Workflow in a Content Management System (CMS)

Workflow is the operational aspect of a work procedure through which we can define the following aspects

  • How tasks are structured
  • Who performs the tasks
  • What their relative order is
  • How they are synchronized
  • How information flows to support the tasks
  • How tasks are being tracked.

Fig. 1 Various components of a workflow
CMS Workflow
The CMS includes default workflows that you can use or modify. In certain Content Management systems you can design an unlimited number of workflows. If you create a new content item based on a content type that does not have an assigned workflow, you must select one before you can continue. In a normal CMS, there are 3 type of workflows:

  • Workflow for initial setup of a CMS: The work flow for the setup and initializing the CMS for the first time can be defined in the following manner:
    • Users of the system should be assigned proper roles and responsibilities
    • The production workflow should be created according to the environment and requirement
    • Different life cycles should be added to the production workflow.
    • The predefined templates should be customized and verified before using.
    • Permission to use this workflow should be defined for various users.
    • As a system travels through the workflow process, email notifications should be sent to inform people that their attention is required.
  • Workflow for CMS customization: Once the core information in CMS is setup then we can customize various pieces to match our working processes:
    • Different types of content category trees are generated which are based on the idea that the type of content will vary from one user to another.
    • If required, create the content for the site.
    • Design the forms through which content will be added to the web management system
  • Workflow for using CMS: After CMS is set up for administrators and users, the next step would be to create a workflow for using the CMS.
    • New content items will be created by specifying the content type
    • New attributes and content are added to content items
    • Store the content item in a particular directory
    • All the content items are verified and approved by the administrator
    • Finally, the content items will be published

In some of the systems, the workflows are completely configurable workflows in which the system supports multiple serial and parallel jobs performed at the same time. In this environment, workflow can be assigned to any asset like templates, folders and content documents. The CMS with easy browser based workflow management are always preferred which can manage all system settings throughout the document life cycle. Different stages, which should be present in a workflow, are:

  • Drafting
  • Pending/Approving
  • Staging
  • Scheduling
  • Presenting
  • Retired/Archived (Rejected, Suspended, Hold)
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