In 2001 we published our first, and seminal article How to evaluate a CMS. This shot to the top of the charts, and it remains one of our most popular articles to this day.
Since that time, we’ve used our vendor-neutral role to help hundreds of organisations select a web content management system. Our clients have ranged from multinationals and major banks, down to a 40 person wholesaler of construction equipment. We’ve also worked with universities, non profits, and government bodies at all levels and of all sizes.
Why this burst of nostalgia?
Early on, we created our CM Building Blocks cards (shown above), which outline all the core elements and features of a CMS. We use these in our unique two-day requirements workshop, by the end of which there’s a 95% complete RFP. Version 1.2 of the cards was created in 2006 (nine years ago!), and we’ve finally had a chance this week to create version 2.0.
So it seems like an ideal time to look back on the last 10-15 years of the web CMS market.
- Products have come and gone, although the greatest uncertainty has been at the big end of town, not the smaller solutions.
- Ambitions have grown, with sites being treated more strategically, delivering greater functionality and with more integration with other systems.
- Modern web practices have made it dramatically easier to deliver great sites with rich functionality.
- Mobility is transforming how websites are delivered, although we’re all still at the start of this journey.
- Intranets are no longer “internal websites”, with collaboration and business process functionality shifting organisations towards dedicated intranet solutions, rather than general-purpose web CMS offerings.
What’s stayed the same:
- The marketplace is still complex, with many dozen products at every price point, and a huge variability in offerings and approaches.
- The fundamentals of a good CMS haven’t changed, with a great authoring experience and highly usable product still key.
- Smaller and simpler products are still often a better fit than all-encompassing suites (that often promise more than they deliver).
- Determining clear requirements is still crucial, unpicking what the true needs are, and looking beyond catch phrases such as “integration” or “marketing automation”.
Now that life returns to a new normal after the global financial crisis, we find ourselves back in the thick of product selection.
As we speak, we’re working with a law firm, a NZ media company, a high-profile non-profit, and three different state government bodies. We’re helping these organisations select new technology platforms for their websites or intranets (or both!).
Drop us a line if you’d like some advice on your next web CMS or intranet platform.