All Gassed Up and Ready to Go: Planning your CMS deployment

There’s a significant amount or work that needs to get done after you’ve picked the right CMS to manage your site. You’ve bought the car, now you have to gas it up, get it on the road, pull out a map, and point it in the right direction.

Your website has been chugging along for a while now, evolving as it should. However, you’re solely responsible for manually managing the site and it’s becoming quite a chore. One day, after a few too many requests, edits, changes, fixes, and reloaded pages, you realize (or your webmaster not-so-politely informs you) that the Little Site that Could has become a Monster demanding constant care and feeding.

You decide it is time to work with a content management system (a CMS). You do your due diligence, a site analysis, a site audit, and an evaluation against best practices and you come up with a list of business needs and justifications for investing in a new CMS, including:

  • More efficient website management

  • Empower your contributors

  • Enforce development and content standards

  • Save time

  • Save a few grey hairs

After doing your research, or engaging someone to help, you eventually select the best technology for your organization. It’s taken a lot of effort to get this far, but the real work is now just beginning.

In our experience, it can take several weeks--sometimes even a few months--to effectively deploy a CMS. Deployment requires its own plan and a process is required to minimize problems, delays, and the potential for having to re-do efforts. Even with all this planning, getting your site re-launched by using a CMS is hardly a nominal effort.

Some of the questions you’ll have to ask yourself (and come up with answers for) include:

  • What has to be negotiated for the vendor contract – what kinds of terms, support, licensing, etc. are you getting into?

  • How’s the implementation (development and setup) of the vendor’s solution going to be managed?

  • Who’s responsible for the technical installation and set-up, page template design, and application integration?

  • How will the overall implementation plan be defined?

  • Who’s going to develop and define processes for content migration, workflows, approval and publishing?

  • How will you enforce (and define) site policies and procedures?

  • Who will own what pages on the site?

  • Who’s going to go through all the existing site content and determine what stays, what goes, and how it all gets ported to the new site?

  • How is training for new users of the CMS going to be done?

  • What content will need to be converted?

  • Who’s going to be responsible for QA and testing?

  • Will you develop a marketing and/or rollout plan that includes pre-launch activities, ongoing education, orientations, continued use and contributions?

It takes the combined efforts of many departments, including Communications and IT, to work out the details and execute a plan to integrate your new system and to maximize its potential value.

Installing a CMS isn’t as simple as loading a piece of software on a server. A CMS impacts people and how they do their jobs —particularly those involved in the content process. Answering the questions of who will own a new web page, who will be responsible for applying any software upgrades and how content will be vetted before publishing are all issues that need to be addressed before the CMS gets rolled out to users.

Atomic Energy of Canada knew that picking the right content management solution was just one step on the road to consolidating an intranet of over 200 individual websites. Prescient helped AECL define and choose the best CMS solution for their needs, and both companies continued to work together to plan and deploy their new intranet portal, MyAECL. The project team looked at the same questions listed above and came up with answers to each one over the course of a 4-month long CMS deployment project. The end result was a smooth transition to a new vehicle for corporate communications and the deployment of a new tool to manage the site far more efficiently.

There’s a significant amount or work that needs to get done after you’ve picked the right CMS to manage your site. You’ve bought the car, now you have to do the paperwork, gas it up, insure it, get it on the road, pull out a map, and point it in the right direction.

It’s not unusual for the CMS deployment to require twice the time and effort than the initial planning and technology selection. But with proper planning and management you can make the drive that much smoother

To engage Prescient for help in selecting the best CMS for your organization, please see our

CMS Blueprint

service or

contact us


Prescient Digital Media is a veteran web and intranet consulting firm with 10+ years of rich history. We provide strategic Internet and intranet consulting, planning and communications services to many Fortune 500 and big brand clients, as well as small and medium-sized leaders.