April 23, 2018
Web CMS Buyer's Guide: Every Experience Requires a Different Approach

Digitally transforming your company isn't a one-time event. It's an ongoing evolution that requires you regularly take the pulse of your market and the needs of your customers and make changes to meet those needs. Your digital content experiences are a great example of this continual evolution you go through.

Every digital content experience has at its foundation a Web content management system; somewhere to create or curate and manage the content you will use across all your digital experiences. And yes, web content management systems have gone through, and continue to go through, an evolution of their own. But for as much that remains the same with Web CMS functionality, much has also changed.

That's the purpose of our revised Web CMS Buyer's Guide. This latest version contains much of the same information – the foundational elements of web content management haven't changed. You still need robust content development, governance, and workflow capabilities. Each Web CMS vendor may provide them in different ways, but the foundations are often the same.

What also hasn't changed is that your decision for a Web CMS relies first and foremost on your business objectives and digital experience requirements. 

So, What Has Changed?

Every organization is dealing with experiences across a range of channels and devices. And they need their Web CMS to support the content delivered to all these different places. New channels like digital experience portals, mobile websites and apps, and digital workplace apps are settling in alongside your public website, intranet, and web-enabled business applications. You don't want a CMS for each channel; you want a seamless way to manage content that works for all of them.

And that brings us to some of the key differences between Web Content Management Systems today. 

  • Is it a publishing system that you can plug and use as is? Or is it a framework you build your custom solutions on top of?
  • Is it a tightly coupled CMS where the front-end is built on the CMS platform? Or is your CMS decoupled or headless allowing you to create different front-end experiences and deliver your CMS-managed content to each as required? Maybe the best approach for you is a hybrid model offering both tightly coupled and headless.
  • Does it provide a SaaS option with fully managed services so that you can focus on your business, not your technology? Or is it an on-premises solution that requires you to think about managing and supporting the technology in addition to your digital content experiences?

Approach Your Web CMS Selection Process Using This Lens

Whatever you decide, there are four important things to keep in mind as you approach a Web CMS selection process:

  1. Every experience is different. You need the flexibility to deliver content in different ways to different experiences.
  2. Creating great digital experiences is hard, you don't need a CMS that adds to that complexity. You need one that helps simplify it as much as possible.
  3. The experiences you create pull information from a variety of best of breed marketing and business applications. Your CMS must be agile enough to connect to a variety of systems to integrate this information easily.
  4. You leverage a lot of information about your customers and your business to deliver the right experiences – and you expect your CMS to ensure that information is secure. Every digital project must be architected with security in mind. 

No one embarks upon a Web CMS selection process half-heartedly. It requires careful planning and consideration.

We hope that the new version of the Web CMS Buyer's Guide helps you on your path to a new Web CMS. And if you're looking for additional support, feel free to reach out for a conversation.

Posted by David Hillis
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