Guest Post: Exploring CMS Workflow – Presided by Royal Bloodlines

October 2, 2012 by guest author, Michael Arnett

We often hear about content being king, and either context, communication or collaboration being queen, depending on whom you ask.  Those ceremonial drums continue to beat mercilessly, and for good viewing reason.

Behind the screen, however, whether relevant, beautifully collaborated content radiates throughout the royal castle, there still neeDS to be some kind of mechanism to help ensure the king and queen can go about their daily business without being blindsided by the sudden and frequent interruptions brought about by unruly peasants.

Workflow Rules

That mechanism is workflow, the fruitful land over which the supreme rulers govern.

In the digital signage (DS) universe, content management system (CMS) workflow typically entails content getting submitted for approval by a user with lesser privileges;  either approved or rejected by a manager with greater privileges;  and, once approved, embedded into a playlist and scheduled accordingly for playback on designated screens by the network’s day-to-day administrator.

Not all CMS platforms are the same, mind you – in fact, far from it, particularly in how the content flows from one step to the next – but the inherent logic, at least amongst the more sophisticated platforms, is relatively consistent.

A well-construed workflow saves users precious man-time, ensuring an efficient and cost-effective CMS experience.  Conversely, a poor one can painfully skyrocket your operating costs, rendering your royal family virtually powerless against their struggle for sanity, let alone order within the kingdom.

Our own viewpoints aside, many of us who’ve been in front of prospective DS clients have heard how one platform’s workflow is perceived vs. another.  In fact, I’ve come across a well-known platform being apparently so difficult to use that it took multiple full-time individuals to administer to a relatively simple network of less than 50 screens.

There are so many factors to consider, however, including the knowledge base of the actual users, and, with that, training programs offered by the CMS providers themselves, that it’s rather difficult to simply conclude outright that one platform ultimately has a better workflow than another.

The key takeaway here is perception – just as one majestic courtyard’s trash is another’s treasure, so too can be a CMS workflow.   Is the workflow conducive to your needs?   That’s the question that should be asked.  In other words, for you Shakespeare fans, would you trade your kingdom for a horse?

Workflow Considerations

Without delving into the broader perspective of how one CMS might be better suited than another, let’s review some of the criteria for considering which platform’s workflow might be best suited for you:

Measuring How CMS Workflow Fares

There isn’t a simple way to measure the workflow of one package vs. another, but this is one method that can be considered:  Assign a weighted value to each of the factors above based on your organization’s needs (e.g. from 1-5).  If the platform that you’re looking at exceeds expectations, score it high.  If it falls below expectations, score it low.  Add up scores at the end of the exercise and compare across the platforms you’re evaluating.

If more than one person is involved in your evaluation, particularly of a platform your company is already intimately familiar with, you should also keep in mind that:

Workflow aside, also keep in mind that other more common factors will come into play as you work your way toward a decision regarding which CMS package to use:  affordability, scalability, support, references, etc.  Each of these should also be weighed heavily according to your needs.

Don’t Banish Their Majesties

All-in all, one should not underestimate the importance of an optimized workflow.  After all, without it, the king and queen lose the keys to their castle, bid their kingdom farewell and are forced to live in exile on some empty island full of shattered dreams and unfulfilled promises.


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