Podcast: Why now is the time to move towards a CCMS

Wali Naderi 15 Nov 2022 5 mins
On Sep. 26, 2022, Scriptorium hosted a podcast entitled ‘Re-platforming your structured content into a new CCMS’ with Chip Gettinger, VP – Of Global Solutions Consulting at RWS. Chip was invited to speak about “why companies are re-platforming structured content by moving it into a new component content management system (CCMS).”
Scriptorium has been helping companies manage, structure, organize and efficiently distribute content over the past 25 years. Chip, on the other hand, brings over 25 years of experience in the software solutions sales consulting domain.
Chip briefly introduced himself, specifying that RWS’s product Tridion Docs is a part of the Global Solutions Consulting Team. Tridion Docs is a data component content management system (CCMS). And Chip works with Tridion Docs’ customers and partners on technical business requirements.
Sarah O’Keefe, founder and CEO of Scriptorium, represented Scriptorium on this podcast. She is a well-known content strategy expert; MindTouch named her an “unparalleled” content strategy influencer in 2016.
Sarah mentioned that she and Chip had many projects that involved re-platforming, which is why this podcast was held. Sarah defined re-platforming as a situation where a client already has structured content and wants to move it from the existing system to a new one.

What leads to re-platforming?

Based on his experience, Chip mentioned that he has come across many clients moving from some other CCMS to Tridion. The primary driver for this has been a significant business change; he said mergers and acquisitions as a strong case. In this case, post-M&A, the content is moved from two separate CCMSs to a single CCMS.
Another case is a client moving from an old system to a new one. E.g., Chip mentioned that one of its clients was still using the first version of IBM DITA (an XML-based architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering technical information) for 12 years and wanted to move to DITA 1.3 (the latest version), which required significant re-platforming effort. Reasons for moving from old systems to new systems was the need for regulatory compliance, which is no longer possible with the old system. Another reason can be moving from on-premise to the cloud, or the system has been customized to such an extent that it requires a complete transformation.
Chip mentioned ways in which organizations complicate documentation. In one case, he said that a client used FrameMaker files and a composite DITA topic to turn it into one big topic. In general, though, he witnessed several clients typing generic topic or using the composite DITA topic (containing several topics), complicating structuring and making reuse difficult and cumbersome. Chip mentioned that he witnessed an equal split between customers adopting DITA for the first time and those undertaking re-platforming.

Preparing for re-platforming

Sarah agreed and further mentioned that many companies aren’t using keys because those didn’t exist a decade ago. And now, with the newer version of DITA and these features made available, Scriptorium decides which documents are to be retained in the original (old) form and which ones should be converted into the standard DITA element. At the same time, this is not re-platforming but is a clean-up and alignment exercise where one revisits the content modeling decisions made to make improvements.
Chip referred to the classic case of two merging businesses and highlighted that both have different metadata and attribute models and probably other topic models and book maps versus DITA maps. And re-platforming exercise is the best time to make alignments when the content is being cleaned up and prepared for reuse across different systems.

Biggest challenges in re-platforming projects

Chip listed some of the most significant challenges experienced while re-platforming:
Gaining acceptance on alignment
When a large business acquires a smaller company, agreeing on governance is especially important. And then, while doing the re-platforming, changing it becomes even more difficult.
Technical challenges
Transitioning from old to new systems poses challenges as it requires significant effort, including rebuilding scripts and publishing. But the benefits provide significant alignment for the newly aligned teams.
Extracting maximum value from re-platforming
Chip mentioned that one needs to have clear business goals and objectives with set timelines linked to performance improvements. E.g., Tridion’s customers have witnessed their PDF publishing times dropping 50 to 70% when upgrading from older systems. 
Sarah highlighted that while working with the new CCMS platform, one needs to acknowledge that any given company or organization has specific unique DNA and unique features. And that needs to be preserved to ensure that the content being produced is compatible with their identity and goals. 
For companies to extract maximum benefits from the new system, they need to work with how the new system is designed to maintain their DNA; old ways won’t work. Chip added that the new systems have much automation (that the old system didn’t), e.g., automated commenting, notes, metadata, etc., which should be leveraged.
Another aspect to consider is what is needed and what is not; Sarah brought up this topic and Chip advised that one needs to link it to business goals and objectives. If the business required a file from 1980, it should be retained. One can also decide if it needs to be in an editable format or just for reference purposes.
It can also be content-based; Chip mentioned that one of Tridion’s clients moved to Jason outputs that Tridion offers to power interactive applications. The Jason output works with even old content written on DITA several years ago. And hence, if the goal is to modernize output instead of publishing standards HTML output, then that is a key business goal for re-platforming and deciding which content should be carried forward.
On a closing note, Chip advised organizations to learn from experts, consultants and vendors when approaching re-platforming with a new governance model. And to attend conferences and events to gauge the recent trends and latest features in the CCMS space.

Listen to the podcast now for more specifics and case studies.

Wali Naderi

Wali Naderi

Senior Product Marketing Manager
Wali Naderi has 20 years' experience in the IT industry with some well-known IT organizations in various positions (Product Management, Product Marketing, and Sr. Alliance Management). He joined RWS in late 2020 as a Senior Product Marketing Manager, focusing on the partner community.
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