How to Select and Work With a Digital Agency

Selecting a competent, reliable digital agency for a web content management project can be both exciting and daunting. On the one hand, teaming up with an external partner can open up new possibilities, enable innovation and increase sales. On the other hand, if things go wrong and the relationship breaks down half way through the project, the resulting mess can be a very expensive mistake to fix.

In my career I have been involved in dozens of digital agency selections for website redesigns and web content management projects. Whilst some of these projects went over time and over budget, most … Read more >

Investing in Technology: How to Make the Right Choice

Technology is evolving faster than ever. New software products, frameworks, and methodologies emerge all the time, making old platforms and ways of working obsolete. With so many options available that are constantly changing, making the right choice is a challenge. Large, complex organizations usually have procurement processes in place that emphasize due diligence, risk management, and cost-effectiveness. A typical technology selection process looks like this:

  • Needs recognition and validation
  • Requirements gathering
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Financial analysis and ROI
  • Business case
  • Shortlist
  • RFPs
  • Vendor demonstrations
  • Scoring against the selection criteria
  • Decision making
  • Negotiations and contracts

With all of the steps in the … Read more >

Being Yourself at Work: Notes on Equality and Diversity in Tech

When I got British citizenship in 2010, it felt like winning a lottery. Going through the immigration process was a long, nerve-wrecking and expensive journey, but through hard work and a healthy dose of luck I got through to the finish line when so many people with similar skills didn’t make it. My degree, work experience and age (yes, age) meant that I scored enough points to qualify for Highly Skilled Migrant Programme during the brief time of its existence (2008-2015). Had I been one year older at the time of applying or in a different profession, the stars wouldn’t … Read more >

Ethical dilemmas behind web accessibility compliance

‘I, Daniel Blake’ is a British drama film about a 59-year old widower who worked hard all his life but became unemployable following a sudden heart attack. In order to keep the roof over his head Daniel had to make a claim for employment allowance at the local Job Centre. Despite Daniel’s inability to fill in the online form without help, he is given no alternative ways of completing this application because UK government services are ‘digital by default’.

This heartbreaking scene is a stark illustration of how the internet has become an integral part of our lives, whether we … Read more >

How to Avoid Common Pitfalls in Web Content Management Projects

There is no shortage of IT projects that ran over time, over budget or under-delivered on value. Managing web CMS projects is hard because it relies on using new unproven technologies, ambiguous terminology, and requires agility in order to accommodate changing requirements. 

Here are some tips that will help you to avoid common mistakes.

Engage with stakeholders and users early and often

In the rush to deliver the project on time, it can be tempting to jump straight into implementation. Whilst this can give a false sense of security early in the project, the risk of not involving the right … Read more >

Digital Project Success Checklist

There is no shortage of high profile digital projects that have run over time, over budget or both. Managing digital projects is hard because it relies on using new unproven technologies, terminology is ambiguous, expectations are high and the desire for constant change of requirements is relentless. 

Digital Project Success Checklist presentation covers the complete project lifecycle from writing the business case to project closure. We’ll cover both traditional methods such as RAID log and RACI model, and new trends in digital project management such as kanban boards, product vs project management  and emotional intelligence.

  • What is a digital project? 
Read more >

The Web CMS Project Lifecycle

One of the reasons web CMS projects are so hard is that organizations don’t do them very often. Lessons learned are forgotten a year or so after the project is finished, people move on, and, by the time the web CMS is under review again, most of the previously acquired knowledge of the CMS marketplace is out-of-date.

Lack of experience in running web CMS projects often leads to sketchy planning. Not seeing clearly how the project will develop and what challenges each of the project stages brings makes accurate estimates difficult.

Here is a quick overview of the lifecycle stages … Read more >

Assembling a Winning WCM Project Team

EContent Magazine - Summer 2019Assembling a Winning WCM Project Team, Marianne Kay

The roles and skills required for a successful Web CMS project completion can be divided into three groups: business, content and technical. These groups often work in different departments with conflicting priorities. The first two (business and content) typically belong to marketing, and technical roles are staffed by IT.

When a web CMS project goes well, it’s because of the hard work of people behind the project, who are able to surface and deal with the challenges, not only individually, but also as a team that builds on each other’s expertise.

When a web CMS project goes wrong, it’s usually … Read more >

Web Content Management systems in Higher Education (UK)

What content management systems (CMS) do Universities use? Here are some examples.

University of Aberdeen  OpenText
Abertay University TERMINALFOUR, Umbraco
Aberystwyth University TERMINALFOUR
Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge Sitecore
University of the Arts London TERMINALFOUR
Aston University Easysite
University of Bath Bespoke system, developed in-house
University of Birmingham Contensis
University of Bolton Contensis
Bournemouth University Drupal
University of Bradford TERMINALFOUR
University of Brighton  Contensis
University of Bristol TERMINALFOUR
Brunel University London Contensis
University of Buckingham WordPress
University of Cambridge Plone, Drupal
Canterbury Christ Church University Contensis
Cardiff University  Squiz Matrix
Cranfield University Sitecore
University of Cumbria TERMINALFOUR
De Montfort University Leicester
Read more >

Transforming the Future of Digital Journalism

Transforming the Future of Digital JournalismHaving worked with Web CMSs for more than 15 years, I’ve seen a wide range of CMS products—including bespoke solutions built by digital agencies to suit the needs of their existing customers, open source platforms developed and supported by large communities, and proprietary commercial products developed by software houses serving a wide range of industries and use cases. I’ve worked with market-leading CMSs, as well as average, “good enough” CMS platforms. I’ve worked on selection and procurement to replace end-of-life, officially dead CMSs too.

Some of these WCMSs were better than others, but most of them proved frustrating to the … Read more >