Who Should Own The CMS Selection Process?
Marketers have assumed greater responsibility for technology in recent years, and increased ownership and influence in the area of content management systems is a case in point. Should IT or marketing be in charge of the CMS selection process?
Our CMS Vendor Selection Pack contains the following information relating to ownership of the CMS selection process which may be helpful if and when you embark on a process to find a new supplier.
CIO or CMO?
Historically, the IT department – and, ultimately, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) – has typically been responsible for the CMS and its role in helping organisations to publish, manage and edit content.
But as the web experience has become more of a fundamental component of the overall customer experience, and an increasingly important tool for marketing communication and lead generation, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and his or her direct reports have become key stakeholders in the CMS selection process.
The CIO and CMO (and their respective teams) should work together to ensure that the CMS meets the requirements of the organisation from both a technical and internal user perspective, as well as providing the best possible experience for website visitors, including both customers and prospects.
This guide is aimed primarily at marketers, notwithstanding the importance of technical considerations such as underlying technology, scalability, integration requirements and – perhaps, most crucially, – security.
If a company has a Chief Marketing Technology Officer in place, it may be that this executive leads this process. Similarly, if a company has a Head of Content, then that person should be instrumental in ensuring that the most suitable CMS is selected by the business.
Some vendors now describe their CMS platforms as “experience management” solutions, as they have become integral to the management of digital interactions throughout the customer lifecycle. With this trend in mind, it makes sense – for organisations who have them – to involve Chief Experience Officers in the decision-making process.
It is also worth adding that, in the case of ecommerce businesses, decisions about content management need to be taken in the context of ecommerce platforms, and vice versa.
Defining your internal requirements
Once you’ve appointed a project leader for the Request for Proposal (RFP) selection process, the next stage is to understand and define your CMS requirements.
There is no point looking at the software available on the market until you have thoroughly understood your own needs. Technology is rarely a panacea, so identify any internal constraints that could prevent you from realising any tangible benefits from better software.
You need to carry out an inventory of the type of content that is being published, as well as gaining a thorough understanding of the range of CMS user profiles (and numbers of users).
First and foremost, talk to the users. Interviews, workshops and surveys can all be used to elicit information about the needs of CMS users as thoroughly as possible. Consider creating some user scenarios or stories that can surface some of the challenges internal users are facing, and also the opportunities that a better web CMS could bring.
These scenarios can also feed into the RFP document later in the vendor selection process. The most important part of this process is to align your CMS needs to the business objectives of your website. Think about where your business is going, so that you can choose the right vendor for your journey, rather than deciding on the basis of needs that might soon become redundant.
Questions you should be asking at this stage include:
- Do you have a small number of users who can be trained to get maximum value from a feature-rich CMS, or do you have an army of users for whom simplicity is the over-riding criterion?
- How do user requirements vary in different geographical regions?
Download our CMS Vendor Selection Pack for more information about how to select the best web CMS for your business.