Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week, Ian Truscott looks at the business case for a centralized content management system, arguing that it should quite simply be a no brainer.
When was the last time a head of IT needed to make a business case for an email system or office automation software? It would be ludicrous to consider a business whose information life blood is not pumped around by these systems and it's been this way for the past 25 years. These systems are no more considered an IT spend than having electricity or water in the building. They are a utility.
Yet, and I hate to state the bleeding obvious, our information creation and sharing needs have become way more sophisticated over this time and as far as information systems go, email and office automation are still the only systems that are considered a utility within businesses - everything else you need to make a case for.
This is what has sparked this particular rant, the number of articles I am still reading which talk about identifying and addressing a need for a content management system and then how to justify it. Take, for example, this rather nice article by Jarrod Gingrass of Real Story Group: Do You Need Digital Asset Management?
Here is an incredibly experienced, consultant and analyst (and, I have to say, a nice chap) who has spent years working with clients on this stuff and the first symptom he observes of needing to manage content is "You can't find an image, video, or a piece of media that someone else needs right now". He goes on to make twenty other accurate observations which highlight the businesses case for content management, from collaboration and governance, to legal risk and multichannel content delivery.
And…. all are pretty bloody obvious.
Not just to me and people like me who are steeped in this business, but simplify some of the language of content management that Jarrod uses and it is just plain business sense. And, it's stuff we've been saying for almost two decades.
That's not a criticism of Jarrod. As a respected professional in this field working for an organization with an editorial reputation for calling out the bullshit, he would not be sharing this unless it was needed and useful to the people he meets.
Imagine making a business case for a centralized electronic communication and information system (or… err.. email for short). It would be made up of dumb stuff that we just take for granted, like "it would help our people communicate better". You would laugh out loud if you were asked to do this. The same is true of office automation and instant messaging - work life without these tools is unimaginable.
And if we consider that some of the business needs for content management are just as clear cut and obvious as the case for email, then why is it that when folks say to the boss "what we need is a centralized, content management system", organizations need to jump through hoops in order to justify this?
Yes, yes, email and office products are commoditized, their functionality is clear and standardized, and the content management industry has done it's very best to confuse the hell out of people with its silos and so a CMS purchase does need to be a more considered decision than "Let's install Outlook".
But, as a slight aside, it doesn't have to be this way. I've previously argued that there are six basic requirements that any CMS solution (whether it calls itself a PIM, DAM, WCM, ECM, MRM, MAM or god knows what new acronym some industry analyst is working on) needs to satisfy and right now all the runes are pointing to this convergence in our industry (finally).
My point is, when asking for a centralized, content management system, the answer should be as straightforward as any expected business utility: