Jack of all trades and the custom CMS disease
There is a vendor I work with that really wants to get our CMS business. I've committed to CrownPeak Technology's ASP offering for at least one site. I enjoy working with this vendor who wants our business. They only put forth the utmost effort and never whine about the 100's of stupid questions I ask just about every week.

The problem I have with this vendor doing our CMS is the fact that we would be their first CMS customer. They want to use Merant's Collage CMS, which Merant presented a demo to me on. I was impressed with what they had but still had to come back to the fact that CrownPeak gives me a solid product with the experience to back it up. Plus, CrownPeak's core business is CMS. This other vendor is a jack of all trades. They don't have a single commercial CMS package installation under their belt. My concerns, as I've expressed them to this vendor, are clear.

Today some of the services this vendor provides have been a bit shaky. A server crashed causing one service to go down completely. Another service is behaving in odd manners. Yet another one is failing on a critical process and doesn't handle the errors properly. I can't help but think about the consequences of doing CMS with this vendor. If you aren't an expert at any one thing, then how can I depend on you to make a very important project (for us anyway) like CMS successful? I can't afford to have these types of hiccups. The users are suspect of IT these days. We don't communicate and we often don't appear to deliver on our promises or, worse yet, we don't deliver. I can't let this project fall into the category of “yet another failed IT project.” I need a company, a product and a service that delivers the goods. I need a company that has a history of delivering the goods. CMS isn't rocket science (as this vendor pointed out to me) but it can definitely turn into a mess real quick if you don't do it right.

I wanted to post this to remind myself that it's important to deliver on the work you already have with a client. Don't go chasing more business when the existing business you have with the client is beginning to crumble due to your not being able to deliver.

Also important to note here: If you are an agency of any sorts that provides web site development services, please do not continue to build custom CMS systems for every client you encounter. Buy, don't build. Standardize on one or two CMSes that will do the job for most of your clientele. Become experts on those systems and watch the smiles on your clients' faces as they get a solid CMS on time and for less money. You benefit and the client benefits. It's a win-win. This makes so much more sense than building custom CMSes that require extensive coding and testing and provide maybe 50% of what a commercial package/service can offer. If you're concerned your client will bypass you and go with the packaged solution, then you most likely don't provide much added value to your client. Sell your expertise. Sell the client on how much faster and how much cheaper you can implement a CMS for them with one of your preferred packages/services. Heck, sell the client on an ASP like offering. You host the CMS and provide everything the client needs to get up and running. The client doesn't sink a dime into infrastructure and you have a new reoccurring revenue stream. But please, whatever you do, don't sell the client on a custom built CMS. Enough said.
Posted on 07/07/03 - Category: Technology

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Whispers...

fatbat wrote:

I just saw Osama Bin Laden at a Blockbuster video

07/10/03 12:14:23 AM

jhoover wrote:

Fatbat! Where have you been?! Give me a call sometime if you get a chance. I need to call you. Maybe this weekend. It's so busy lately. I feel like I've been neglecting the Fatbat.

I also saw Osama Bin Laden, but he was at a Hollywood Video.

07/10/03 11:35:55 AM

Whisper (The Colonel is listening)...

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The Colonel