CMS Buying Guide

Here is a list of questions that are useful in the evaluation and selection of an artwork Copy Management System:

  • Is the system a black box that generates final artwork  which is not editable? If  that is the case,  are you confident this system will always generate flawless design that will never require any human intervention?
  • Does the system include a proprietary editor to produce artwork? If so, how will your artwork process live in a global artwork ecosystem where Adobe Illustrator is the standard? How will you exchange files with your suppliers, clients, and partners? What will happen to your artwork source files if you decide to switch system vendor?
  • Does the vendor sell a Copy Management Solution,  or do they really sell all the services attached? An affirmative answer to the latter, might explain why the CMS seems unusually “affordable”. Does purchasing the system lock you in purchasing services from the same vendor?
  • Does the system include a template-based artwork capability using a proprietary editor? If so, what is the cost of training your staff in the use of the template editor, and the cost of locking yourself out of your current artwork suppliers, or looking for additional vendors?
  • How long does it take to deploy this technology? Years, months, or weeks?
  • When you decide to switch system in the future, will all your artwork files still be usable?
  • Are files produced by the system usable/editable/viewable by partners who are not using the  technology, or does it require a special type of plug-in?
  • If the vendor claims the system automates the artwork generation process, be sure everybody agrees on the terms  “artwork” and “automate”.
  • Is the core of the system properly architected, or is it a set of composite system from  a multitude of vendors cobbled together?
  • When you decide to switch system, will you be able to port the data to a new system?
  • If the system is provided as a Software As A Service(SAAS), do you own the data? Can you make the data accessible to any of your partners, even those who are competitors to your system vendor? Can the system vendor make your data available to anyone, including your competition?
  • Is the system turnkey? Will it require the development of a dedicated infrastructure, the hiring of a dedicated staff, and the development of custom software?