5 signs your CMS is holding you back

Is your content management system (CMS) keeping you from reaching your goals? Arc XP’s Vice President of Product, Mike Holland, shares the top signs that it’s time to upgrade.

Woman On Ladder Looking Over Wall

When it comes to your content management system, what comes to mind?

If juggling disparate tools, struggling to publish content quickly, relying on development teams for support or other issues top the list, it may be time to consider a new platform.

After all, your content management workflow shouldn’t feel like jumping over hurdles or playing a game of tag. These smaller pain points may seem manageable now, but they can add up to larger issues down the road, or slow you down when there is a big story or project to get out. The little warnings can be like a canary in a coal mine that your system won’t do what you need when you really need it.

Instead, your CMS should enable you to deliver an engaging and frictionless digital experience for your customers. A large part of that is streamlining the content development process for internal teams to allow for speed, efficiency and adaptability.

Below are five signs that your CMS may be holding you (and your team) back from reaching your digital potential.

#1. Your CMS can’t store all your content

Gif of storage warehouse

Text, images, on-demand video, live content, infographics and audio—digital consumers want it all these days. From richer experiences to meeting different audience needs, it’s become increasingly important for companies to deliver content across various formats.

If your CMS doesn’t support a variety of content types or requires additional systems to house them, it may be holding you back. The limited functionality of legacy CMS platforms often forces organizations to adopt additional tools to meet the scope of their content needs, such as separate video, audio or document management tools. This can even include a secondary CMS to support specific campaigns or microsites.

Not only can juggling multiple content systems overly complicate and slow down content workflow, but it also requires constant coordination across the systems (and teams). When you have multiple content systems, executing a multichannel content program or campaign is a major undertaking that requires:

  • Creating and managing assets in multiple content systems.
  • Implementing a content operations workflow across all of those systems (i.e., user management, content status, content review, etc.).
  • Coordinating deployment of programs or campaigns across all of those systems, including monitoring and reporting.
  • Training new employees on each of the systems as well as on the processes and workflows you’ve established to coordinate across content silos.

With multiple content tools, it becomes almost impossible to execute on a multichannel or omnichannel strategy unless you’re employing a full-time team of content coordinators to help you do it. Look for a modern CMS that can support all your assets—and your content strategy.

#2. You can’t easily get content into or out of your CMS

Person struggling to walk through a revolving door

Your CMS should be a seamless part of your application environment or digitization environment. To do that, you need to have enough APIs to allow software components to communicate.

It’s not just about having simple APIs for adding and editing content, or exporting content either. Not only do you need APIs that let you interact at a more granular level with specific sites, sections, tags or authors, you also need tools for bulk import, export and setting up content pipelines for feeds in and out to other systems.

At a very basic level, this can also include content formatting issues akin to cutting and pasting content from a Word document into your web editor. If you’ve ever tried to do this, you’re familiar with the text formatting issues that result—like losing italics, bolding, bullets or table designs.

Now, take this very simple example and imagine it scaled up to an automated process where a program is trying to import a thousand stories into your CMS from another system. It becomes a major issue, especially if the system is trying to interpret custom HTML or formatting languages.

With monolithic CMS platforms, that’s the issue—it’s often an all-or-nothing import and export process. Your CMS should instead be able to request or query certain pieces of information or content at a time. This offers the flexibility to flow specific pieces of content to a site, app or other digital property, so that it’s rendered flawlessly and seamlessly.

#3. Your CMS uses an out-of-date programming language

GIF of person hitting computer out of frustration

If your developers are spending a lot of time focused on learning your proprietary or an outdated programming language, is it worth it? Not if that valuable time and resources could be spent building differentiating features or improving your overall user experience. Training new developers will be a continual challenge, and you’ll risk losing talented employees as a result of a poor developer experience that comes with legacy languages.

Not to mention it can be hard to find developers who are already proficient in outdated languages like PHP. And if you try to use offshore or third-party firms to source additional help, you’re going to pay more to find someone who knows the language.

If your programming language is starting to hold you back, it may be worth looking at CMS options that use a modern language like React.js, Node.js or Docker. It can help expedite workflows, free up resources and even benefit your employee recruitment and retention efforts. With a modern language, the wind is at your back.

#4. You’re spending CMS development dollars on plumbing, not features

Gif of fixing a leaky pipe

If you’re spending as much money implementing your CMS as you do on acquiring the software, you may want to consider a change. Think of it in terms of: do you want to be building plumbing (making your CMS work) or adding new features to your content management system?

While it may seem more cost-efficient in the short-term to focus development dollars on getting the “plumbing” to work between your CMS and your digital properties, or your CMS and other internal systems—it ends up just being a band-aid approach.

Even moving your CMS to being hosted on a cloud platform won’t always solve plumbing or integration issues. It goes back to sign #3 above and ensuring you have the APIs to allow for smooth communication between your CMS and other systems. Sometimes your legacy solution just needs a new set of fixtures overall.

It can be helpful to think in terms of your long-term investment. Put those development dollars toward innovation and adding new features. That’s where the growth opportunities are for your content and your organization.

#5. You can’t add all of your digital properties to your CMS

gif of dozens of tablets and smartphones laying flat on white surface

Omnichannel experiences are a critical part of every digital strategy today. Consumers expect richer, more relevant digital interactions across various touchpoints, leaving marketers to reconsider their tech stack and CMS.

It’s no longer about being able to “set up” multiple sites on the same CMS. It’s about being able to support multiple content creation teams where central and local content expertise can be merged to create multiple experiences in a seamless and scalable process. You also need to be able to spin up new sites, apps or teams without requiring a major development effort.

Can you draw content from your CMS with the flexibility to manage unique front-end experiences differently depending on the website or digital property? Can you expand to test new properties or channels quickly? Can you have text-centric or multimedia-centric experiences without changing all your workflows?

With the right content management solution, building an application with content that is continuously refreshed shouldn’t be a huge development project. You should be able to spin up that content in your CMS and then pipe it out to the app quickly.

In fact, it shouldn’t matter what digital project you’re undertaking (new site, new app, new tool. If your content management issues are impacting your business or digital experiences, it’s time to look for a new platform.

If one (or all) of these signs apply to your current content management solution, it may be time to look into upgrading your CMS. Learn how Arc XP’s digital experience platform can help alleviate CMS pain points and keep pace with changing consumer expectations.

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