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Help! I Need a New Web Content Management System

state of content management

So, it’s probably been at least five years since you last implemented a web content management system (WCMS). More than likely, it’s been more than eight years. The old system is increasingly out-dated, slow, hard to use, and the people who picked it are long gone. Does this sound familiar? This is a common situation with anyone looking to select a new content system, portal, or digital experience platform.

Many people looking for a new platform will start in one of two ways:

  • Go to Google and search for “Select a web content management system.” If you go this route, you will find all sorts of “How to choose” articles. In fact, I had 982,000,000 results when I did it. Unfortunately, a lot of the results will be written by a content management vendor who would prefer you just buy their system. On the first page of results, 90% will likely fall into this category.
  • Look to Gartner or Forrester for advice. If you have heard of Gartner, you might know they have something called a Magic Quadrant that shows their assessment of several vendors. Likewise, Forrester has the Wave assessment. While their information is good, it may not line up with your particular situation.

It’s Critically Important to Get This Right

We know the selection of a new platform is a critical decision that you have to make – the future of your digital experiences depends on you getting the selection right. Also, large enterprises have to pull together a cross-functional or cross-business unit team to go through the process to make sure everyone buys into the final selection.

If you haven’t been through a large-scale selection process, not only do you need information about the systems, you need guidance on how to create a process that gets you to the final decision. If your company has a formal RFP process, that may only slow you down – Forrester says you will need at least three months to go through an RFP and it will likely take much longer. (See RIP, RFP — This Is Not Your 1990s Vendor Selection Process)

A Better Process

At Perficient, we think we have a better selection process that will get you to your web content management decision much faster. We created a guide that you can download to help you understand how to select the right system. (See The State of Content Management Systems: Finding the Right Fit)

We start by identifying your specific requirements for a new platform. By itself, the process of identifying requirements can be arduous and time-consuming. But here is where our process shines. We have collected over 300 requirements from a variety of companies across a variety of industries over the past several years. So, rather than starting with a blank sheet, we simply ask you to select which of these requirements are must-have, nice to have, or not needed. Along the way, we might find you have a few requirements we’ve never seen before, but it’s easier to add a few new requirements than try to discover 300 new ones. With our process, we can reduce the requirements identification time from months down to a week or two.

Bypassing the RFP Process

Once you have identified your requirements, you have to evaluate the various vendors against those requirements. If you go through the RFP process for this step, you’ll have to send those requirements out to each vendor and hope they answer the questionnaire honestly. Then you have to collect the responses, score them, and then try to narrow down to just a couple vendors to go forward.

In our process, we can bypass this arduous RFP process because we rely on Perficient experts to honestly evaluate the vendors based on our real-world implementation experiences. Our experts are also familiar with our standard set of 300 requirements, so they don’t have to go hunt for an answer about how a vendor performs against those requirements. As a result, rather than taking a month or two for the RFP scoring, our evaluation process happens in days.

Targeted Demonstrations are Important

Usually, the last key step in any selection process is the vendor demonstration. Typically, the top two vendors are invited to demo their system to the team. Too often, the team leaves it up to the vendor to show what they want and you can be sure they’ll show the features they think are great, whether you need them or not.

In our process, we ask the vendors to demonstrate your most important requirements. We do this by looking at the requirements you rated as “must-have” and then asking the vendors to demonstrate use cases that show how these “must-haves” will be satisfied. By doing this, you can be sure that you are not seeing a smokescreen.

Finally, if you are new to selecting a new web content management system, the types of systems and the number of capabilities they offer can be overwhelming. We created a guide to help you understand these systems better: Build an Experience Business: Understanding Your CMS Options.

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Mark Polly

Mark Polly is Perficient's Chief Strategist for Customer Experience Platforms. He works to create great customer, partner, and employee experiences. Mark specializes in web content management, portal, search, CRM, marketing automation, customer service, collaboration, social networks, and more.

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