At SP, we have been fortunate to work with a variety of clients and industries helping to implement strategies and technologies that streamline content work flows. From this experience we have learned some of the pitfalls that should be avoided; listed below are a few examples.
Not Understanding the Complexity of Your Content
Many of our clients have relied on catalogs for their product content and used a manual method for the grouping of items, creation of categories, or maintenance of their content. Using this practice not only relies on individuals to understand their content, but also makes it difficult to establish a more automated system. Before creating code for automation, all of the content needs to be mapped and organized; only then can programming begin. Ignore this step at your own peril! We have seen many clients invest in development only to discover that the content didn’t match the programming, resulting delays and additional costs.
Struggling to Get Off of Legacy Practices and Systems
Change can be difficult, and the fear of letting go can be greater than the actual action. Since moving to a new content system usually requires modifications and changes, it is important to pick the right time to make the switch. The impact with legacy systems is not only internal but external as well, and all users must be prepared to embrace the new system. This means that user groups and feed back on the differences before going live is important. It will allow you to better incorporate good legacy functions into a new system.
Bringing Bad Habits to a New System
Implementing a new content system is an opportunity to change the way your content is updated and managed. In the past, several of our clients have used excel sheets to share and manage content among departments. This resulted in inconsistencies, duplications, and major errors in the data. One benefit of a system is that it requires the user to follow already established guidelines, resulting in less content cheating and fewer errors.
Underestimating the Implementation Time
Most IT managers and programmers are optimists when it comes to estimating how much time it will take to implement a new technology. More often than not these estimates can be way under causing additional unforeseen costs. Technology is a tricky thing, and it has been our experience that you usually can’t identify an issue until you are in the state of programming. The best way to avoid setbacks is to allow a period of discovery before programming; this way any challenges or obstacles can be identified, insuring a smooth transition to new technologies.