Choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your business can be a daunting task. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when making that decision:
1 | Select the Right Language
I’m not referring to English, Spanish, and French. I’m referring to .NET or PHP.
The language you select should be in alignment with your existing back-office technology and platforms. This allows for easier integration and can result in a lower total cost of ownership in terms of support, maintenance and licensing.
For example, if your entire enterprise is .NET, focus your search on .NET CMS platforms. If your enterprise is a mix of platforms and legacy systems, focus more on a PHP (L.A.M.P.) environment.
2 | Open Source CMS vs Licensed CMS Platforms
Open Source CMS Platforms
- The Good
- Starts with an existing CMS platform
- A community of extensions and modules that extend the platform’s functionality
- The Bad
- Code and platform will be customized and programmed by your selected development partner
- Development partner has a lot of opportunities to modify or “hack” code that makes future upgrades difficult and uneconomical
Licensed CMS Platforms
- The Good
- Provides a standardized platform actively developed with upgrades, new features, and functions
- Typically have a certified channel/partner program where development and customizations follow a standardized process and methodology
- An ecosystem of extensions and modules are often available that can extend the functionality of your site
- The Bad
- Upfront licensing fees and associated annual maintenance fees
- Customized functionality requires custom code
3 | Define Your Feature & Function Buckets
Identify the primary features and functions your website will require and add those into the following buckets:
- General Marketing Functionality | Page management, blogs, news, etc
- B2C eCommerce Functionality | Shopping, check-out, credit card transactions
- B2B eCommerce Functionality | Order lookup, back-office EDI, customer service tools
- Custom Functionality | Unique to your business features, product configurators, portals, etc
Document the features you’ll need to go live with but also think out over the next 3 years and try to identify features you anticipate needing.
4 | Consider Hybrid Solutions
For enterprise-level sites or sites with a variety of marketing and eCommerce needs, a hybrid approach utilizing multiple platforms can sometimes provide the best mix in terms of simplicity, budget, and long-term capabilities.
For example, our requirements include a site with “advanced” marketing functionality (such as personalization of content, marketing automation, blogging, social sharing, etc.) and transactional functionality (like a full suite of B2C eCommerce tools, back-office integration, and integrated customer service tools).
Finding a single platform to tackle all your requirements without requiring hundreds of hours of customization will be a challenge and most likely move you to large scale enterprise level web platforms like Magento or SiteCore.
5 | Selecting the Right Development Partner
With licensed CMS systems, you’ll have limited options for development partners. You’ll want to look for the highest level of channel certification, great case studies and a general idea of onshore/offshore resources. For open-source CMS systems, you’ll want to see real-life examples of work that best matches your requirements.
Some additional things you’ll want to understand:
- Cost Structure
- Is it a fixed cost or estimated Time & Materials (most licensed systems generally are T&M)?
- How does the development partner handle change requests or changes to the project during the process?
- Timing (This is a hard one)
- You want a development partner that will tackle your project with a high priority, but you also don’t want a partner with a lot of people on the bench
- Longevity in the industry (not as individuals but as a company)
- References (of course)
Content Management Systems Supported by MINDSCAPE
The following platforms are listed in no particular order.
- Open Source
- Bonus | eCommerce Platforms
As you can tell, we’re a technology agnostic company. We work with you to ensure the selection you’re making is best for your company, your needs, and your future. It’s not dependant on a specific language we can code.
If you’re looking to select your next CMS, we’d be happy to provide a little free consultation. All you need to do is click this link.