My organization is using Sharepoint for internal doc management and our intranet. My basic question is this: Because we have it and are using it, should that be the end-all CMS solution for our public facing website?
For the IT staff:
What are the pros and cons? Is it best for the citizen, easier for the government body, both or "you aren't asking the right question?"
For the PIO/Communication staffer:
Also, if your organization has lunched a Sharepoint site do you have any success stories, regrets or limitations? Current examples you can share?
I appreciate you taking the time to respond.
I can't say I have enough experience with using SharePoint for external sites to say whether it would be better or worse relative to an alternative, but I am curious as to whether you've looked into WordPress, Drupal or Joomla for external CMS?
We are currently looking at those options, but the idea of using SharePoint as our CMS was presented by our IT Department. We have it, can support it and have internal resources to manage it. A lot of options are on the table, however I wanted to get some feedback from other govs that are utilizing SharePoint for their public facing site.
Good question - would this be the main publicly facing citizen focused site? If so, I'd check and find examples of Sharepoint used this way. I know technically it can do that but not sure if it's the sweet spot of its use case.
My sense on Sharepoint as external CMS is that it's super powerful and can definitely do it but it is a little more technical for the average user
Thanks for the response. Yes, we are considering using SharePoint for a publicly facing, citizen focused site.
A good real-world example is maybe the best way to respond to this.
Check out this case study of Des Moines, Iowa using SharePoint externally. There's some great data points on uptime, dev time and download time that you may find useful.
Thanks Warren, I've looked into and reached out to Des Moines IT department, who manages and maintains the site, as well as their PIO.
The answer is "it depends". What are you looking to get out of SharePoint for your public users? If you just happen to have a load of people who know how to code the look-and-feel for a static website, the answer is "yes". If you have the expensive extra tools for creating and allowing for external access while maintaining internal passwords and access levels, sure (for cases where you need external folks to access levels of documentation using it in the internal document workflow way). Do you need your users to submit forms, track items, research things? "possibly".
I like SharePoint well enough. I'm familiar with it. I know about how to rip apart the look-and-feel... I wouldn't want to do it unless I HAD to. I also know RedDot (now another name since buy out) and Vignette with Portal... still wouldn't pick either of them if I don't already have people who REALLY know their stuff in the specific tool.
The upshot is that these large-scale scalable tools are for BIG, BIG, BIG sites and site sets. If you are Oprah, I might consider one. I know Martha uses one across several assets. So does Disney. They have people, lots of bright, shiny expert people - if you do, march on McDuff!
Thank you Faye, this is some solid feedback that helps me. I am going to think this over and bounce it off a few people before responding in depth, but I appreciate the thought and time you took to help.
I also keep in mind the web editors and writers responsible for updating the web site. Is it easy for them? Is there a steep learning curve? Do they have to learn a complicated new tool or an easy to use CMS? If you want good, timely, accurate, engaging content then pick a CMS that people actually want to use.
Very good point. Currently we are using SharePoint internally and have users updating pages, however we haven't implementing the CMS features.
I do agree that if you don't train users and they aren't comfortable, your adoption will suffer. Thanks for the input.