Outsourcing the Development of an Enterprise Content Management System
By Mark Anderson, CEO/CFO | Posted November 6, 2017
The development of enterprise content management systems or intranets is steadily increasing. And it’s no wonder why. An enterprise content management system is an all-inclusive solution because it creates a single place where you can store and distribute all types of information so that it’s easily accessible to employees. It gives users immediate access to the information they need to do their jobs, including the latest policies and procedures; the newest products and services; employee recognition and feedback; and company and industry news. An enterprise content management system is also a great source for updated rates, time-saving electronic forms, online training materials, an interactive calendar, helpful FAQs and insightful blogs. And as an added benefit, it enhances communication, collaboration, efficiency, and employee engagement.
Choosing What to Outsource
Companies are looking for an open-architecture, cost-effective solution for distributing information throughout their organization, while employees want better access to information. An intranet can address all of these needs as well as reduce costs and increase productivity. While the benefits of using an enterprise content management system are undeniable, development can be challenging—unless you have the right resources available.
Thankfully, many functions of intranet development can be outsourced, ranging from design and planning to maintenance and hosting. But whether or not to outsource depends on the in-house capabilities of the organization. Some companies might prefer to handle systems management—server, network security and basic programming—internally, but outsource design and application development. Others may want to concentrate on content management and use an outside vendor for back-end development and design, server maintenance, and website design. Ultimately, IT executives have to weigh their internal resources against the cost of outsourcing to make the best decision for their organization.
Reasons to Outsource
Here are some good reasons for you to outsource the development of an enterprise content management system.
- Lack of Expertise
Your IT staff needs a strong understanding of technology and the intranet to be able to build an effective intranet solution. You need a range of technical expertise, including networking specialists, HTML and database programmers, and network administrators. Beyond that, you also need physical resources like web servers, content creation tools and Internet security software. If you don’t have these resources in house, outsourcing may be the best alternative.
- Lack of Time
Even if members of your IT team have the skill to design and implement an enterprise content management system, they may not have the time. Even if they did, their time may be better spent on tasks they’re better suited to handle. This may be especially true for smaller IT departments that are struggling to stay on top of their core duties. They simply don’t have the time to hire, train and manage internal employees to build an intranet, and this makes outsourcing a viable option.
- Access to the Latest Technologies and Processes
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to outsource an enterprise content management system is that it gives you access to the latest technologies. By hiring an intranet vendor that uses cutting-edge technology, tools and processes, you can benefit—without having to invest in these areas internally. Plus, the vendor will have a genuine interest in providing an effective intranet solution because his or her business reputation depends on it.
- Faster Project Delivery and Lower Costs
Intranet vendors, obviously, specialize in building intranets. So they can generally complete an intranet development project faster than you can in house. Plus, most vendors have optimized their processes and can deliver an intranet at a lower cost than you can do the project internally.
- Free up Internal Resources for Other Uses
Outsourcing an enterprise content management system leaves your IT staff free to focus on other duties. For example, instead of having internal employees learn how to be HTML programmers and network administrators, they can spend more of their time addressing the needs of customers. Perhaps more important, outsourcing can free up capital that can be allocated for more core business functions like sales and manufacturing. It can also help you concentrate on broader business issues. Instead of using internal resources to implement technology, you can focus on deeper issues like how to leverage intranet technology to better serve customers and boost revenue.
- Finding an Outside Provider
As a word of advice, make sure you carefully vet which outside provider will manage your intranet project. It goes without saying that you should select a company that’s experienced and knowledgeable. But it’s also important to choose a vendor that understands your industry. And you want someone with a reputation for delivering high-quality work and superior customer service.
Of course, finding such a company is easier said than done. But a good place to start is by asking around. One of the best ways to identify suitable vendors is through old-fashioned word-of-mouth. So ask respected business associates to recommend companies they feel would make good partners. Then do your due diligence to identify the best partner for your company.
An enterprise content management system can be a great tool for organizations of all types and sizes. Outsourcing development tasks can make it feasible for almost any company to have an intranet to benefit their employees and business.
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