As an organization's Web sites mature, many firms look to Web content management (WCM) systems like Microsoft's Content Management Server 2002 to help them manage their Web content. Not only does CMS offer a flexible platform with which to create and maintain sites, more fundamentally, it provides business users with the ability to directly control one of the most important customer touch points that businesses have today. Unfortunately, most firms misjudge the work involved in the migration effort. They often underestimate the work to move the functionality, the content conversion (e.g., moving content from static pages to CMS's repository), and the impact on day-to-day operations caused by a radical change in how Web site management is conducted. As a result, many implementations of CMS aren't as smooth as they should be not because of the tool, but because of the process.
In this chapter, we'll introduce a framework for structuring the conversion of your site. This framework will allow you to appropriately plan for and manage the process of introducing CMS into your organization, as well as help you anticipate "gotchas" before they become a problem. Specifically, we'll review activities such as content inventory, functionality inventory, deployment strategy, information architecture (IA) review and template design, approval/review workflow, role definition, content conversion, and technical and content contributor training. Some of these activities may sound obvious, but they're often not given enough weight, which leads to problems throughout the project.