There’s an announcement. Twitter is alive with tweets proclaiming this wonderful new feature. It’s going to be massive. The next big thing. Bloggers have already implemented it on their WordPress sites. The social media sites have too. Few days later an iPhone app appears. It gets thousands of downloads from the app store.
The depressing truth
You have a meeting and talk about how wonderful it would be to do the same. You all agree. You get the responsibility to investigate the possibility further. A week later you’ve gathered enough background information to make a decent presentation to use in your work to get internal buy-in from key stakeholders. two months later, after 8 meetings with the stakeholders plus a telephone conference with the IT department and their preferred supplier, you get the go-ahead to produce a specification.
This year’s budget has already been blown by the marketing department on a flash-based campaign that received no visitors, so when the quote comes back from your IT department’s preferred supplier telling you how much this new feature is going to cost to implement in your WCMS, you realise that it’s going to have to wait until January.
January comes, the proposal gets accepted, work gets underway. Of course the work run over budget and behind schedule. This means that you missed that month’s maintenance slot. The next available slot when IT can fit it in is the next-but-one maintenance window as the activities planned for the next one are critical ones that IT say can’t be mixed with other, “non-essential”, work.
10 months later the feature has finally made the light of day. Of course by this point, the bloggers and various other social media news sites are on their third iteraton, and have implemented a whole load of other features and adjustments that enhance their visitor’s experience.
True or false?
A tall story? or does your neck ache from nodding in agreement?
Take the launch of Google Buzz. Within a matter of days, Mashable had implemented a Buzz Button of their own. They’re a company of 30 or so employees, and a have a website that gets over 20 million page views a month. Yet they have kept their web presence fluid enough so they can react and adapt their tactics at a pace that fits today’s real-time web.
Keep it fluid
Your organisation needs to leave the website redesign cycle behind it and adopt a solid web strategy that then gives you the opportunity to measure, and then adjust your tactics. Your web presence doesn’t stop and wait for you to go through a full website redesign and rebuild. Don’t let yourself get stuck – but It’s not a Las Vegas casino you can knock-down and start again from scratch. It’s closer to a living person. You need to be its personal coach, doctor & surgeon.