As the world has changed in the blink of an eye, so has the way we market to consumers. Now, more than ever, your website exists as BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT doorway to your brand and your brand experience. While stores stay shut, and face-to-face interaction is vastly limited, brands will rely on reaching their target audiences via their websites. Therefore, your website is mission-critical to your success.
Bluetext has published a 5 part blog series to help you think about and pressure test if your website is the best it can be.
Bluetext clients are often asking for our recommendations on the best content management system for their website, whether as a redesign or a re-platform for their business. We are a forward-thinking digital marketing agency that provides game-changing digital experiences for brands looking to make a difference in the market, and as such, we have always been a technology-agnostic company and supporters of the open-source community.
Over the years, we have helped countless clients identify the appropriate CMS to meet their specific use cases. We work with organizations of all sizes: from startups looking to launch their first website, to large, established organizations with complex business workflows and integrations and distributed teams. No matter where your company falls on this spectrum, we have proven guidelines for deciding on which CMS will be the most appropriate for your organization. Here are three key considerations to guide you through your CMS selection process to ensure you are set up for success for the next 3-5 years.
1. Determine Your Stakeholders and Their Needs
The first step in selecting the best content management system is to identify those individuals who have a stake in the redesign/re-platform and analyze their needs. To begin this process, take stock of who is involved with the current website (typically Operations (IT), Marketing and Executive Management). Depending on the size of your organization, there could be many additional stakeholder groups.
For each stakeholder group, take time to understand their specific needs for the new CMS and use these insights to develop KPIs for the platform:
- Operations (IT) – Your IT team is likely concerned about the technology stack (what can they support), where it lives (cloud, on-prem) and what their role will be in terms of ongoing maintenance.
- Marketing – The marketing team typically drives the website. They are likely concerned with the feature set: content management features, workflows, learning curve, marketing integrations, social sharing, etc.
- Executive Management – Most often, the executive team is focused on two things: cost and timeline. How much is this going to cost, and how long is it going to take to build?
It is important to conduct this step every time your organization goes through a redesign or re-platform, as structure, needs, and concerns evolve over time. For example, in recent years, day-to-day website ownership has generally shifted away from traditional operations/IT teams into the hands of marketing teams.
2. Outline Requirements
The next step in the process is to translate stakeholder needs into requirements. We recommend building a requirements matrix that outlines the full set of necessary features for the new CMS platform. Much of the matrix will consist of functional requirements, but it should also include cost, technology, and timeline constraints. A forward-thinking mindset must be applied when developing requirements. Consider feature sets that are planned for the next 2-5 years to ensure the selected CMS has the flexibility to accommodate business changes. To build an effective matrix, leverage the following strategy:
- Gather Requirements. Supplement and expand upon the needs of the stakeholders by gathering wholistic requirements from actual users. We recommend conducting workshops with each user group. In some organizations, the user groups may include the marketing, operations and sales teams. In other organizations, distinct business units or regional teams may make up other user groups. The workshops will result in pages and pages of notes, which should be consolidated into a set of functional requirements.
- Consolidate & Group into Usage Scenarios. Consolidating your requirements into high-level usage scenarios will help you, and your team, come to a consensus on critical functionality. During the CMS product demos, you will be armed with your list of usage scenarios and can ask specific questions regarding how the platform in question would handle such scenarios. Some possible usage scenarios could be:
- As a content editor, I want to be able to manage and reuse digital assets from within the CMS so that I do not need to re-upload items.
- As a content editor, I want to be able to manage content from my mobile device so that I can provide real-time updates from remote locations.
- As a content approver, I want the ability to review content before it is able to be published on the website.
- As a site administrator, I want the ability to update the menu links on the website when the organization decides to change the navigation of the website.
- As an IT Stakeholder, I want the CMS application to be built in PHP so that my existing team of developers can manage and support the website.
Creating a Prioritized Feature Matrix
Leverage the usage scenarios to develop your feature matrix and prioritize each requirement. What are the must-haves, nice-to-haves, and stretch features that you could live without? Prioritization is very important and should not be taken lightly. Be sure not to let your feature matrix get out of control. This should be a list of no more than 50 “features” that you need the new platform to provide.
The matrix will allow you to score the products against each other in a logical way and get a good idea of the product’s compatibility for your organization.
|Feature||Prioritization||Product 1||Product 2||Product 3|
|Easily manage content||
|Easily manage content on mobile devices||
|Integrate with Product X||
|Integrate with Product Y||
|Strong Multilingual Support||
Easy, right? Of course, gathering large groups of people for workshops is easier said than done! No matter the size of the organization, the scheduling for these types of workshops is a challenge, but ultimately, the work pays off. Skipping this step will, more often than not, result in the selection of a sub-optimal product and the need to rebuild the CMS again next year.
3. Market Research & Validation
Market research will help down the list of products available on the market to arrive at a “short-list” of candidates for consideration. There are several resources available to inform your research. Two of our primary sources of information come from top analyst companies Gartner and Forrester. Dries Buytaert put it beautifully in his blog post:”If you want to find a good coffee place, you use Yelp. If you want to find a nice hotel in New York, you use TripAdvisor. Similarly, if a CIO or CMO wants to spend $250,000 or more on enterprise software, they often consult an analyst firm like Gartner.”
To give a brief recap in case you are unfamiliar with how Gartner rates vendors, they look at two key, top-level criteria: Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. They rate vendors on their ability to deliver what they promise and their ability to stay ahead of market trends to provide a quality product to their customers.
While this is not a complete step-by-step guide to performing a CMS comparison audit, it should give you the tools you need to get it started. While every organization is different – wether it be organization structure, specific requirements or current marketing goals – utilizing these activities while performing your CMS selection will help ensure that you are setting your organization up for success.
As we recently wrote, Bluetext has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 Acquia Engage Awards in the category of “Lightning in a Bottle”. The Acquia Engage Awards recognize the world-class digital experiences that organizations are building with the Acquia Platform.
More than 100 submissions were received from Acquia customers and partners, from which 43 were selected as finalists. Nominations that demonstrated an advanced level functionality, integration, performance (results and key performance indicators), and overall user experience advanced to the finalist round, where an outside panel of experts will select the winning projects.
A sneak peak of the project:
As a leader in technology services and digital transformation, Mindtree must not only provide a website as a sales tool, but also act as a testament to the brand and its mission. In April 2017, Mindtree approached Bluetext with the goal of reimagining, redesigning, and re-platforming its self-hosted Drupal 7 website, with 10 unique page templates, 1800+ pages, and 700+ blogs in under six months. Mindtree, in partnership with Bluetext and Acquia, was able to achieve a complete digital transformation and launch a scalable digital platform in less than 6 months through the strategic partnership.
The Acquia Platform provided tremendous value for operationalizing the development workflow to gain efficiencies. When paired with Acquia’s Build and Launch Tool and Acquia Lightning, it takes the time savings to a new level. Acquia Lightning provides a starter kit that is geared towards content editing and workflow.
More information about the Awards:
Winners will be announced on October 24, 2018, ahead of this year’s Acquia Engage Conference, which will be held in Austin, Texas, from November 7-9, 2018.
“Acquia partners and customers are tackling the biggest challenges facing marketers, developers, and digital teams,” said Joe Wykes, senior vice president, global channels and commerce at Acquia. “This year’s Acquia Engage Award nominees show what’s possible when open technology and boundless ambition come together to create elegant, world-class customer experiences. They’re making every customer interaction more meaningful with powerful, personalized experiences that span the web, mobile devices, voice assistants, and more. Their work is inspiring, and we’re proud to recognize their accomplishments.”
The Acquia Experience Platform offers a suite of technologies for easily building digital experiences at scale, across the web, mobile sites, native applications, voice assistants and more. The platform allows businesses to manage the deployment and iteration of those experiences in the cloud, and intelligently optimize how they are tailored for specific audiences using machine learning.
The full list of finalists for the 2018 Acquia Engage Awards are posted to Acquia’s website.
Mindtree is a leader in technology services and digital transformation. Mindtree delivers digital transformation and technology services from ideation to execution, enabling Global 2000 clients to outperform the competition. “Born digital,” Mindtree takes an agile, collaborative approach to creating customized solutions across the digital value chain. To learn more, visit mindtree.com
Acquia is the open source digital experience company. Acquia provides the world’s most ambitious brands with technology that allows them to embrace innovation and create customer moments that matter. Acquia believes in the power of community – giving their customers the freedom to build tomorrow on their terms. To learn more, visit acquia.com.
Acquia, the leading hosting and support company for Drupal open-source content management systems, has named Bluetext as a finalist in its 2018 awards for best digital marketing firms and website design. Acquia chose Bluetext for its work with Mindtree.com, one of the global leaders in digital transformation and technology services. Bluetext created a revitalized digital brand, a new website user experience, and a state-of-the-art Drupal content management platform for Mindtree.
Acquia considered more than 100 submissions from top digital marketing firms for its annual award. Among the factors it evaluated for for its best digital marketing companies and websites were client projects that demonstrated an advanced level functionality, integration, and performance, including the results and key performance indicators for each site. Acquia also evaluated overall user experience for each website. Acquia called the breadth of submissions “inspiring… and continues to affirm that Acquia’s partners and customers are setting the precedent for exceptional digital experiences.”
For the new Mindtree.com, Bluetext developed an intuitive, fully responsive user-experience that leverages personalization to serve relevant content to each user. The site was built on a Drupal 8 CMS platform to provide the flexibility and scalability that a large enterprise needs to support its digital marketing initiatives. Best of all, the web design reflects the vibrancy of the brand and its employees, a specific goal of the brand.
Bluetext and the website will be featured during Acquia’s annual Engage conference, where the best digital marketing companies and the foremost leaders in digital will take center stage to share their insights, revelations, and lessons learned in the quest to deliver best-in-class customer experiences.