If you’re choosing and evaluating Content Management Systems (CMSs) you have to take into account a number of different factors to find the most suitable software that’s will work for your organisation and circumstances. Depending on your requirements, an evaluation may need to be quite detailed. For example on a recent client project I evaluated a number of CMSs on nearly sixty different criteria!
Compared to CMSs which are chiefly geared towards creating websites, intranet CMSs have their own must-have features, strengths and nuances. You’ll want to make sure that your CMS has a portfolio of capabilities that in turn can make sure your intranet:
- is flexible and scalable
- delivers relevant and impactful experiences for all staff
- enables employees to get things done and complete tasks
- drives efficiency and productivity
- facilitates connections, colloboration and community-building
- supports goals around employee engagement and organisational culture
Ten essential features
Often there are some specific core capabilities and features within an intranet CMS which are integral to delivering all the above.
Recently I was invited by DNN Software to lead a webinar on ten essential capabilities of an intranet CMS, where I covered some of these “core” features that a successful intranet CMS needs. I argued there were:
- Personalisation for content targeting
- Configurable templates right out of the box
- Easy tools for creating and editing content
- Workflow for content retrieval and approval
- Tools for findability
- Great employee directory and profiles
- Social engagement with content
- Communities and related social tools
- Great mobile experience
- Top notch metrics dashboard
If you’re interested the webinar deck is now up on Slideshare. This includes a checklist with some more details about each of the features.
Of course evaluating the right CMS is also not just about capabilities. It’s also about:
- Technical fit
- Security and risk requirements
- Vendor chemistry and stability
- Extent of partner and developer network
- Self-sufficiency and ease of use
- Ability for customisation and integration
- Flexibility and scalability
- Ability to meet your specific requirement
It’s also important to look at your CMS requirements in the wider context of your digital toolset, applications, and skill set within your organisation. For example, although findability tools within your CMS are important, the best approach to meet the more sophisticated search needs of your users (important in some industries) may well lie in a separate search application, which will require a different skill-set to set up than your CMS. You may then want to integrate more systems into that search. A hat-tip to Martin White for pointing this out.
Similarly, a good intranet CMS may meet some needs around delivering great online communities, but more formal collaboration for projects usually requires a different tool.
In other words, if your intranet CMS of choice has some excellent features but doesn’t deliver a solution which truly meets all your user needs, it may need to be supplemented by other applications.
What I’ve definitely found is that one size doesn’t fit all. It’s worth spending the time to research the market, doing your homework, and finding the right intranet CMS for you.