When in Canberra this week, we talked about CMS implementation issues.
The same problem arose that has existed for all my other clients, with the potential to make the CMS very difficult to implement.
Here’s the issue:
Before starting to develop a CMS solution, you need to deploy a fully-functional staff phone directory (“whitepages”). This should have the following features:
- Provides standard contact information: name, phone number, e-mail address, etc.
- Records which department and team each staff person belongs to.
- Identifies each staff person’s job role.
- Records the relationships between staff (such as “reports to”, or “managed by”, etc)
- Accurate and up-to-date.
- Maintained by the HR department, or in-sync with their database.
- Ideally allows users to update their own details.
- Details are sourced from an open repository (such as LDAP).
Why is this a requirement for a content management system?
A workable enterprise-wide CMS must provide functionality such as:
- Always accurate user profile information (who can login).
- Comprehensive security records (what they can do).
- Workflow system that automatically routes to the relevant manager.
- Personalisation for end users.
- Role-based (not person-based) ownership of pages.
- Ability to route feedback message to the relevant role or group.
- Single sign-on, across authoring, administration and viewing interfaces.
All of this assumes that there is a single source of accurate staff information within the organisation. Thus the requirement for a staff whitepages.
Unfortunately, very few organisations have taken the time to implement such a solution, typically due to organisational politics, or system incompatibilities.
My statement remains: don’t start a CMS until you’ve got a proper staff whitepages. Without this in place, you will find it very hard to create a complete, and workable CMS solution.