Tuesday, 26 April 2016

How to Choose the Best Web Content Management System - Part 2

content management system companies

From the Developer’s Perspective:  Important Capabilities for Your Web CMS
While marketing decision makers are focused on the content management system capabilities that help optimize the customer experience, developers and IT decision makers should evaluate solutions based on the underlying infrastructure, development tools, and other features and capabilities that ensure performance, flexibility, scalability and ease of use for developers.
Here’s a checklist of critical aspects for developers and IT to consider when evaluating a new web CMS:
  • Developer productivity: Look for a CMS that streamlines development and maintenance with easy-tousle tools, controls, and capabilities. Your web CMS should enable you to work with the tools you’re already familiar with, such as Microsoft Visual Studio, to make the best use of existing skills.
  • Roles and administration: A good web CMS will provide a sophisticated permission management system that allows you to grant rights to users, groups, and roles for ease of administration and control. 
  • Integration: Look for a solution that includes pre-built integration with leading enterprise software, including the ability to connect to databases and web services without complex programming.
  • Design flexibility/customization: The web CMS should be flexible and easily customizable, with tools that let designers create and update site experiences without coding. 
  • Security: In addition to a permission management system for granting rights to users, groups, and roles, your web CMS should also support external authentication and authorization systems like Active Directory without requiring extensive coding and integration efforts. 
  • Scalability and performance: It’s essential to understand the performance and scalability implications of any web CMS you’re considering. To keep maintenance and ownership costs low, choose a solution that will let you deploy multiple websites on a single system. And for greater scalability, choose a web content management system that can leverage the cloud infrastructure to rapidly deploy and scale servers to handle increased website traffic and enter new markets—without requiring additional investments in hardware.
  • Support for responsive design and mobile devices: Look for native support for multi-device output, with features such as device previews to enable optimization of content, site layouts, and renderings. The web CMS should automatically detect the visitor’s device type and serve optimized content for that device.
  • Multisite and multilingual support: Select a web CMS that supports any number of domains mapping to different web properties, as well as flexible sharing of content and code between sites. Ensure that the solution enables many-to-many language support to avoid creation of extensive new data structures when supporting different languages. 
  • Technical support and training:  Evaluate the breadth and depth of the vendor’s support and training offerings to make sure they deliver the level of support and education your organization has come to expect.
A Roadmap for Choosing Your CMS
Once you have your own list of important marketing and technical capabilities for a new web CMS, then you can create a short list of potential solutions that meet your needs. Once you have a short list, you’ll need to put one or more web CMSs to the test to see which one bests suits your organization’s needs.
The following best practices provide some guidance on how to gather hands-on experience, third-party objective information, and product know-how to inform your decision. Think of it as a roadmap for choosing your new web Content management system:     
  1. Bring marketing and IT together: The entire team, including marketing, content editors, developers, and designers should participate in comprehensive demonstrations. While the initial meeting includes the entire team, allow different groups ample time to have their own sessions with the CMS vendor where they can ask questions, at their level, that address their business or technical requirements.
  2. Try it before you buy it: Request that the CMS vendor install a clean/out-of-the-box version of its product for your development team. Demo systems are highly configured and don’t necessarily give you a clear view of the complexity of the product. With a clean installation, your organization can see how easy or difficult it is to get started.
  3. See it in action: Ask the web CMS vendor to build a simple website from scratch for your development team. This will reveal what functionality ships with the product, as distinct from customizations that may have been included in the demo system.
  4. Attend vendor training: Strongly consider sending your developers to the web CMS vendor’s technical training class. They will gain a clearer perspective of the product’s capabilities and shortcomings, potentially saving your organization significant time and money in the long run.
  5. Tap the developer community: Determine if there is a vibrant developer community around the content management system companies you’re considering and then tap into it for further insight into the product.   
  6. Talk to other customers: Ask the vendor for references of customers in your industry. Speak with those customers to gain insight into real-life experiences with the product.  
Article Summary:
We’ve come a long way since the days when a content management system (CMS) was simply a way to manage and update the content on your website. Today, a web CMS is just one type of technology you need to consistently deliver an excellent customer experience. While your web CMS is a crucial component, today you must look at it as part of a larger customer experience management capability.
Why the shift? It all starts with the connected, empowered customer who brings greater expectations and preferences about how and when he or she wishes to engage with a brand.  Today’s customers expect a seamless, multichannel experience that anticipates their needs and wants. Companies that deliver this type of experience are building trust and loyalty that result in top- and bottom-line improvements including:  greater return on marketing investment, increased conversions, higher revenues, and greater lifetime customer value.

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