1. Evaluate Need for Custom-Coded WCM: WCM and the associated technologies have grown too complex to manage without the support of a commercial vendor or open source (OS) community.
  2. Create a WCM Transition Strategy: Separating from a custom-coded solution could become an expensive failure without patience and careful planning.
  3. Involve the Right People: Employees responsible for WCM system and key workflows can identify potential challenges and roadblocks to success.
  4. Ask Stakeholders What They Do, Not What They Want: Avoid discussing WCM functionality, and instead focus on how the technology is being used.
  5. Identify Current Features That Need to Be Preserved: Moving to a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution may involve functionality compromises.
  6. Create Use Cases That Reflect Current and Projected Requirements: This ensures that the selected COTS solution can be implemented and launched without disrupting critical business processes.
  7. Don't Sit through Canned Demos: Ask potential vendors how they can support previously identified use cases.
  8. Look for a Great Vendor Relationship: The ideal vendor is the one that wants to form a long-term partnership, not just close a license deal.
  9. When Considering OS, Understand Your Resources: Ensure that you will receive the support you need from the vendor or the user community.
  10. Keep Customizations to a Minimum: The "we can just build it" attitude in the COTS WCM environment encourages scope creep and over-customization and, ultimately, increased support costs.

TIM WALTERS [www.forrester.com] is a senior analyst at Forrester Research where he serves content and collaboration professionals. He will be speaking at Forrester's Content and Collaboration Forum 2010, October 7-8 in Washington, DC.

There is an expression, “The only constant is change.” That certainly appears to be true in 2020, and especially so for communicators in almost every industry

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