“What should I use? Drupal, WordPress, Episerver, Sitevision, CQ5 or Sharepoint? Or something else?”
There are lots and lots of CMS’es and WCM’s rapidly growing as dynamic tools. What was once raw HTML is today a boxed, slim package of solutions which is tangible and flexible for your needs. Everything today is about user experience and driving the right traffic of users to your channels. When your users finally decided to interact with your site, they need to be able and experience the purpose of your service or product in the best way possible. Different CMS’es provide you with different opportunities to execute on your strategy and for you meeting your customers expectations depending on your purpose and target. Choosing the right CMS and WCM is therefore an important part of your digital strategy. It is an important choice and should not be done lightly.
Recently, we at Cybercom made a scan and analysis of various CMS’s and their effectiveness when it comes to the 15 most important parameters when choosing a CMS. We’ve done this scanning by going through material, client cases, best practice, interviews with CMS-specific developers among other things. Below I will list the most important parameters you’ll have to consider when choosing CMS for your company:
- Scalability and extensibility – One of the most important parts of your CMS will be to see how you can build on it in future functionality and how easily you can scale your portal or site. You never build a site for today, it is a constant improving concept which has to be adapted to the needs of your target group on-demand. Those who build a site for the needs of your taget group and believe it is fine having it static is stuck in the 90’s way of thinking. Strategically it is not even enough with a platform which is scalable, you need a long-term plan how you intend to develop your site and in the line with which needs – in short you need a digital strategy. The CMS is a method chosen to suit your long-term needs and scalability is the very core for that choice.
- Stability and security – CMS’es are developed to various degrees when it comes to being stabile and secure. Some are leading the area in such a way they become the only choice where security is the main factor to take into account. Since there is not a player on the market who run a serious business, who can afford poor security or stability, most CMS’es are strong in the area but some are developed to be optimized with this parameter in mind.
- File management – The need for internal know-how, knowledge sharing and customer interaction among many other needs are increasingly important. Many CMS’es lack edge in this particular area and those who excel stand out as particularly interesting for some matters. The complexity of version management and file handling often demands a much more streamlined approach which is easily integrated with other systems rather than the open approached which varies in creative solutions.
- Documentation, training and community support – The interaction level and level of development going on inside a community are strong deciding factors for some companies depending on how you intend to support your systems, how much further development you intend to push for and whether you want to stay agile in the choice of consultants via inhouse development.
- Interoperability – Perhaps the most growing parameter in importance right now is this one. How easy and effective you can operate via various systems, integrate with other platforms and cross-use, cross-read and cross-access data and re-use it where you see fit, is something which is growingly more important to provide a good user experience and for aiding internal efficiency.
- Flexibility and customizability – It is one thing to have a static site, another to have one which have to follow certain models or those who are able to adapt in the slightest detail to your own needs. Some CMS’es are better than others when it comes to the detailed approach. Some others are more complex to meet a detail oriented demand and even if possible, it becomes tricky when updates keep coming.
- E-commerce functionality – A highly growing demand is the need for handling transactions and naturally some are better when it comes to this, especially in combination with “2. Stability and security”.
- Performance and speed – Some CMS’s are optimized for performance which for larger versions could be critical. Handling much information and a picky user target group sets high demands on the site.
- Easy-to-use and intuitiveness – An important parameter is naturally the intuitiveness and easiness of the system in itself. An important factor for both development but also for user rates. Statistics clearly show that the hard-to-use CMS’s show less activity among those who are responsible for content internally. Remember, a site is for providing information, if that is a complex thing to do, it will be shown in the result.
- Emphasis on web standards and best practice – The development of some CMS’s is the result of best practice and where web standards are in focus, some are more intuitive than so. The difference could be that some look in the mirror for great successes and some look ahead with a risk factor of not predicting the trends accurately.
- Activity of functionality and thought leader of innovation – Some companies drive the development forward and are thought leaders of integration, security, functionality, database modeling and have access to much inhouse technology which easily could be adapted to in CMS-terms. Those who are thought leaders provide CMS’s which are ahead others, some respond quickly to the trends of social media and can quickly provide functionality connecting with an everchanging web. And let’s remember, the web is constantly in change.
- Development time – Some CMS’s are made for quick setups while some others have a more demanding startup-setup.
- Development environment – The environment is different for every CMS and important to consider when it comes to long-term projects and should be viewed in line with checking over your production plan and ambition.
- Pricing – Easily said, some CMS’s are cheaper than others.
- Marketing and communications, SEO – Some CMS’s are optimized for having a stronger impact on Google, making them good for campaigns, marketing channels etc.
Alright! I get it and now then?
Where are you now and what do you have? What is your current site or portal made for in mind? What does your metrics say? Are you meeting any of your set targets, which and how? You need to look through what you already have before you make any change.
You must decide your digital strategy. Naturally you could set a site or portal up to solve a short-time mission of yours, but it might very well, and most often do, end up in a choice not optimized for your long-term needs.
So, this is a no-brainer. You got to map your needs. What do you want your site to do, what is your main intent? You must choose and decide on your priorities and targets. This is a tactical plan connected with your digital strategy, making it visible what is needed now and as your next steps. This aid you plan your coming efforts.
Congratulations, now it is time to choose a CMS which best meet your short-term and long-term needs.