all this depends on having a CMS that is fit for purpose, that suits your way of working and that’s really giving you value for money.

There are always a few niggles. But guys, however much you hate your system when it doesn’t save your painstaking editorial changes or forces you to go into the code to sort out a nested list, spare a moment for CMS-less me.
Send technology, and tea.