4 Realistic Expectations for Enterprise-level CMS Implementations


Topics: Content Management Systems (CMS)

Content is king as long as there’s a robust content management system (CMS) capable of orchestrating the distribution. If your CMS is limited, your content won’t reach your audience as fast—no matter how powerful your message. And although purchasing an enterprise-level CMS is an expensive investment, it can pay off, and then some.

But how do you get started? And what do you need to know to make the right decision for your business? It can feel like a daunting task, and that’s why we’ve laid it out for you.

First, start by setting the expectations of what goals the CMS platform can—and can’t—help your organization achieve. Having an understanding of what is expected gives you a clear way  to meeting specific objectives. You’ll then want to take a look at who will be affected by the new CMS platform and how to help ease the adoption process—because if no one is using the CMS platform it doesn’t matter how great it is.

Once you know the what and who, do a breakdown of which CMS platforms provide the features and functionalities that make sense with your business model and which objectives are most useful to the applicants. At this point, when all else has been vetted, your selection should be narrowed to the top choices that make the most financial and operational sense for your business.

Let’s take a closer look at what all this means:

1. What to expect when you open the box.

If you’re about to take the plunge into the CMS-purchasing world, you’ll need a road map. Luckily for you, we’ve got one.

So what can a CMS system actually do to help your organization achieve better results? Well, to start, the first way to improve efficiency is with your authors. Give them the ability to publish and update content, creating a faster, easier process for the whole team. This becomes especially useful if you have a content-heavy site like Stanford School of Medicine—this kind of organization could never function if all the content had to pass through an IT filter for coding and implementation. By increasing authoring ownership, your organization can post relevant content faster, while decreasing the burden on the IT department. Staying relevant in the eyes of consumers is paramount in today’s content-driven world—and with a CMS platform that streamlines the process, your organization can rule it.

Most CMSes will need some customization to meet your specific business needs. The features that come standard might not be exactly what you’re looking for, so don’t expect to open the box and be ready to go. The implementation process can also be lengthy and costly—keep that in mind when making your decision.

2. Moving on is hard easy to do.

Change is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to migrating your content to a new CMS platform, simplify the task and ease the transitional process by identifying who will be directly affected the most by the change. From there, you can set training sessions and tutorials to speed up the learning process. There will always be growing pains, but foreseeing possible obstacles and addressing them ahead of time leads to a higher rate of adoption.

3. Don’t force feed it to them.

We’ve all been there—our company introduces a mandatory system we all have to use, whether we like it or not. Selecting a CMS shouldn’t be like that. When deciding which system to implement, see which features and functionalities the users want, need, and hope for. Knowing their needs makes the adoption process faster, which ultimately drives higher revenue results across your organization. Some of the features we’ve seen to be most helpful include:


What does scalability mean, and why should you care? Let’s say you’re running a retail store like Nordstrom.com, for example, and it’s Christmas season. It’s likely that your level of content production will increase—from special offers to last-minute sales—and your CMS platform needs to be capable of handling the added volume. To know if this is important for your company, the first thing to consider is (you guessed it) your content needs: Do you have seasonal spikes? Are you generating or updating content on a daily basis?

In terms of scalability, it’s also good to forecast into the future. You might not need high-content bandwidth today, but take a look at your business objectives over the next five years to assess if it’s a viable option.

Ease of integration

Your new CMS should integrate easily with your existing systems such as CRM, email and more. If your CMS is not compatible, it can lead to fragmented data and ultimately a segmented view of the customer journey. Ideally, you’ll want the CMS platform to be part of a suite of offerings that work together as part of an ecosystem where all the pieces are ready-made to integrate. Even if you don’t immediately need all the solutions, in the long run it is strategically advantageous to have them available as your business needs evolve.

Customization capabilities

Every CMS platform will have certain features that it comes with, but they might not all be specific to your needs. The ability to customize features and functionalities to how your organization works makes it easier on users and reduces workflow and process changes.

Intuitive interface

Select a CMS with an intuitive interface that makes it easy for new users to adjust to. The sooner they’re familiar with things, the more productive they’ll be. Not to mention that the less training users need on the new CMS, the better for your organization.

Implementation requirements

Implementation doesn’t just happen—it takes time, money, and expertise. To stay within your timeframe and avoid incurring additional costs, have a knowledgeable team in place to help with the CMS implementation.

4. High-level decisions start at the bottom.

When it comes to making company-wide decisions, it’s all about setting goals, goals, goals. And goal-setting starts with strategy. Outlining what the CMS platform will be used for, and to what extent, can help you better understand the overall needs of your organization. It also ensures that your goals are aligned with your organization’s financial budget and operational systems. A CMS option might seem great in every other respect, but if it’s over budget, takes too long to implement, or doesn’t integrate properly with other systems, it may not be a great fit after all.

Although some strategies look great amongst the C-suite, if it doesn’t make sense to the actual users of the CMS platform, it won’t be used. So don’t be shy—ask the various departments across your organization what their needs are, and then take that information back to the drawing board to develop your strategy for the best CMS fit.

This may be easier said than done. One way to stay on track with the goals and expectations is to communicate the strategic implementation to everyone involved—from the decision-makers to the applicants. One way to do this is by establishing a dedicated leader who is capable of both communicating the objectives and directing the implementation through every stage of development.

Why Axis41?

Because we’re experts in CMS implementations—and that’s what you need. We’ll help you choose what works best for your business now and in the future by strategically analyzing and customizing the CMS platform (whether it is Sitecore, WordPress, Clickability, or Adobe Experience Manager) to your specific business objectives. Our team of certified experts has assisted in countless successful enterprise CMS implementations, building customized strategies to meet our clients’ specific needs. To learn more about how a CMS implementation can transform your enterprise content management, contact our expert teams today.