IT $480,000: Content $5,000

TUANZ Business Internet Conference is on next week in Wellington. My presentation is 'Usable content: an achievable dream'. It includes an imaginary budget for the CMS of an imaginary company, Telepop Ltd, with a staff of 1,000. I tried to keep the budget realistic, although naturally every project is different.

Telepop's budget for a new intranet
CMS software purchase:$200,000
Software installation/customisation: $150,000
Business analysis: $30,000
Content audit: $8,000
Template design: $30,000
IA, usability tests, extra functionality: $30,000
TOTAL: $480,000

Typically, apart from the audit, Telepop excludes content from the funding loop. Sure, writers will be trained to use the publishing tool, but that's IT training. Telepop assumes everyone can already write good content. They organise a 1-day workshop on writing for the intranet for the web management team (16 people), and consider the job done and dusted.

Initial training for 20 content editors: $5,000

After go-live, the story is even sadder. At the very least, Telepop will pay an annual CMS licence fee of $20,000. Meantime, the web team turns over, trained writers leave, and the number of staff actually writing content increases every year. So what is Telepop's annual budget for training content writers? Zero.

To me this seems a tad bizarre. Telepop has spent a fortune on a virtual high class shop with marble fittings, gold taps, and customised systems. They decided what they would sell, but settled for poor quality stock. Now they plan to pay the rent every year, and never replenish the stock. Alas, the Telepop fantasy is an everyday scenario in the real world.


Nov 20, 2006 • Posted by Maree Kimberley

Good luck with the presentation, Rachel. You’ve hit it right on the button. Last year I was researching CMS implementation with local governments in Australia and quite a few times when I asked about training for writers, the response was ‘oh yes, we have a training course for them to learn how to use the content management system’, and when pressed for what training they were providing to authors to teach them web writing, the response was ‘Oh, we hadn’t thought about that.’

Nov 21, 2006 • Posted by rachel

Thanks Maree – in a way, this is one time I would rather be wrong! Good luck with persuading your clients to invest in their content writers.

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