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Content Management: How to future-proof your website – A Twilight Recap

According to last week’s Twilight speaker, Rob Stewart, content management systems “give the power back to the users”. They allow ‘non-techie types’ the ability to create, manage and maintain website content without fiddling around with code or needing a single go-to person to get things up and running.

Robert Stewart presenting Content Management Twilight


Rob showed attendees through some of the the common content management systems that are available to them, focusing on EPiServer (the CMS platform used for Intergen’s website), SharePoint (EPA’s CMS platform) and Umbraco (open sourced ASP .NET based). With all three systems, Rob showcased a better way to create, manage and maintain content on a website (compared to the static and inflexible HTML websites still seen today).

These systems help future-proof your website and your content… How? They are suited to handle growth and changing business requirements and they have the capacity to evolve with user demand – this could include mobile, social media or business restructuring.

Here’s an example…

ERMA’s transformation to SharePoint

The Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) future-proofed their website by upgrading to a SharePoint content management system. Rob gave us a run-through of this and as Lesley Meadows, ERMA’s Communications Manager, says: “Information was poorly organised, difficult to access and consume by site visitors.”

Rob explained that: “ERMA had a static HTML website, all content was uploaded by a single user, online brand presence was inconsistent, there was no record of what content was uploaded and out-dated content expired on ad-hoc basis.”

With Intergen and SharePoint’s help, ERMA’s website was transformed into a simple, good looking, brand new website. It now has consistent branding and templates; the management of digital assets is easy; it has created a workflow to handle expired content and all content is now relevant and up to date. ERMA also gained distributed authorship – allowing business units to take ownership of content, which also reduced the number of calls to the help desk.

Then ERMA becomes EPA….

Now on the SharePoint platform changes are done with ease, with SharePoint allowing for integration with new applications and systems. This was a major factor in ERMA’s choice of the SharePoint platform, as it knew when it started its website rebuild there were legislative changes ahead that would mean big organisational changes. On 30 June 2011 ERMA was legally disestablished, and its functions transitioned into the new Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). This meant the adoption of a new brand identity and incorporation of new business units (resource management and emissions trading. The website transformation included the migration and creation of new content and a restructure of existing content. And with SharePoint’s content management system, drawing on convenient new features such as flexible page templates, this was made possible.

The future…

The EPA now has a secure extranet portal, a platform to grow new offerings and a suite of easy-to-add new templates (pages).

But what about mobile, social media and upcoming applications?

It’s about progressive enhancement. In other words, a website is never finished (and requires ongoing work). With the many new technologies employed today, every business needs a content management system that can integrate and tailor these systems. These enterprise solutions are easily integrated through platforms such as EPiServer and SharePoint.

Rob discussed the different browser platforms available, from mobile and laptop to tablet views of a website. Different browser displays can be easily integrated within these content management systems.

Rob also spoke about the benefits of using HTML 5 as an alternative to mobile device specific applications, including scaling content based on a device’s screen size. He also chatted about how he prefers looking at some websites via a mobile device, as the user experience can be more engaging and you don’t get adverts due to limited space – once again confirming the mobile is proving a popular platform for surfing the web. For more on mobile applications, you can check out a previous Twilight presented by Ben Gracewood on Mobility – please click here.

Rob also talked about social media and the ways in which you can tackle the increasingly popular platforms available today by using an ‘add this’ application. This allows users to share your content on your website with an array of social media platforms. He explained that you don’t need to have a Facebook or LinkedIn page to necessarily be in the social media space.

Other links:

Here's a nice video of an HTML 5 website as seen on an iPad and iPhone, please click here.

This website uses media queries to detect the screen resolution, and adjusts content accordingly. Try it out by adjusting the horizontal width of your browser. You need to be using a browser that supports HTML 5 such as IE9 or FireFox 5+

You can view Rob’s presentation below.

Posted by: Rose Harris, Marketing Assistant | 22 September 2011

Tags: EPiServer, Web Content, SharePoint, Mobile, Facebook, Mobile applications, Twilight recap, Content Management Systems

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