It is not easy to find your way through the sea of many content management systems (CMS)? Before we decide on a CMS with our customers, we conduct a professional evaluation. And depending on the needs of the institution, the brand, the product or even the store, this system is "tailor-made" for exactly these specific requirements.
For many years, our teams of technical experts have been advising denkwerk customers on the selection process. Together, we determine the criteria and point out challenges. Essential to this is our holistic approach. This accompanies our work throughout the entire process: from selection to an initial successful deployment to potential future scaling. As a partner of various CMS providers, we keep track of technical innovations.
At the beginning of our consulting there is always an evaluation process. We analyze the customer's existing IT infrastructure as-is. At this initial stage, we ask ourselves important questions, including systems - which ones are already in place, which legacy or third-party systems need to be retained in addition to the CMS. Or even, which systems can be replaced with more modern systems. It is important to identify if there are special hosting requirements, cloud systems are an option. Or does the CMS need to be hosted by the customer?
In two or more workshops, we work with our customer to develop four blocks of topics. The process is defined with stakeholders from the business departments and IT: Together we take the requirement of the stakeholders and also weight them together. This flow of the process is very important to us. We ask questions and prioritize together with the customer.
During the workshops, we at denkwerk first determine the fundamental requirements of the future content management system. Only then do we look at the factors for the individual trades:
The selection of the right CMS depends, among other things, on the type and nature of the editorial processes.
In doing so, we ask ourselves a whole series of questions:
How many editors work in the CMS?
Are they gathered centrally in one place or distributed globally across multiple locations?
How many pages and assets are there?
Is it a multi-brand or multi-site site?
Where and how: locally or globally?
We also ask which third-party systems are to be connected? Where and how they will be connected. And consider which real-time capable web interfaces must exist or whether perhaps asynchronous processes are on the agenda and must be implemented.
In the Applications and Services topic, we determine which applications - independent of pure content management systems - are already running on the current platform. For example, this could be the booking section on a hotel website or a self-service in a customer portal. Here, too, we go into further detail in the analysis to find the right CMS: Are there many connected applications or is the end product a purely informative content website? Will these applications be part of the new CMS or will they be connected externally?
Essential to any CMS are its security provisions and scalability capabilities. A website for online banking has different security requirements than a website for a static brand presence. This raises further questions: Does the server for the CMS have to be particularly robust, as is the case with banking systems? Does the editorial team have to log into the CMS via two-factor authentication? Different CMSs scale differently. But: scalability is not an essential requirement for every website. If a platform where campaigns are played frequently, for example, has a high reach, it needs to scale better than a corporate website with the same number of page views on a regular basis.
From all these factors, we create a blueprint for a technical solution. We compile a detailed overview list of all CMS-relevant requirements, each with a roughly sketched description of the functionalities. We evaluate these individually based on our many years of experience. From the evaluations, we finally generate a matrix with a shortlist of all CMSs under consideration. In the end, we make a recommendation for a system.
You've probably already noticed: There is no such thing as a 'bad' content management system - often not all departments have been involved in the decision-making process. Everyone must be involved in the selection process. This is essential for the later successful use of the CMS. A one-sided selection process can lead to a whole range of undesirable results. For example, if the system selection is IT-driven, the focus may be more on the integration in the system landscape and the interfaces. However, it should never be forgotten that not only IT works with the CMS, but also other departments. IT sometimes does not realize that a system will only be accepted if, for example, the editorial team can also work with it - and wants to. If, on the other hand, we focus on the needs of the marketing departments, the interfaces that IT needs in the backend are not necessarily taken into account or are completely disregarded.
Our conclusion: Whether the decision in favor of a CMS is driven by SEO, for displaying the best products, or concerns the performance of the websites - it must always be clarified across departments which factors are important for the respective business. Our initial workshops and, above all, our holistic approach to the respective topic help us to achieve this. The CMS must always be viewed from the perspective of users of the new platform – and also from the perspective of our customers – a joint decision and thus the final decision is made with all stakeholders.