In previous posts I wrote about how in less than a decade, the world has moved from a time with no Facebook to a time in which mobile phones and tablets are the platforms of choice. Because of this trend towards "digital," government agencies are facing the challenge of just keeping up. Constituents expect to engage with government online, via email or social media channels, and want to access information easily and quickly on any device they choose. With that said, many government agencies are now realizing that their legacy CMS systems, installed before Facebook, cannot keep pace with the inflow of mobile content. Organizations like the Georgia Technology Authority are moving to open source Drupal and Acquia Cloud to support their website, Georgia.gov.
In the last part of this three part series, I want to explore how agencies choose a new CMS and the key considerations that go into it. First, let's start with the evolution of CMS- where it started and where it is today.
According to a new white paper, the first-generation CMS (1994-2004) was basically a brochure. Its pages were static and adding content was usually done by a webmaster, which limited new content. The second-generation CMS (2003-2010) had more dynamic websites, but was still not equipped to handle mobile content and maintenance costs were very high. The third-generation CMS (present) focuses on social, mobile, and cloud by making it easier to create content, integrate with social channels, and support new innovations.
So what should government agencies be thinking about as they select a new CMS? Below are a few considerations each agency should be thinking of, but for a complete check list, be sure to download Acquia's white paper: A Practical Guide to Selecting a CMS.
■ Will the CMS provide the tools to constantly innovate and adapt to the rapidly changing digital environment?
■ Can the CMS handle large spikes in traffic?
■ What problems are you trying to solve? Articulate your specific requirements for a new CMS.
■ What are the licensing requirements for the software? Is it open source or proprietary?
■ Are you planning to host the CMS on premise or are you seeking a cloud-hosted solution? What are the cost,
maintenance/updating, and staffing benefits to each approach?
■ Can you work with vendors directly? Can you engage an implementation partner?
According to the white paper, the CMS selection process can take 3 to 6 months, though this timeframe can vary. Similar to other projects, it is important to engage stakeholders early in the process and plan/think about what you need your new CMS to do. Every agency will have different priorities so be sure to think of yours upfront and make sure your questions get answered before choosing a new CMS.
For more information, I encourage you to check out: