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6 things you can't forget when choosing a CMS

Vegard Ottervig on

Follow these helpful tips to ensure the best possible process of choosing a new CMS for your organisation.

Choosing the right CMS is no easy undertaking, with an overwhelming number of considerations to make. You have to keep tabs on an abundance of information—customer requirements, deadlines, technical specifications, shortlists, communications, and stakeholders.

It is easy to drown in this sea of information overload, but in order to keep you on track we have gathered six essentials you must not forget when choosing a CMS.

1. Company goals and strategy

While taking a deep dive into technical documentation of any potential candidate for the next digital experience platform, it is easy to forget the broad picture. Even if a given feature of a CMS might be technically impressive, it might not fit into the stated corporate purpose of your CMS project.

Never forget the organisational framework you are working within. Consult with the C-suite or leadership group and maintain a regular meeting schedule where you touch base and see whether the KPIs are being fulfilled or whether your project is deviating from the company goals.

Always ask yourself what the company strategy is and how a chosen CMS can satisfy every touchpoint or milestone along the way. Remember: function over flashiness, substance over style.

See how a $80BN financial services company chose a digital platform for the future:

Read the KLP story

2. Adequate and modern platform

A great CMS should of course offer rich functionality and modern features. But there is one important requirement: the CMS should fit your organisation’s current architecture and existing technology. Just like you do not buy any CPU to any motherboard, you do not acquire a CMS without first checking compatibility with your current suite of CRM, ERP, IT infrastructure, and digital tools.

A modern, flexible, and agile content management system can integrate with current tech through the use of APIs, plugins, and apps. You should however make sure to check the underlying programming language—both back-end and front-end—to see whether your developers possess the necessary skills.

See also: 4 reasons why your digital experiences platform must be agile and flexible »

3. Security

In the search for a CMS with the right functionality, great UX, and fitting architecture, it is easy to forget the security aspect. This, however, is just as important as the other factors—or even more so due to brand protection.

You should check if the CMS is tested using security frameworks like OWASP, and that it has been penetration tested. Another crucial factor is whether the vendor is ISO certified. An ISO certification provides further security assurance and ensures that the vendor follows industry standards in its operations.

4. Established standards

Speaking of standards, the CMS platform under consideration should adhere to current standards within programming and technology. These standards include e.g. JavaScript, JSON, LDAP, and OAuth.

Also, find out if the platform is open-source or not. While there may be both advantages and disadvantages with an open-source platform, a clear advantage is that you, your developers, or risk experts can investigate the code and verify it yourselves.

Read also: 9 reasons Enonic is the CMS that unites your organisation »

5. Self-hosting or PaaS?

Choosing a CMS is like choosing an engine. But what about the car? In the world of digital experiences, you need to ask yourself whether your CMS should be self-hosted by your organisation or if you should opt in for a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution.

This is an important decision to make, which will have ramifications for years to come. You need to find out if your organisation have the required skills to run the platform yourselves, or whether it is possible to acquire the CMS, hosting et al as a service from the vendor or from other suppliers.

6. Who will perform the implementation?

When all is said and done, and your organisation has chosen a CMS, someone needs to implement the system and set it up correctly. This is obviously a task you should have ready from day one, and therefore you need to map and retrieve the right resources at an early stage.

Should you train your own developers? Should you hire a consultancy partner? Or should you do a mixture? Involve your stakeholders and lay out the battle plan early on, together with the corporate strategy and technical requirements of the CMS.

Read the KLP story

Frequently asked questions

What is a CMS?

A content management system organises content and provides it in various formats, like a website or an app.

How does a CMS work?

A user adds information to a database through a GUI, which are fetched by template code and published as e.g. a web page.

What types of CMS exist?

Three main types exist: a traditional CMS combines content and presentation, a headless CMS separates the two, while a hybrid CMS makes it optional.

How to choose a CMS?

Consider the requirements of your organisation: your audience channels, your budget, self-hosting vs. cloud, and the UX of the CMS.

Topics: 
cms
digital experiences
digital strategy
new cms
open source
partners