Ten Critical Questions to Ask Before Choosing a CMS

Updated: October 26, 2020

What you need to know before making a major change


Most companies look for a new Content Management System when they start hitting the limits of their current CMS. Go beyond the usual criteria like features, cost and security to find solutions that empower businesses to be first to market with digital products. Get the full guide here and read on below for a preview to ensure you have the information you need before changing your CMS.

1. How will the CMS integrate with and leverage your existing tools?

How well a CMS integrates into your current workflows without losing functionality or customizations can give insight into how it will work with other emerging technologies. A traditional all-in-one CMS that claims to do everything is unlikely to be as good as individual tools that are designed for seamless integration.

2. Are there exceptions to what content can be managed in the CMS?

The solution should include a central content hub from where users should be able to upload, edit and update content without the help of developers. Editors should be able to publish their content to any digital application, including websites, apps, signage, wearable tech, etc.

3. What features of the CMS support a good user experience for editors and developers?

The CMS should support easy collaboration, and its editorial interfaces should be customizable to reduce complexity, empowering editors to publish more content faster without requiring development. Developers should be able to get started quickly with self-serve resources. All teams should be able to work in parallel so that digital leaders can set goals and priorities without worrying about interdependencies, such as a content team interrupting developers to push updates.

4. How does the CMS enable you to reach new and emerging markets?

Understanding how the CMS extends your current reach can help you gauge its ability to support future digital opportunities. It should address challenges inherent to delivering content on multiple channels in different geographic locations. When choosing a CMS, consider features that support multinational teams, such as integration with translation tools, collaboration tools and increased delivery speeds.

5. What competitive advantages will we gain in terms of speed?

Make sure the solutions you consider have a track record for accelerating the development cycle. Compare areas where your current CMS performs well to ensure that the new content solution builds on those gains.

Contentful has customers who credit their new content infrastructure with reducing deployment time by 98% and launching new products 14 times faster.

6. What is the expected implementation timeline for this CMS?

Long implementation times take resources away from revenue-generating work, and enthusiasm can fade to doubt if unexpected challenges delay the go-live date. Before choosing a traditional CMS, you should consider the experts needed for implementation, learning curve, customization requirements, data migration and other areas that might lead to delays in the timeline.

7. Can you start small and scale up once the CMS proves itself?

Nobody really knows if a CMS is a good fit until they start using it. Starting small is one way to avoid the risks of long implementation times and to see if the CMS performs as expected before you fully commit. Look for solutions that go beyond letting you into a staging or demo version, and let you fully test the product with your own content.

Contentful makes it possible for developers to start building without any red tape. Developers can build a proof of concept before recommending a bigger investment.

8. What is your vision for the future of content management?

When your business is ready to build a new digital product, expand into a new channel or launch an innovative campaign, you want your CMS to empower you to move forward at speed. Features and capabilities need to be continuously updated to put you ahead of the competition.

9. What value does the CMS offer beyond just solving existing problems?

Depending on where you are in your content journey, many CMSes will satisfy your current requirements. The differentiator will be how that content solution separates itself from the competition. Choose a CMS or content solution that adds value today and prepares your business to adapt to the future.

10. How does this solution think outside the CMS box?

Traditional CMSes are monolithic systems that do a lot of things, but don’t necessarily do them well. Plus, all those extra features make user interfaces more complex, even if a business chooses not to use them. These sit in stark contrast to a modern web stack that pulls together best-in-breed cloud services to create leading digital products. Choose a solution that puts content on par with the rest of your technology stack.

With Contentful, companies can manage and ship content anywhere — websites, digital billboards, IoT, etc. — faster and without limits. What’s more, Contentful is fully scalable. Businesses can start small and pay for what they need. Developers can begin building immediately in whatever language they prefer. Both developers and editors love the customizable user interfaces that reflect each team’s preferences and workflow needs. Plus, teams can work simultaneously without the interdependencies of traditional CMSes.

Request a demo today to learn how Contentful goes beyond your current needs and helps you usher in the future of digital content.

Sound interesting?
Download our white paper to find out more about how to choose a CMS that will scale with your business.
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