A Content Management System (CMS) is a software system used for content management. This includes computer files, image media, audio files, electronic documents and web content. The idea behind a CMS is to make these files available inter-office, as well as over the web. A Content Management System would most often be used as archival as well. Many companies use a CMS to store files in a non-proprietary form. Companies use a CMS file share with ease, as most systems use server based software, even further broadening file availability. As shown below, many Content Management Systems include a feature for Web Content, and some have a feature for a "workflow process."
"Workflow" is the idea of moving an electronic document along for either approval, or for adding content. Some Content Management Systems will easily facilitate this process with email notification, and automated routing. This is ideally a collaborative creation of documents. A CMS facilitates the organization, control, and publication of a large body of documents and other content, such as images and multimedia resources.
Web content management systems are often used for storing, controlling, versioning, and publishing industry-specific documentation such as news articles, operators' manuals, technical manuals, sales guides, and marketing brochures. A content management system may support the following features:
- Import and creation of documents and multimedia material
- Identification of all key users and their content management roles
- The ability to assign roles and responsibilities to different content categories or types.
- Definition of the content workflow tasks, often coupled with event messaging so that content managers are alerted to changes in content.
- The ability to track and manage multiple versions of a single instance of content.
- The ability to publish the content to a repository to support access to the content. Increasingly, the repository is an inherent part of the system, and incorporates enterprise search and retrieval.
- Some content management systems allow the textual aspect of content to be separated to some extent from formatting. For example the CMS may automatically set default color, fonts, or layout.
Content management systems take the following forms:
- a web content management system is software for web site management - which is often what is implicitly meant by this term
- the work of a newspaper editorial staff organization
- a workflow for article publication
- a document management system
- a single source content management system - where content is stored in chunks within a relational database.