Criteria for Adopting a CMS

Suzanne Mescan, Vasont Systems
Reprinted with permission from Vasont Systems

How do you know if a CMS is right for your organization? Many people struggle to find the answer to this question. Often, these are the questions we hear: Is my content base too small to make it worthwhile? Is the cost of a CMS too expensive for my organization? Is my staff too small to benefit from a CMS? What is the breakeven point for adopting a CMS?

You may be looking in all the wrong places for justification for a CMS. The size of your team, the size of your content base, and the cost of the system may only play a small role in the decision to implement a CMS. The more important factor is: how much will you save in time and costs if you implement a CMS? Here are some criteria to consider:

Analyze your content for reuse. If you have a significant amount of duplicated or similar content (30 percent or higher), a CMS might be the right tool to improve the quality and consistency of your content. Using a CMS, you can consolidate the duplication and reuse content instead for more content integrity. Higher quality content will result in better branding and trust in your products with your clients. It may even save your organization some money in customer support if your documentation is clear and lessens the volume of support calls.

Measure how long it takes your editorial, review, translation, and publishing cycles. See if a CMS’s features can significantly pare down that time and expedite your processes through better organization of content and tasks, notifications to users, collaboration with others, and automation of busy work. The faster the work gets done, the sooner your products can hit the market and begin to generate sales for the organization.

If you translate content into multiple languages, track your translation costs. Evaluate if a CMS can trim those costs through the reuse of base and translated content. Translations are one of the most costly areas of technical documentation, and, using a CMS, the savings potential is huge.