How to choose the best content management system for your organization (hint: let someone else do it for you)
It’s no secret that eZ Publish / eZ Platform is our favourite CMS, and we recommend it to most of our clients when content creation, distribution, and monetization are key to their business. But the fact is, most CMSs have similar structures and similar goals: to make the process of creating and managing digital content easy. Does it really matter which one you choose?
Once you’ve seen one...
It’s not a stretch to say that once you’ve seen one CMS, you’ve seen most of them. Many CMSs are pretty mature in their core functionality, meaning they all do certain functions fairly well, including:
- Creating flexible content structures
- Setting user permissions
- Separating content from design
- Integrating with other tools
- Using APIs
- Adding and modifying content without requiring technical knowledge
They all have their own quirks, of course, and some do things like scaling or versioning or multi-language sites better than others. Understanding your processes is just as important as understanding the features you need and how they will work together.
So if CMSs are similar, how do I choose one?
Well, our view is that there are so many factors in a digital project that are more important than the choice of CMS. Top of the list is the development partner.
Of course, you might have some absolutely necessary feature and platform requirements that you need the CMS to meet. Beyond that, focus on selecting your development partner, and let them recommend a CMS that will meet your needs.
Remember, you’re investing not just in technology, but in a relationship. Find a partner that will sit down with you, listen to your requirements, ask good questions, identify risks, and outline solutions. If they’re not the right fit for some elements or projects, they should let you know and suggest alternatives.
Here are a few key criteria to look for in a good development partner:
- Experience in your industry as well as across industries
- Understanding of your organizational goals and how the CMS can help you achieve them
- Ability to train you, your editors, and your in-house developers on the system
- Familiarity with integrations with other relevant systems such as a CRM or e-commerce solution, print fulfillment, or social media channels
- Relationship with the core CMS company (in our case, with eZ Systems, for example)
- Commitment to contributing back to the software -- especially if it’s open source -- which demonstrates an understanding of the CMS’s functionality
Choose a development partner and the CMS will follow
It’s good for a partner to be familiar with a few CMSs, but they need to be able to focus on just a couple of them in order to develop expertise and maintain best practices. That way, they can spend more time helping you achieve your present and future goals.
Ultimately, you want to find someone you can trust, who works well with your team, and who will be available for support when upgrades, adjustments, and additional implementations are required.
Because when it comes down to it, it often doesn’t matter if you build your site in Drupal or TYPO3, or eZ, as long as you work with a partner that delivers the results you need, is great to work with, and sticks around for the long-run.
Want to discuss your CMS needs? Contact us anytime for a free 30-minute consultation.