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Critical Factors When Choosing A CMS

What businesses should look for in content management software.

Author, Gregg Shupe

For businesses today, providing an engaging customer experience across all digital touchpoints is paramount to success. From a marketing perspective, it is crucial that content is distributed across all available devices that customers are likely to use. This includes websites for laptops, tablets and mobiles, as well as content for other devices, such as wearables. Importantly, this content needs to be on brand and consistent across all platforms—at all times.

 The easiest way for marketers to ensure their communications are unified is by using a content management system (CMS). The right CMS allows marketers to update content with ease, and to control how it appears on each digital platform. Additionally, the CMS most suited to a business will have the added benefit of strengthening brand and messaging unity on all devices, while delivering a seamless experience for customers. 

What businesses should look for in content management software

Not all CMS is the same, and it is important to bear this in mind when selecting what is right for your business and your marketing team. The first thing to ensure is that you select a CMS with a headless function. In other words, this is software which separates content distribution abilities from front-end web design functions. This will enable marketing professionals to distribute content across many platforms—not just the company website—without adding more complicated content management systems. 

Secondly, your CMS should be easy to deploy without putting a strain on your IT resources.  Ultimately, you want your marketing team to be able to manage and maintain your CMS themselves, and not turn to your IT team for content updates when they should be focusing on mission-critical tasks.

For any marketer, data is crucial for increasing campaign effectiveness and driving engagement, so a good CMS system should offer a level of personalization. You want to be able to identify where users are located and what areas of your site they are exploring, so that you can then send them content that is based on their behavior. This is only possible through CMS that has analytical capabilities—such as Sitefinity. The “Enterprise” edition of Sitefinity is a digital experience cloud that can track users throughout a website based on their activity. So depending on which pages they land on, what downloads they save, and which forms they choose to fill out, your teams can use its powerful predictive and prescriptive analytics capabilities to determine how best to engage with your potential or existing customers.

Another key feature to look for in a CMS is whether it enables marketers to manage multiple languages and related websites simultaneously. In an ever-changing region like Asia-Pacific, with all its dynamism and diversity, marketers need a tool that lets them update content in a range of languages without hassle.

For all businesses, security is of the utmost importance. Virtually all CMSs have been designed to be hard to crack for hackers, and provides an additional layer of protection for personal information that may have been entered by customers into your site. A good indicator of the level of security that such software offers is to always check that it complies with laws across the globe. EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is certainly waking up the world on just how much our privacy is being violated. However, it wasn’t the first. Countries around the world have adopted comparable data privacy laws, including Singapore’s and Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), and Australia’s Privacy Act.

The final tip is to ensure that your CMS allows for integration. The CMS that you choose needs to allow for coding and building other software if nothing is available in the marketplace by connecting to application programming interfaces.

What about an Open Source platform?

While Open source platforms certainly do have advantages – they are free and they encourage collaboration, there are fewer controls in place to ensure development is going as planned. As a result, there is a heightened security risk and further strained on IT resources to pay close attention to security patches required to restrict access to the source code.

Go for a CMS that has its the source code locked down so that anything that gets developed is automatically checked as progress is made, and security patches have been specifically designed for your website. This will require fewer IT resources than an open source platform because the user experience has been designed for ease of use.

 But perhaps most importantly of all, there comes a stage in any business where it is expedient to migrate to a company-backed platform, from an open source platform. Maintenance and management costs will eventually get too high on open source, and the security risks will be far too great. 

Gregg Shupe is a Digital Experience Thought Leader at Progress.

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