Choosing the right CMS platform for your business is one of the most important organisational marketing decision you’ll make. With that in mind, how do you make sure you choose the right one for your business needs? What’s certain is that rushing into CMS platforms without prior consideration is a road that nobody wants to go down. Simple tasks become infuriatingly difficult, and marketing strategies are lost to relentless firefighting. Ultimately, you won’t achieve the benefits that justified your CMS project in the first place. So, what must you do to ensure you have an effective Web CMS selection process?
Agency selection is Essential!
As the key driver of your CMS change, organisations must select an agency capable of building a true digital partnership. Selection criteria will of course depend upon each organisation’s unique needs, industries, and resources, but requirements also tend to reflect some consistent dimensions:
- Demand Support: This can be extremely basic, limited only to product patches and annual updates. Alternatively, i3 Digital and other professional agencies include complete website design and development and 24/7/365 services such as support, hosting, user training, and strategic guidance.
- Share an Aligned Vision: It’s vital your agency partner has a solid understanding of your organisational needs. We’ve been doing some qualitative market research with our clients this past few weeks, and client empathy and dedication to our client sector knowledge has been unearthed as one of our key sources of praise. With knowledge of your needs and your wider sector, an agency can create a tailored and fit-for-purpose product roadmap and overall CMS project.
- Use your Community: Look for agency and CMS references from companies or organisations with similar challenges and goals. This doesn’t necessarily mean your competitors or even those in your industry, but companies with similarities across the board.
Remember, gone are the days when your partner had to be the specific CMS supplier. i3 Digital exists to make life so much easier and safer for CMS buyers and users. If you agree that your website is the single-most important marketing tool your company has, it’s essential to work with a CMS partner agency with heritage, history, and a future! Make sure your agency has not only impressive clients, but clients similar to your own organisation. There also needs to be a cultural and technological fit, and it’s imperative that your chosen agency has a full-circle of professional and support services. You should ask and be clear about the personnel implementing your product and what their qualifications are. Additionally, if your business doesn’t operate on only a 9-5 basis, make sure your website security and agency support mechanisms don’t either!
Be Clear on your Strategy
This doesn’t mean having a rough checklist of desired features and functions of your new CMS, but a thorough and clear understanding of your organisation’s business goals. Sounds obvious, but it’s quite often not the case. i3 Digital works on a daily basis with numerous CMS technologies including Kentico, EPiServer, WordPress, Sitecore and Umbraco. When I was learning to drive, my instructor often said “select a gear to suit your speed”. Similarly, we select a platform to suit our clients’ needs, all of which are a different. It’s crucial that companies undertake their own research and have at least an informed understanding of the CMS marketplace. Coming together as a company and refining your strategy will help you understand your CMS needs before you implement it, and get the very most out of it once it’s been deployed.
Demo, Demo, and Demo again!
Once you’ve finalised and agreed your CMS requirements, considered all feasible usage scenarios, and undertaken your own platform research, the next phase involves evaluating the products against your documented needs.
This is the only way you can select a CMS and agency partner that fits both your online needs, and your way of doing business. If you don’t demo all feasible products, there’s a chance you’ll either opt for the most charismatic salesperson, or stagnate in an ongoing sales cycle that never delivers an informed decision.
The vast majority of people learn far more from seeing a product in action than reading a report or a RFP/tender response from an agency. The fact that YouTube is now the world’s second-largest search engine (behind Google, obviously!) reminds us of the power of video and visual demonstration. At i3 Digital, we know that demonstrations inform clients that we fully understand their business and organisational requirements, how they’ll be treated as a customer, our world-class expertise as CMS technology partners, and clearly illustrates how the platform is a best-fit for their business.
In essence, choosing the right CMS is a process that can never be taken lightly. However, i3 Digital is here to help you make the best decision for your business. Check out just a few of our client case studies to see how we have shaped the future of small, medium and extremely large organisations from Belfast to Boston.