Avoiding CMS Implementation Failures
It’s that time of year again; budgets have been renewed, employees are rejuvenated and websites are being redesigned. Redesigning from an aesthetic point of view is exciting and fun. Throw in a new CMS implementation and things quickly become that much more complicated because both IT and marketing have a lot at stake and frictions often arise. While everyone agrees that the project needs to be successful, how stakeholders define success can vary significantly across departments.
In many cases, CMS implementation struggles and failures are due to poor planning, lack of follow-through, or merely misaligned expectations. By making planning a top priority, you can head off many of the problems you are likely to encounter and set yourself up for success.
- Setting Yourself Up For Success: Believe it or not, your organizational processes are just as much, if not more important than which CMS you ultimately settle on. My most successful projects have started with having my clients take a step back and clearly identify their goals. From there, we tackle the “what does success looks like” question. This in turn informs our metrics, reporting, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This groundwork is crucial. (If you want more KPI insights, I've got you covered here.) Investing time and effort in planning upfront will save you from pouring time and money into a platform you will be unable to use in the long run.
- Communication is Crucial: Another key area is communication and expectation setting. Failing to set goals with team members can also lead to a disparity in the expectations of those involved with the results. It is imperative that you take time to ensure everyone affected has a clear understanding of your goals. Some people may be initially resistant to change, or even the specific platform you chose. To counter this, help them connect the dots. In a broader sense how will the chosen CMS help your organization? Precisely how will the changes impact them personally? Also make sure to take a look at your training plan so that you are tailoring trainings for each audience affected by the implementation. Everyone learns differently so a quick hour or two of desktop sharing isn't guaranteed to get everyone up to speed. Ideally, you will want to give a series of smaller training sessions, as many employees learn best in a small group setting. Don’t forget to build in time for follow-up workshops as necessary. The more effective the training the higher your adoption rates will be.
- Hope is Not a Strategy: Not all CMS implementation failures occur before or during launch. The success of your platform adoption depends heavily on what you do post-launch. Unfortunately, just implementing the new platform and hoping everything goes smoothly is insufficient. It is vital for you to monitor how users respond to the changes you have put forth, and to optimize the experience accordingly.
To execute a successful CMS implementation and avoid disastrous post-launch failures, ensure that you have a clear plan in place at the outset of the project, a plan in place for what to do when issues arise and a plan for training employees. And finally - because it cannot be said enough - never stop re-evaluating against your success criteria. If you are looking at implementing a new CMS and want help with the planning process, feel free to tweet at me @Jgrozalsky.