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3 mistakes to avoid when evaluating CMS in 2020

We’ve all had the experience of downloading an app on our phones that disappoints us. Maybe it doesn’t work like we thought it would, or it’s difficult to use, or you have to pay for all the best features. When selecting a CMS platform for your business, the same risks are there but obviously the stakes are much higher.

If you want the best CMS for your company, you should spend a lot of time defining your CMS requirements, making a vendor shortlist, and seeing demos of each platform. Another good place to start a CMS evaluation is by reading the latest analyst reports on Web Content Management by Gartner and Forrester.

But what are some of the major things that can go wrong in the CMS evaluation process? How can you be sure that you are getting a system that best meets your needs?

Here are three mistakes to avoid when evaluating CMS.

1. Assuming a bigger CMS platform is better

There’s no point in flying first class if you can’t afford a hotel when you get to your destination. Yet companies often assume that the biggest platform with the most features is the best choice to meet their needs. This can feel like a safe option, but you can actually end up wasting money.

The solution to this is to precisely define your digital strategy and business goals. What problems are you trying to solve? Do you want to increase your number of leads, personalize email campaigns, reduce costs through automation, or be able to quickly expand to new markets? Getting specific about your goals will help you find the best CMS platform for your needs.

What problems are you trying to solve? Getting specific about your goals will help you find the best CMS platform for your needs.

Also, don’t make the mistake of confusing the CMS in itself for a digital strategy. The CMS is the tool that helps you implement your strategy. Without a strategy, you can end up with a CMS with features you don’t need and that doesn’t solve your key challenges.

2. Not prioritizing ease of use in a CMS evaluation

Even if a CMS has the capabilities you need, how easy is it for your editors and marketers to use them? This is a crucial factor. At one point or another we’ve all used software that sounds great on paper but in reality is a time-consuming headache. In a worst-case scenario, your digital team might not use the capabilities at all.

You can solve this by defining exactly how your editors and marketers will be using the CMS. Will they need to create pages in multiple languages? Will they be automating marketing campaigns? Are they going to be creating content across multiple channels, including social? Once you have established your use cases, you can shortlist platforms that make these operations easy and intuitive.

Define exactly how your editors and marketers will be using the CMS. Once you have established your use cases, you can shortlist platforms that make these operations easy and intuitive.

One important thing to look for in a CMS is whether it helps your users automatically become more effective. For example, a platform that has automatic A/B testing or that automatically personalizes content can enable users to get results faster. Or to do things they couldn’t before. You can also learn what real users think of their CMS by reading reviews. On G2 Crowd, for example, you can see how users rate Episerver CMS vs. Sitecore Web Experience Manager.

3. Choosing technology that limits growth

The ideal CMS should have everything you need to start implementing your strategy and meeting your goals. But how well will it adapt to changes to your strategy, and to technological changes in general? Can you easily customize the CMS platform or integrate it with other systems? How easy is it for developers to work with?

A forward-looking CMS will make it easy for you to extend your system with new capabilities. One way to ensure this is by choosing a CMS with application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable you to easily connect with external applications. For example, by connecting your CMS with systems for ERP and CRM you can save time and resources, and more efficiently manage the entire customer journey.

Your digital team will need a lot of different technologies to be successful, so look for platforms with open APIs that make it easy to connect systems. Beware of platforms that don’t have ready-made integrations and are designed to be completely self-contained.

APIs can also be used to deliver your content to any kind of device, an important feature as the Internet of Things continues to grow, in 2020 and beyond. Choosing a CMS that has this “headless” capacity is another way to ensure you are ready for the future.

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