ABC seeking new Web content management system

The national broadcaster is accepting tenders to upgrade its decade-old CMS to accommodate Web 2.0 technologies.

ABC Innovation -- the 'incubator for digital development' at the national broadcaster -- is seeking a new off-the-shelf Web Content Management System (WCMS) to produce, manage and deliver content for ABC Online and its associated properties.

The ABC's current WCMS was built internally in 1997, and since then it has been continually upgraded and can go no further towards meeting current needs, according to the head of technology for ABC Innovation, Craig Preston.

"The current system is a static publishing system and we're considering moving to a dynamic publishing model which will give us much more flexibility in terms of being able to serve up a variety of different content to our users at runtime," Preston said.

He said the ABC published a request for proposal on November 23, and the focus for the new WCMS will be to "grapple with the whole challenge of Web 2.0, to be able to integrate new and exciting functionalities into the site".

He explained that the ABC's current online news site has a range of functions like tag clouds and related story links, which give the impression of it being a dynamic site.

"However it is actually all static content, built using a vast variety of back-end systems that took a huge amount of work to build," Preston explained.

Although the ABC is happy with the way the current site performs, it is too resource intensive to continue replicating and building on the current model.

"Specifically, we're looking for a CMS that has been designed for the needs of a media and broadcasting organization. That is one of our key selection criteria -- it has to be used by at least one other organization with a scope and activity similar to the ABC's," Preston said.

ABC Innovation is also looking for a fully supported product from vendors that have worked with the organizations that have bought and used their product.

"Speed is important to us as well in terms of getting the project completed because our current CMS is very much at end of life," Preston said.

The new WCMS will be for all ABC online content except for the ABC shop.

Preston said ABC Innovation is hoping to start rolling out some functionality in the third or fourth quarter next year.

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