Only twenty-nine percent of web content management clients are satisfied with their solution.
Yep. Almost three quarters of web content management clients are unhappy with their choice of software. How is that possible? This is completely unheard of in any other industry. How long would a car company be around if 3 out of every 4 customers was unhappy with their purchase? Why is content management different? How can an industry sustain itself with a failure rate this high?
The problem lies with how content management systems are chosen.
Selecting a content management system is not like buying a car or TV or digital camera. Normally, when we make a decision to buy something, we compare features and narrow our choice down to the items that fit our needs. Like maybe I want a 46” TV or an all-wheel-drive car. We go online and read reviews from other people who have purchased the item to get their perspective. We use our senses to qualify sights, sounds and textures. We make sure that it meets our needs and fits with our tastes. All of these things predict how satisfied we will be with the purchase.
Unfortunately, you can’t buy a CMS this way. You can’t see them – at least not how they will actually work in your environment. You can’t test drive them – beyond clicking a few buttons on a simplified demo. And comparing features of different CMSs is the most misleading thing of all – but it’s also the most natural because it is the way we compare every other purchase.
Out of the box is one of the most misleading terms used in CMS
Many CMS vendors love it if you compare them strictly on features. Especially the ones that are difficult to implement and have a crappy user experience. Ektron, classified as a mid-market ‘leader’ according to Gartner, has a hate site where users recount chilling tales of budget overruns and unimaginable frustrations.
CMS systems don’t have a box. It’s not like Microsoft Office where you put the DVD in, install it, and start using it. Every content management system has to be customized for your specific needs. And this customization, or implementation makes up the bulk of the solution. Whether the CMS has 100 features or 1,000 features, it has to be integrated within your systems, processes, teams and digital channels.
Implementation is half the battle
The reality is that the implementation of a CMS is at least half the battle. Implementing a CMS is more like building a skyscraper than installing software. Designs are sketched, blueprints are developed and construction is completed. The project generally spans multiple companies, departments, stakeholders and decision makers. A typical implementation takes at least three months and sometimes a year or longer.
If you are so focused on features that you ignore the details of the implementation, you are going to be in the 71% of content management customers that are unhappy with their solution.
Make sure you evaluate the complete team that is delivering the solution
Imagine you just bought a Porsche. You’re excited to jump in and go for a rip, but instead of the keys, the dealer hands you a picture of the car. The dealer promises that once their third-party factory finishes the assembly in six months, it will be exactly what you want, only better. This is how many CMS projects go. Once the vendor has sold you on all of their wonderful features, they hand you off to one of their partner ‘factories’ to do the implementation. Often times these partners have little or no experience building solutions on this particular CMS. Do you really want a Chrysler factory building your Porsche? Forgetting to evaluate the entire team is a critical point of failure for CMS projects.
Content management systems don’t always suck – they’re just misunderstood
Okay so content management systems don’t always suck. There are cases where the stars align and the right CMS is matched with the right customer and implemented with precision. We work very hard at Agility to ensure that our customers are delighted with our solutions and have a very good track record so far. But we all need to work together as an industry to make sure that clients are getting the right solution for their requirements and not just something that is popular or looks good on paper. And if you are buying a CMS system, ditch the feature comparison spreadsheet because it’s a trap. You need to be mindful of the complete solution and the team you engage to deliver it.