There’s no such thing as an enterprise CMS

There’s no such thing as an enterprise CMS
October 31, 2015 Ben Shapira

From small businesses to multi-national corporates, clients are always looking for the best solution to their website needs. A CMS is a common request from most businesses; as they plan to manage content over the long-term. In most cases, that never happens, meaning that businesses are often investing in infrastructure they will never engage with.

Assuming that your business is indeed prepared to manage your own website, the question that is often asked of me is “what CMS is best for our business?” This is, of course, the wrong question to ask.

Businesses need to develop a strategy first to understand what their short term and long term objectives are before even considering a CMS. Once the strategy is in place, we need to look at specific capabilities that are needed in the CMS environment to deliver on these objectives.

In most cases, the idea of a large business investing in a simple CMS like WordPress is not even considered. The thought process is that because they are a large enterprise, they need a large and complicated CMS to cater to their supposed needs. In reality, if they have done their due diligence, my clients often find that a CMS should do what it is best at – manage content.

Where complexity comes into the conversation is around transaction. A CMS like WordPress is capable of managing transactional services through third-party plugins like WP-Commerce, the fact is that the CMS is not specifically designed with that in mind. This is where a CMS like Magento may be better suited.

Where the conversation often gets sidetracked is around data. Large-scale or supposed ‘enterprise’ CMS systems often focus on data and data centralization as a means of differentiating themselves from the so-called ‘entry level’ CMS system.

In truth, there are several ways of managing data and in no case should we confuse data and CMS. Data is best served, stored and managed through dedicated CRM systems. These can vary in size and complexity depending on needs from the simple (MailChimp) , mid-range (Zoho) to the true enterprise systems (Salesforce).

When you consider building a new site, have a strategy first. Understand your needs over time and select the software that will best meet those objectives but lets be clear, don’t make a decision purely based on perceived needs or a confused relationship between complexity and capability based on your business size.

Invest in what will serve you best. This is often an important and expensive choice being made, make the right choice for your business – and let the development begin.

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