A publishing cry for help

I would like your help please. 

BT has a reasonable content management system we use for publishing formal content – authoritative, factual, information – to help our users with their work.

We have used it for some years but technology and publishing needs have moved on and are very different now.  I wanted to check what publishing tools you have used or know of which could help.

My requirements are:

  • publishing to be as easy as sending an email or writing a blog post
  • publishing standards can be embedded in the templates (owner, review date, etc)
  • workflow if content needs approval before being published
  • automated intranet management tools can check all content for compliance
  • purchase and support costs much cheaper than traditional content management systems
  • ‘out of the box’ product that needs little or no customising

I have tweeted about this on Twitter and had some suggestions already from The Parallax View with Joonla, Drupal and Text Pattern and Richard Dennison with WordPress (of course!).  Thanks to both of you.

So, can you help me too?

10 responses to “A publishing cry for help

  1. Hello Mark,

    I like that you don’t have too many requirements.

    I would be happy to help, but can you pls. explain this one that I’m not sure I understand:

    “automated intranet management tools can check all content for compliance”

    We use WordPress at J. Boye for all our sites, except for our Danish site where we use an open source CMS called eZ systems.

    Cheers, Janus

    • Hi Janus,

      We have intranet management tools which automatically check all content regularly for owner, review dates coming up for renewal, any sensitive content (in confidence) found and not protected and accessibility of content (to WCAG 2.0 AA level) and inform the site owners to take action or risk it being removed.
      We need to have a publishing tool which can run these tools so users mainitain the high level of confidence they have that the content can be relied upon for business decisions, etc.
      We use WordPress internally and I’m checking if our managemenet tools work on it. Thanks for the recommendation.


  2. Sounds like what you are definitely looking for is an “out-of-the-box mid-market web CMS”.

    The world has moved on in the last few years, and the huge behemouth systems are now looking very long in the tooth. There are now a newer generation of products that focus on usability and simplicity, rather than “enterprise functionality”, and these would be a good fit for your situation.

    There are literally dozens (hundreds) of these products, with varying strengths and weaknesses.

    Being strictly vendor-neutral, I’m not going to name names.

    In Australia, we help organisations select a suitable CMS. In the UK, my counterpart would be Martin White (martin.white@intranetfocus.com), and he can definitely head you in the right direction.

    Happy to chat further off-line on this…

    • James,

      Thanks for your comments. I agree with your view on the world. Just as CMS changed our approach to publishing from raw html or that new ‘wonder’ publishing tool, FrontPage, as it was seen at the time so simpler, cheaper, publishing tools are the way forward now.

      I’ll follow up offline with you.


  3. Sorry for being dense, but I’m still not entirely sure about your intranet tools and how they might act as an elimination criteria for some potential systems.

    Internally at J. Boye we use Socialtext for our intranet. We have mixed experiences – no product is perfect – but perhaps a publishing tool outside the traditional CMS category might be able to solve your problems as well, e.g. Atlassian?

    Hope this helps.

    • Janus,

      It’s probably me, not you! 🙂

      I’ll use my next blog post to explain as it is an important part that many intranets overlookj but has been vital to BT’s intranet having such a high level of user satisfaction.

      I’ll look at Socialtext and Atlassian which we do use as a collaboration tool already. I find Atlassian difficult to use though – fine for developers and the technically minded but not for simple users like me.


  4. Thanks for the ref Mark. As part of a new project I’m compiling a list of Open Source CMS at my new site/venture, Enterprise Social Networks:


    So much to choose from!

    • Russell,

      My pleasure. 🙂

      Wow! I’m spoilt for choice. I’ll start reviewing and see if there are any to add to your list.



  5. Personally, I dislike Joomla. Based on two different experiences of it (one demo and one 2-hour training session), both of which were user-unfriendly in the extreme. It seemed to me, based on this admittedly limited exposure, to be developer-oriented rather than publisher-oriented. I still regard Obtree as having set the benchmark in many ways. The only demo I have seen that comes close to that ease of use was of Immediacy.

    • Heather,

      Like you I am familiar with and like Obtree (now Opentext’s Livelink web content management system). However I think technology has now moved on to give an easier publishing experience. It is assessing each CMS against my needs to see what fits best with my needs………….and the little matter of affording it too! 😉

      Thanks for the heads-up on Joomla. I’ll bear that in mid while looking through Russell’s (see his comment below) list of open source CMS.


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