Will it scale? 7 questions to ask before choosing a content management platform

Updated: October 26, 2020

How to avoid common pitfalls when building a tech stack for growth


Choosing technology that will scale with your business is challenging, but it’s worth the time and effort to build an infrastructure that fits your needs — now and in the future. Technology that fails to scale with your business impedes success.

Scalability is often overlooked when it comes to content management. Eager to get that first digital product live, many businesses start with a familiar out-of-the-box CMS. Then they add another CMS to support mobile, and another when they add an app, and yet another as they expand their product line. The bigger they grow, the more technical debt they accrue and the more cumbersome content management becomes.

To avoid technical debt and stay competitive, it’s important to focus on scalability as a key criteria for your content management solution.

Simply asking “Will it scale?” isn’t enough. Scalability depends on your needs and isn’t one-size-fits-all. Instead, we recommend asking these seven questions to assess how your chosen CMS manages the most common challenges that come with growth.

1. How does the platform handle spikes in traffic, data and usage?

This assesses performance scalability: the ability of a platform to grow with your business, whether growth is slow and steady or comes in leaps and bounds. Customers trust Contentful to power content for Super Bowl ads, Black Friday sales, Times Square billboards and more. Meet our customers.

2. Can you build on the same infrastructure and workflows as you add products and channels?

Horizontal scalability covers how well a platform helps you organize and govern multiple projects, teams and channels. See how Contentful’s scalable infrastructure supports TELUS’s growing content and product portfolio.

3. How will the platform support more complex and sophisticated use cases?

Will the platform scale vertically to support complex integrations, customizations and the different tools for your digital teams? Bang & Olufsen found that their old ecommerce and CMS platform couldn’t scale to deliver omnichannel content experiences. See how switching to a microservice stack with Contentful at the center has changed all that.

4. Does the platform have a track record for meeting the challenges of geographic scalability?

Expanding into new markets brings new challenges: different regulatory requirements, governance and workflows for distributed teams and a high demand for localized content. See how Contentful helped SumUp meet globalization challenges and empowered them to localize content with the click of a button.

5. Does the platform have the in-house expertise to help people and processes scale alongside the tech?

Administrative scale is critical to growth. As you add more users, your tech infrastructure needs to flex to meet the needs of multiple teams simultaneously, organize and connect users, and support collaboration and parallel workflows. Contentful has customer success managers, solution architects, technical architects and strategic services that provide 24/7 support and expert guidance to help enterprises manage content at scale.

6. Has the platform helped other customers make measurable gains in development speed?

Let’s face it, this is what it’s all about. A platform can look good on paper, but to help your business scale faster it needs to fit into your development pipeline and support best practices, including iterative development, agile workflows and continuous deployment. Contentful has a track record for increasing speed across industries. Check out our customer case studies to see what’s possible.

7. What level of security and business continuity measures is the platform committed to maintaining?

As businesses grow, the stakes around security get higher. To scale, a platform needs to go beyond the minimum to offer enterprise-level security. Contentful’s battle-tested infrastructure offers unparalleled resiliency, governance and security. We’re ISO 27001-compliant.

Interested in a more in-depth look at how to choose a technical infrastructure built for growth?
Download our dimensions of scale white paper and get actionable advice on choosing tools that will go the distance.
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