There’s no doubt about it – any sizeable business or agency needs a good content management system (CMS) to stay on top of the documents and data that are the lifeblood of the modern organization. Simply having a CMS doesn’t mean it’s the right one, though. If your organization hasn’t updated its CMS in recent years, and if you don’t have a comprehensive CMS strategy in place, it’s about time to do so. Here are seven key steps to modernize your CMS and implement an enterprise content management strategy to prepare your organization for what’s to come on the horizon:

1. Identify the Key Project Participants

Before you can begin any project, it’s always important to identify which leaders will be involved, what their roles and responsibilities will be, who they will be working with and what they will need from their teams. This means identifying a key business leader from each area, as well as corresponding IT leaders who will be heading the technology side of things, and outlining the scope of their participation in the CMS update project.

2. Define a Project Charter

A project charter is a critical part of most successful CMS projects and strategies. This should include a shared vision for what the content management system will look like once it’s implemented, as well as Key Performance Indicators. Determining the KPIs will be particularly important for assessing the success of the project during and after its completion.

3. Assess Your Current State

The whole point of modernizing your organization’s CMS is to alleviate the current pain points and implement a solution that provides greater business value. By evaluating how well your current solution meets your future business needs, you can better understand the pain points of your current state and the goals of your future state at the end of the project.

4. Envision the Future of Content Management

Once you have assessed your current state and what it is lacking, then it is possible to truly envision what your ideal future state business processes and solution will look like. Business and IT leaders must determine what capabilities are needed in their areas, and carefully communicate this information with their teams.

5. Analyze the Gaps Between Current and Future States

Simply dreaming up an idea of what your future CMS will look like once it’s modernized won’t necessarily be enough to take you there. It takes an expert opinion and comprehensive strategizing to determine what exactly the gaps are between your current state and future vision. Many organizations opt to bring in consultants during this stage in order to develop a list of prioritized initiatives to close the gaps.

6. Plan and Prioritize the Initiatives

Once your leaders and experts have assessed your current CMS solution, envisioned a future solution and analyzed the gaps between these current and future states, only then is it possible to plan out and prioritize the initiatives. One of the final steps of project preparation is developing a roadmap to achieve the vision, which must be communicated with all project participants throughout the organization.

7. Implement the Roadmap

The final step sounds almost too easy, but with enough careful planning it actually should be pretty straightforward. Once your enterprise reaches the implementation stage, you should already have a well-defined enterprise content management strategy in place and a list of steps to achieve the goals set out before you. With Key Performance Indicators to assess how well you’re achieving these goals as you move along, and structured training and support to keep everyone in the loop, it’s just a matter of following the steps. Business strategy consultants are often essential to the success of this final stage.

Getting a little help from seasoned experts, who know what works and what doesn’t, is often the true key to modernizing your CMS. If your enterprise is thinking about updating your CMS infrastructure in the near future, it’s well worth it to work with a knowledgeable consultancy rather than going it alone.