By Maria Valatkaite, on Nov 29, 2018

Seven signs you’ve outgrown your CMS

Digital teams who eliminate the hurdle of an inefficient traditional CMS deploy digital products faster. They build apps 2-3 times faster, update content in minutes, and shorten release periods by months. When teams are not wrestling with outdated tech, they’re being a lot more productive.

Across a diverse mix of industries, there are some common signs that a company has outgrown its CMS and could drastically increase its speed and efficiency by moving to content infrastructure.

1. Maintaining multiple CMSes or content repositories A CMS is meant to centralize content management. The benefits of a content hub are lost when an organization needs more than one CMS. Multiple CMSes create content silos that require extra work to maintain, make it challenging to intelligently repurpose content and collaborate efficiently across teams.

“We originally managed our content via a Word Press CMS—or should I say ‘CMSes’?” said one Freeletics digital product manager. “Each language had a separate website, plus its own support center, knowledge base,and blog. That’s a lot of Word Press sites…. Now, we have a simple stack with Contentful on the backend. It’s super easy to maintain.”

2. Relying on a few people to push new content Live As a company’s digital portfolio grows, monolithic CMSes tend to become less stable as hacks and workarounds get added to support new products. Changes to one part of the CMS can easily trigger problems in other areas, and, in the end, developers are needed to publish even the smallest changes.

This overload of complexity runs the constant risk of breaking things, creates content bottlenecks, and is also a huge business risk if the few developers who understand the CMS-specific workarounds leave the company.

3. CMS capabilities can limit the feasibility of innovative projects Working around an outdated CMS is time consuming, forcing marketing and product development teams to be selective in how they deploy resources.

As developers become focused on keeping the lights on, fewer resources are available to explore new functionalities, implement creative designs and develop proofs of concept.

4. Unwieldy CMSes slow down production This manifests as extra time needed to migrate or recreate existing content, time spent researching workarounds or plugins instead of writing clean code, and time wasted while troubleshooting bugs caused by adding new code to a monolithic CMS. Any one of these can add days or weeks to production.

“Contentful is a great fit with our speed-oriented architecture,” said Lukas Edenfelt of TUI Nordic. See how TUI Nordic boosted developer and editorial productivity.

5. Projects are held up by content bottlenecks According to the Content Marketing Institute, 28% of technology content marketers say content bottlenecks hold up some or most of their projects.

Content bottlenecks are a frustrating sign that your CMS has gone from enabling to inhibiting good content management.

Read the case study on how Trunk Club broke through its content bottleneck.

6. Content and development workflows are interdependent When legacy CMSes struggle to accommodate growing digital portfolios, content and development workflows become entangled. Instead of working in parallel, content and development teams have to take turns working in the CMS.

Editors need developers to push content changes live, update hard-coded content and create new layouts. Developers can’t easily pull content for new products, waste time on minor but persistent content publishing requests, and get bogged down in managing and troubleshooting the CMS.

7. Inability to scale digital products efficiently Taking a day or more to make updates in a cumbersome CMS might work with one product in one market, but is a completely inefficient workflow when companies need to add multiple products with content that is customized to different devices and localities.

Failure to scale can also occur when the CMS limits developers’ ability to choose the best languages and tools for their projects. Many developers say major CMS platforms are coded in a way that hinders their ability to build applications that scale, according to software engineer Dan Webb, in his blog post on B2Interactive “Framework or CMS better for web development.”

View Seven signs you've outgrown your cms to view more details including 14 examples of other brands who outgrew their CMSes and their solution to these common signs of frustration.

Maria Valatkaite
Berlin, Germany

Lead editor on Contentful's white papers and reports and proof positive that Contentful is for creatives too.

Maria focuses on translating the excitement developers have about Contentful into what matters for business and content teams.