Switch that cms.

by Yuval Ararat on 20/12/2011

Companies wish to refresh their CMS implementations from time to time, that is natural and that is the evolution of the Internet, disguised as a revolutionary organisational change. Some companies who have not followed the product versions they are on, due to varios not fully understood reasons, face a big hurdle when they try to tackle a refresh 5 years after the implementation was complete.
Companies at that stage look for the upgrade path and find that its not as simple as they might think, products have dramatically changed, API and development need to be done from scratch or minimal reuse and IT will need to redesign implementation and plugins from webservers.
These hurdles usually direct those companies to a path examining other products, which in turn makes the current product look really bad when compared to the modern competitors.
When comparing the content editing interfaces of few years back you see that Internet evolution has not ceased and the new interfaces are slick, quick and easy to use.
To change your CMS you need to go through a very elaborate process, you need to remodel your data, refresh your site, rebuild your CMS data structure and content interfaces. You will need to bring the old data through from your old CMS through some sort of migration and while your at it why not get social media integration and some internal integrations that you always wished you have done.
But just like renovating a house, the problem with projects like this are the complexity and dependency between the sub projects and the unknown factor.
Your data migration depends on your data remodeling and that requires your wireframes and content strategy to be designed first making the migration design fase delayed. You want to integrate to the companies internal SAP product availability but require the catalogues to be migrated and these are delayed from the wireframe and content remodelling activities.
You get the point.
Every change in every project carries changes in the other projects and simple changes to one project can be cumbersome to others.
So why not spread it around?
Start from your new CMS and build up, stage by stage. Solidify one and get the next on top.
You cant paint the walls before you plaster them and you cant plaster them before the frame.
So my advice will be to set your expectations as follows, expect to have the site working before you get your data migrated and before the integration points are working.
Make the work a step ladder and climb only when you feel secure the other step will hold.
But you might state that this will create problems when you identify changes that are needed in the step under you.
This is true that it could take more to fix. But there is a benefit in loosing so many management and layers to figure out the same and coordinate that Change earlier in the process.

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