Read an Excerpt
From Chapter 6: Administering Content
...What Does It Mean to "Administer Content"?
Administering content is not the same as developing content, but it does include a basic understanding of the tools, procedures, and mechanisms for content development. In today's rapidly changing IT environment, as companies adjust to changes and reallocating resources to remain competitive, management often attempts to delegate to the overworked network or system administrator the additional task of planning, developing, and maintaining company Internet or intranet Web sites.
Resist their attempt to delegate this task to you!
The reason for doing this is that the essence of Web site development is not formatting documents with HTML or writing scripts or programs. These are merely the underlying structure that support what Web sites really are, namely:
- Vehicles for communicating company goals, policies, products, and services to employees, business partners, and the world.
- Tools for enabling collaborative business functions between departments and between clients and services.
- A reflection of management's understanding of where the company is coming from and where it is headed.
- Designing a new company logo
- Producing a newsletter for customers
- Writing a company annual report or business plan
- Producing a TV commercial to market a service
- Writing a policy not directly relating to IT issues
- Deciding which company documents should bepublished and which shouldn't
- Designing a standard template for employee resumes
- Determining who should be allowed access to certain company files
As administrator, it is important that you point these things out to management, not just to release yourself from extra duties to perform but because you should not assume responsibility for tasks and decisions that rightly belong to others who are trained to do them--or else you will find yourself treading on other people's toes, often with painful results!
Establishing Content Development Policies and Procedures
Your response to management asking you to develop the company's Internet or intranet site should involve the following:
1. Meet with management to determine the overall goals of the site, what the intended objectives are, and how to evaluate whether those objectives have been met--in other words, choose a project leadership team. Representatives of executive management, marketing, and IT should usually be involved in this.
2. Determine which people will be responsible for making decisions about what specifically should be included in the site and what should not. Usually this means assigning leadership to sections of the site to departmental middle managers.
3. Determine which people will be responsible for soliciting and creating content, developing applications, and custom programming. Usually this involves teams of secretarial and clerical staff, applications developers, and IT support staff.
4. Establish a written policy indicating who is responsible for what regarding site development. For more information on this aspect, see the last section of Chap. 1.
5. Determine what resources will be required to complete the project, including hardware, software, and training for individuals. Develop a proposal that includes a cost analysis showing that it is cheaper to train and use existing people and to outsource programming needs than to utilize the costly time of an administrator or provide him or her with additional technical training. For example, training five secretarial people to use FrontPage and having them perform 100 hours of site development will be faster and cheaper than having a high-paid network administrator perform 500 hours of site development. Or as another example, outsourcing database development or other programming needs for $5000 will be considerably easier, cheaper, and faster than having an administrator take several weeks of advanced technical training courses in programming or database development.
6. Familiarize yourself with the basic tools that will be used to create the company Internet or intranet site. This way you can assist content developers by making recommendations on designing site structure and navigation, giving advice on making use of advanced features of these tools, and providing other technical advice and support. If possible, try to have management budget for you or your IT staff to take Microsoft Official Curriculum courses for tools such as Internet Information Server 4.0, Internet Explorer 4.0, FrontPage, Visual InterDev, SQL Server, and so on.
7. Finally, develop procedures for content developers and programmers so that they will know exactly how to
- Add, edit, and remove content on their portion of the site
- Create, test, and debug scripts, programs, and applications
- Conform to standards of style and navigation structure to give the whole Internet or intranet site a consistent look and feel
- Perform the limited administrative tasks assigned to Web site operators
- Request technical assistance from the IT department's Web site support people...