Article

Sean Hargrave
Sean Hargrave 7 September 2017

Is it time to upgrade your CMS?

You probably won’t be thinking too hard about improving a CMS until it slows down, proves glitchy or refuses to scale up with your business.

When a content management system is working well, it is a little like a referee at a football game, it goes unnoticed. Staff and partners can be productive without having to think too hard about how content is created, organised, stored, published and distributed. It just works.

The trouble is, a CMS is also a little like a car. It will start ageing from the moment you drive it off the forecourt and, without upgrading to a better model at some stage, it could soon show signs of decline.

Hence, one of the first prompts for an organisation to consider upgrading to a better performer is a tendency for the CMS to run slowly or even suffer intermittent breakdowns. When this happens, the simple question is whether it is more cost-effective to carry on being less productive, or upgrade, or replace a CMS. Typically, the longer the decision is put off, the greater the impact on productivity.

Ditch the glitch

There may also be bugs and technical glitches that mean a CMS does not operate as efficiently as it should, perhaps with reduced functionality. Like any IT platform, a CMS should be constantly being debugged and refined by its developers.

However, that is not always the case, particularly if the platform offers plug-ins, which, as they are added, may cause escalating interoperability problems. If an organisation is finding little quirks with its CMS that are not being corrected by its creator, this is a clear indication it is time to move on to a system that is more proactively monitored, maintained and debugged.

Scale and security

Often the problem is that a company will begin with a system that is fine for its initial purposes. However, as its requirements grow and it needs to produce more content and distribute it faster, it hits a snag. Its current system may simply not be built to scale up at the same speed it requires.

As a company widens its net of contributors and partners, it may find that its existing CMS is left way behind. A common hurdle here is that the current CMS does not offer the right array of permission levels so staff and partners can be given access to create and edit the files they need and not the entire library.

Often, widening the reach of the CMS can underline complications and work-arounds that skilled staff have become used to but newcomers find hard to iron out.

Security is another common reason to upgrade a CMS. The gateway through which content is shared and distributed across a business’s IT infrastructure is an obvious target for hackers and malware distributors. The problem is, it is an underlying threat and so will never seem as obvious to a business as frequent crashes or the CMS running slowly.

Hence, all too often, the vulnerability is not exposed until it is too late and some may find out they were susceptible to attack when it has already happened. It could be mischievous hackers placing embarrassing content on pages or, even worse, compromising valuable internal data that could lead to legal problems.

It may be one of these factors that prompts a rethink or several. For any company finding its CMS is not performing as well as it hoped, either through not being able to scale up or simply proving too “glitchy”, the right course of action will always be to consider upgrading before productivity dips dangerously low.

Download our CMS Vendor Selection Pack for more information about how to select the best web CMS for your business.

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