Resources

Five Questions to Ask Before Changing Your Content Management System

Migrating to a new CMS is no small feat. Addressing these five questions upfront will not only improve user success but has the potential to facilitate innovation and accelerate your strategic roadmap.

TCmake_photo | Getty Images/iStockphoto

Content – be it an engaging article, a compelling visual story, an informative tutorial video, etc. – is the fuel that powers our ever-increasing digital consumption.

Coupled with consumer expectations of rich, relevant digital experiences, this increased consumption has exacerbated the challenges of scaling content creation and delivery felt by many organizations. In fact, 42% of companies felt they didn’t have the right technology to meet content demand even before the pandemic changed the face of life and business across the globe.

To meet increased demand, organizations are re-evaluating their content processes and, in many cases, are moving towards replacing their legacy content management system (CMS).

Migrating to a new CMS is no small feat. With over 1,400 CMS implementations under their belts, there are five questions Arc’s Professional Services team have found that, when addressed at the start of a CMS migration project, will not only improve user success but have the potential to facilitate innovation and accelerate your strategic roadmap.

1. What business objective(s) are you trying to achieve?

While the initial catalyst for seeking a new CMS is to deliver a more efficient content process, such an initiative can have a broader impact beyond filling existing gaps. When planning your business case, think about what additional objectives migrating to a new CMS can achieve such as:

Cost Savings

As companies continue to drive the bottom-line, teams, and marketing teams in particular, are asked to do more with less. If your teams are using individual point solutions in addition to your current CMS, use the selection process to identify a solution that eliminates the need for these extra tools. Not only will this facilitate process improvement but often a reduction in your technology spend as well.

New products or lines of business

Selecting a new CMS can be a catalyst to developing new products and even a new line of business by freeing up previously dedicated resources, as was the case for Arc customer, The Globe and Mail.

By migrating to Arc, The Globe and Mail was able to reallocate IT resources previously focused on supporting their content stack to instead drive business innovation opportunities. This resource reallocation led to a new revenue stream for The Globe and Mail with the development of Sophi.io, a suite of business intelligence and predictive analytics tools that is now licensed to publishers around the world.

Taking a broader look at what a new CMS can enable will not only deliver a greater return on the project but driver a greater impact for your business and increased value for your customers.

2. How will you approach user adoption?

User adoption is the lynchpin of success from which achieving your business objectives stems.

While the goal is to drive efficiencies and make it easier for users to execute their content-related tasks, introducing a new technology can create anxiety and resistance to adopting as such implementations can mean not only learning new systems but drastic changes to how familiar tasks are accomplished.

Mitigate anxiety and reluctance by socializing the adoption a new CMS and communicating often. Engage users by conducting a survey to understand pain points and identify process or system feature gaps. Doing so will not only inform the CMS selection process but will facilitate buy-in as users feel part of the process.

User adoption is a two-sided coin where heads is buy-in and the tails is training, which we discuss next.

3. How will you train users?

Training is the unsung hero of all change, particularly when introducing new technology that will transform the way your teams work. Too often training is looked at as an afterthought, left to be addressed at the end of the migration process rather than at the beginning.

How you introduce a new CMS and provide initial and ongoing training will determine user adoption and ultimately, the ability to achieve your business objectives. We have found the most successful CMS migrations to have the following:

  • A dedicated stakeholder responsible for designing and implementing user training.
  • Resources and time devoted for all users to learn and acclimate to the new system and processes, and to keep learning as new features and improvements roll out.

When evaluating CMS partners, pay close attention to their training and support. Ask questions like what does your user training structure look like? Do you offer hosted training and how does that function with remote workforces? How do you facilitate onboarding new hires? What kind of training do you offer for new product and feature rollouts? What is offered in terms of on-going user support?

Identifying these factors upfront will inform how you need to plan your CMS rollout and user training – providing insight as to where you can lean on your new CMS partner and what you need to plan for in terms of timeline, budget, etc.

4. How will you solicit, and implement, user feedback?

Akin to training users is identifying how you will solicit and respond to their feedback, gaining insight into what perhaps is not working as anticipated and what processes or tools may need to be tweaked.

Be as intentional as possible when designing how you will handle feedback, fixes and feature requests. Think broadly about on what channels feedback should be shared. Should users send an email? Should there be a Slack or Microsoft Teams channel for users to share real-time pain points? Who should be responsible for responding to and collating the feedback shared?

Take care to identify the expectation around how feedback is handled. There is nothing worse than taking the time to provide your feedback and see it go nowhere. Celebrate early improvements and document instances of feedback that was acted on. Share these instances so users can see the impact their feedback has made. Doing so not only reinforces that you value user input but optimizes the content process leading to greater content value and ultimately a better customer experience.

5. What will success look like and how will you measure it?

When adopting a new CMS there are two internal measures by which all success will stem – user adoption and content development efficiency.

User adoption

We’ve talked about user adoption a lot and rightfully so as it is the crux by which your new CMS will succeed.

When it comes to measuring user adoption, don’t focus solely on the cumulative number of users who have logged in. Instead, look at the bigger picture by measuring daily, weekly and monthly log ins for both cumulative and unique users. This will provide a more accurate picture of adoption and usage patterns across teams, enabling you to pinpoint usage trends and how these trends relate to business outcomes.

Content development efficiency

If you haven’t already, document your content creation timeline and process. Use this as your guide to identify improvement opportunities – whether that’s the elimination of steps in the process or individual point solutions – as part of your CMS selection.

Once your new CMS has been implemented, use your previous process as the baseline from which you measure improvement including:

  • The steps and time it takes to publish a new piece of content
  • IT resources/hours needed to support your CMS
  • Overall operational efficiency and cost savings

As with any new technology, there may not be an immediate improvement to your content timeline as users acclimate to new tools and procedures. While this should improve quickly, if it doesn’t, this could be a sign that additional training is needed, or processes may need to be reassessed.

While there is a strong bias for shiny new things, addressing the five areas highlighted above before starting your CMS project will set you up for success - achieving your business objectives faster and with greater results.

With a best-in-breed headless CMS as part of our digital experience platform, Arc provides everything needed to efficiently create, manage and deliver content at scale in one solution. Want to see what Arc can do for you? Contact us today.

Related articles:

Even in the Midst of a Pandemic, Now is the Time to Upgrade Your CMS. Here’s Why.

3 Practices for Keeping Your Site Performance Fast and Stable.

[Case Study] BP: Building a ‘Write Once, Publish Anywhere’ Culture with Arc.