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The 5 most common mistakes made when selecting a new CMS

23 maart 2021

Need more flexibility at the front end of your website or e-commerce platform? Quickly add new touchpoints, omnichannel customer contact, personalization? Then you might be looking for a new CMS. Managing director Gert van Vliet of headless specialist Touchtribe talks about the 5 most common mistakes made when selecting a CMS.

1. Not a clear vision on the very diverse CMS offering

In essence, a Content Management System (CMS) allows users to add content to a website without requiring technical knowledge. That's how it was conceived around 25 years ago, and in fact still is today. But that's where the comparison ends. There are countless systems for sale, and the differences between all of them are huge.

When buying a car, someone looking for a city car, probably won't come home with a Range Rover. Most people know that there are different types of cars, with different segments within them. From station wagon to convertible and from Kia to Mercedes. CMSs also have similar distinctions, but the market is much harder for a layman to fathom.

When making a selection without knowing the market, there is a good chance that you are comparing apples with oranges. Or that you select based on the wrong criteria. When looking for a new CMS, make sure you first become familiar with the different types of systems, and only then determine from that overview which type of CMS suits your organization best.

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Gert van Vliet is managing director at Touchtribe

Gert van Vliet

Managing director


2. Think carefully about the requirements, and avoid asking the known way

To determine which type of CMS is best suited for your organization, you must first have a clear picture on how you are going to use it. Take the time to compile a thorough questionnaire and ask important questions such as: 

  • Which infrastructure are we going to use - SaaS, private cloud or public cloud, for example - and why exactly?

  • Buy or build: do we do the implementation ourselves or do we buy it?

  • Who has the last word on the system: who will work with it?

It really pays off to take the time to formulate these questions beforehand. This seems logical, yet I still come across many obligatory questions (also online) that hardly contribute to the challenge of separating the many wheat from the chaff. These are common examples:

  • Is the system user-friendly?

  • Does the system have a WYSIWYG editor?

  • Is it possible to see the version history of content? 

3. Overestimating the capabilities of a CMS.

Almost every organization today is a digital organization, and more and more organizations also have a well-developed digital strategy. Goals that are usually mentioned frequently in this strategy are for example 'omnichannel', 'conversion', 'target groups', 'relieving customer service' and 'reaching new customers'. And if all goes well, the strategy will also contain important starting points for the search for a new CMS.

However, consider carefully what the main objective of the new CMS is: an effective solution that allows your organization to manage your website(s) without the intervention of a developer. In some cases, a CMS offers additional options, such as the ability to perform A/B testing, implement personalization or edit forms. For none of the above strategic goals, however, the CMS is of critical importance. Therefore, think carefully about how important you want to make the new CMS. 

4. Not seeing a clear distinction between CMS and implementation

If you know what functionality your CMS should offer at least, you can draw up a wish list for potential suppliers: a Request for Proposal. Over the years I have reviewed a long list of such RFPs. One of the issues that recurs regularly is that the requesting party apparently has no idea where the CMS stops and the implementation begins. This led, for example, to the following two requirements that I found earlier in various forms: 

  • The CMS provides an event calendar with the ability to register. 

  • Visitors must be able to request a quotation. 

First of all: for a non-techie, an RFP quickly deals with fairly abstract subject matter. I am therefore translating these two desired specifications to the analogy of the aforementioned car:

  • The car must make it possible to go on vacation.

  • The car must support a visit to the dentist.

For the record: the CMS is a generic system in which all the general content for the website is managed. Implementation is building a website and making it maintainable with the appropriate CMS.

5. Making the architecture of your digital platform dependent on a CMS

A digital platform has long since ceased to be just there to keep your website up and running. In fact, in more and more companies today, this platform forms the core of the business. The demands that the organization places on it are therefore increasing rapidly: enabling personalization, self-service and omnichannel communication with customers, for example.

However, all these possibilities remain out of reach if the architecture does not allow the various systems in your back office to exchange data frictionlessly and in real time. Because every organization is unique, and has its own mix of new and outdated software, building such an intelligent digital landscape is not easy, however.

It requires a thoughtful architecture, which determines the speed and agility with which the organization can evolve. An AI chatbot, for example, will never replace customer service if it does not have access to all the information recorded about the customer. So always make sure you know exactly which way you want to go with your architecture first, and then choose the CMS that best suits your needs. The realization of a website, and the choice of CMS, can then be the first step in the rollout of the intended architecture.

More and more organizations are opting for headless commerce: an innovative new architecture specifically designed to add a relevant experience to the customer journey quickly and flexibly at any given time. A headless platform consists of separate components that you can click together like Lego bricks. The speed with which you can respond to customer needs and technological opportunities increases dramatically.

Download the white paper on headless commerce

Are you curious about headless commerce, and do you want to know if it is the most effective architecture for your organization? Download the comprehensive whitepaper that answers all your questions about headless commerce. 

Gert van Vliet is managing director at Touchtribe

Gert van Vliet

Managing director