9 Tips for Choosing the Right Content Management System

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Your content management system (CMS) is one of the backbones of your digital presence and enables you to create and manage digital content. Choosing a CMS is critical—the right one will be easy to use and make creating and managing content efficient.

Read on to learn the nine tips for choosing a CMS, so you can make the best decision for your organisation.

Choosing a CMS: 9 Tips

Here are nine tips to help you choose a CMS for your business:

  • Be patient
  • Understand your needs
  • Create a budget
  • Understand changing customer demand
  • Understand changing technology
  • Look for the right CMS vendor
  • Create a shortlist of vendors
  • Write an RFP
  • Evaluate RFP responses


Be Patient 

The first piece of advice when choosing a CMS is to be patient. As mentioned earlier, a CMS is one of the backbones of your digital presence. This is a choice you have to think about very carefully, and you don’t want to rush it.

Don’t let internal or external sources of pressure, such as your C-suite or vendors respectively, force you into making a decision before you’ve weighed all factors. Rushing your decision can lead you to taking the wrong turn and costing your business in the long run.

Understand Your Needs 

Determine what you need from your CMS. This tip is both challenging and essential. When you understand what features your CMS should have, you’re closer to finding the right one for you.

How do you figure out what your needs are? Gather a diverse team of stakeholders. Your stakeholders aren’t just the people who are using the CMS every day—they’re also from the IT department and accounting, and even customer service reps who might be fielding questions about your content.

While this approach might sound like you’ll get many conflicting opinions (spoiler alert: you will), you’ll also get a number of vital perspectives that ensure you choose the best CMS for your company. Enlighten Designs’ Illuminate Workshop is ideal for taking a step back and looking at your needs and wants from a different angle.

Create a Budget 

Creating a budget involves looking beyond the sticker price. You must also consider:

  • The hidden costs (software upgrades, customisations, customer support, etc.)
  • The kind of ROI you will ideally see from the CMS
  • The cost of “doing nothing” and not investing in a CMS at all.

Remember that you get what you pay for, so if you’re choosing the lowest quote because you think you’ll save money, it might cost you more in the end.

Understand Changing Customer Demand

This tip might seem as though it should be part of the section on understanding your needs, but it’s actually important enough to stand on its own.

Today’s customers are more discerning and more vocal about what they want. Consistently offering them a great customer experience is key to keeping them. Customers want content that is:

  • Relevant
  • Timely
  • Based on their previous experience with your company

You need a CMS that will deliver those personalised experiences seamlessly.

Understand Changing Technology 

Understanding changing technology is vital since change is happening at a rapid pace. Don’t choose a CMS that isn’t scalable or doesn’t integrate with new technologies.

AI is changing the way we market, helping companies understand how a customer interacts with content, so they can either improve it in the future, or continue doing what they’re doing to continue that engagement.

Look for the Right CMS Vendor

There are five things you should look for in a CMS vendor:

  1. Support — are you only going to get basic upgrades, or is the support package more inclusive?
  2. Vision — what’s the vendor’s overarching vision for its product? Does the vendor demonstrate understanding of customer need, and will it add features accordingly? Will it add features that don’t supplement the value of its product?
  3. Community — does the vendor have many customers? Does the vendor have customers who are in your industry and/or have similar needs that would present a good use-case for your organisation?
  4. Stability — how long has the vendor been in the market? Do analysts predict the vendor is on solid footing?
  5. Focus — is the vendor focused on growing the company more than it is on delivering an excellent CMS? When vendors place too big an emphasis on growth, it could mean that they’re looking to leave the market, which may leave you high and dry in the future.

Create a Shortlist of Vendors 

Once you’ve determined your needs, the features you want in your CMS, and which vendors are the best fit, it’s time to start creating a shortlist.

Who and what should make it onto your shortlist?

  • Vendors who offer the right features
  • CMS solutions that fit into your budget
  • Vendors who are geographically close to you—if you need support, you want someone who can provide that quickly

Write an RFP

A request for proposals (RFP) gives vendors the chance to demonstrate that they understand your needs, and that their CMS can fulfill your requirements.

The secret to writing an RFP is to frame your request so that the vendor can explain why it (and its CMS) is right for you. Sitecore suggests creating a use-case narrative that’s based on your requirements and describes one of your challenges, which the vendor can specifically respond to.

Evaluate RFP Responses

Once your vendors have submitted their RFP responses, it’s time to evaluate them. What are you looking for during the evaluation process?

First, the vendor should fill out the RFP according to your specifications. For example, if you tell a vendor to submit a PDF, anyone who doesn’t do that isn’t a good fit. Second, look at their answers: how well do they meet your requirements? Next, schedule demos for those vendors who offer appropriate solutions, and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions; a CMS is a major investment, and you want to make the right choice.

Enlighten Designs: Helping You Choose the Right CMS

Enlighten Designs has two decades of experience delivering amazing digital experiences to its clients. Our partnership with Sitecore and other content management systems means we can help you get the right CMS for your needs. If you’re struggling to figure out what you need or where to start, ask about our Illuminate Workshop that can help get you and your team in sync.

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Umbrellar Connect

Umbrellar Connect is the leading multi-media hub for New Zealand's tech innovations. We keep you informed on the need-to-know impact stories, the trends shaping our world, and the tech enabling us to go further.

Enlighten Designs

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Enlighten Designs creates beautiful, user-friendly digital solutions. As an award-winning creative technical agency, our mission is to deliver digitally transformative experiences for customers ranging from small businesses to enterprise clients. Founded in 1998, Enlighten Designs is based on our passion to bring exceptionally designed, innovative and custom technology solutions from the shores of New Zealand to the world.

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