A content inventory is a complete list of all content that you want to manage within CMS 2002. Think of a content inventory as taking stock of everything that makes up your current Web site. This may sound a little tedious and perhaps unnecessary; however, consider that most Web sites are usually "owned" by a number of parties. With multiple people or groups contributing content, it's difficult to track and/or know what is actually out there. Performing a full content inventory will provide the following:
A complete list of all Web pages and/or content included in your Web site: Again, Web sites tend to grow organically through interaction with multiple groups or people; most firms don't know what they have until they make a concerted effort to go through a discovery process.
A mechanism to account for all content that needs to be converted (or not): It would be foolhardy to think it is possible to know whether a conversion was successful without knowing what the precondition was. In other words, this is a way to ensure that you have successfully converted all of your content by comparing it with a known list of what your site had. A thorough content inventory is a great quality assurance (QA) resource when you are performing the final testing.
A way of assigning content ownership: As part of implementing CMS, you will define a workflow process. This workflow process will determine what people or groups are involved in producing and approving content. As the first step, you will have to identify the current owners of each piece of content. Often, firms will begin the process of converting their sites without the involvement of the key stakeholders generally because they don't know who they are. This condition usually leads to user community dissatisfaction or errors in the conversion. Determining content ownership up front will greatly reduce these issues.
What content can be removed from the Web site: Implementing CMS provides the unprecedented opportunity to review what content is published on your Web site. Most companies have probably gone through one or two revisions of their site by now; however, most have not concentrated on reviewing the content as a part of the redesign process. Usually, this means that a great deal of the content on the site has likely "evolved" over time. As a result, you may find that some content isn't relevant or is simply outdated. In either case, you may wish to remove this content when you convert your site. A side benefit is that this exercise may reduce the work necessary to migrate your site, since you're reducing the content you have to convert.
Content consistency review: Through a combination of factors like content evolution, multiple group involvement, and ownership changes, content on a Web site could and does become inconsistent over time. For example, over time a product or service's positioning changes because of product maturity, new product uses, product bundling, or simple product changes. As a result, a product's content changes to account for this metamorphosis. However, did all of the Web content change? Is it possible that out of the tens, hundreds, or thousands of references, descriptions, or links to your product, some of them are out of sync? Could the same product be positioned differently across your site (especially if the same product is cross-sold between different business units)? A content inventory will help highlight these inconsistencies and serve as a checklist for fixing them.
Missing content: A thorough content inventory (in a conversion project) is a way of determining what content you currently have. However, if you are adding new sections to your site or you are reorganizing your site, you may be missing content in one or more areas. In this case, a content inventory will help point out missing content before it becomes necessary to create it.
Guidance for information architecture, template design, and content conversion: How is your current content structured? Do you have groupings of similar content? Are there patterns to your content? The answers to these questions are important to discover during the content inventory. Again, since you are converting your site, it is likely that you already have an information architecture and a solidified design. As with any site, yours will have changed over time, this will be your opportunity to ensure that your information architecture changed along with it.