The Custom CMS as a Centralized Business Hub

By Pete Czech

The Custom CMS as a Centralized Business HubNew Possibilities Group

Today, a content management system is no longer just a portal to manage content. Increasingly, businesses are seeking one-screen solutions for employees, managers, and executives to execute their daily tasks.

Sure, this sounds like an easy thing to accomplish. Almost every service or product marketers, content creators, and executives use are extendable via APIs and the like. Therefore, one would think making everything work together would be simple.

In reality, the challenge is bigger and more difficult to overcome. Having one system that brings together so many different roles and tasks is a tall, complex order. So complex, in fact, that no one system exists that can manage to do it perfectly.

Take, for example, a news or content-driven website. Content creators need tools to create, store, organize, and distribute content. Marketers at the same company need tools to gain traffic and traction via content distribution and analysis. Executives want to see how their content performs with complex metrics and comparative analysis. Now throw in some other roles for consultants, such as search engine optimization specialists or automated marketing teams.

See what I mean? Having a single screen-solution that all of these various employees can utilize is a daunting task.

Digging into just one specific job role shows the complexity of managing a digital enterprise. Marketers now utilize an array of tools to perform their duties. They may work with analytics packages such as Google Analytics, or one of hundreds of other platforms available. They will also work with tools like Google Webmaster tools for SEO, and HubSpot or Marketo for marketing automation. They’ll maybe even work to constantly streamline the delivery of proper tags via tag management software. And of course, there are other mechanisms they may use for their partnerships with other organizations.

So much of this one job role requires a custom, flexible approach to technology.

But imagine if the marketing team could easily compare their metrics against those utilized by, say, the sales team. How powerful would a combined reporting suite that marries data from marketing and e-commerce, for example, or in our hypothetical above, compares video performance from organic users to those who visited from a social media campaign? The possibilities are endless!

This is the precise reason why we are entering a comeback period for the custom content management system. Bespoke CMS platforms are a logical platform for the integration of the tools enterprises utilize on a daily basis.

The ability to build your management solution in a way that is customized for your organization can empower you to enter a new world of streamlined, organized business management.

If you’ve been reading our blog, you’ll have some background into our philosophy regarding the future of content management. Our biggest concern is that the CMS industry assumes that all content management is solely for delivery of web-specific content. This just isn’t true—content is merely one commodity that you create, manage, and distribute. The Web is but one channel of distribution. But when you think about the CMS outside of these limiting terms, you can see that it really is the most logical place to tie together the tools that are important to your business.

Therefore, it is our belief that the future hub of activities for most digital-focused organizations will be the platform that powers content creation and distribution.

Of course, I always make the statement that this isn’t going to be the case for every website, every time. If you are a blogger, mom-and-pop shop, or other small business, this probably isn’t the post for you. But for digital content producers, complex e-commerce scenarios, subscription websites, or SaaS providers? Think about how your life and your business would change if you had a single piece of software powering all your workflows.

Roadblocks Would Be Removed

We see many clients during the discovery process that have a wish list of items that have, in the past, been seemingly impossible to perform. However, with just a small amount of custom architecture, it is usually possible to find a solution that solves their problems quickly.

Roadblocks are common when you try to use off-the-shelf software in ways it wasn’t originally intended to be used. Web development as an industry is taking on a large amount of animosity from clients who have been tricked into thinking that there is a SaaS application or off-the-shelf software that can do everything right out of the box.

This simply isn’t the case. No one size fits all, and the businesses that learn this lesson often learn it the hard way.

The strongest case for custom software is the ability to tie processes together into a cohesive unit. For most businesses, that only works with a bit of ingenuity—and some good custom software.

More Insights Would Be Gained

There are so many platforms for analytics available today. It can make your head spin. The problem with the available products, however, is how difficult it is to manage them together in order to gain any actual insight that is above and beyond the standard offering.

In our example above, wouldn’t it be nice for a video content creator to combine analytics with traffic sources and then with revenue reports to see what does well, when, and for whom? YES!

And yet that level of insight is difficult to gain if you are pulling data manually and manipulating it locally. Custom software fixes this problem by allowing you to utilize the many available API connections, and by storing the data for local analysis. In doing this, you are creating a sandbox in which you can easily compare, analyze, and act upon the metrics that actually matter to you.

We live in Moneyball times. Gaining a statistical advantage is important for many organizations, and oftentimes, the simplest level of data gathering and comparison can result in a substantial upside.

World Peace Would Be Achieved

Okay, this isn’t true. I was just checking to see if you were paying attention.

But in all seriousness, a single-screen system would grant you at least some peace of mind in the operations of your business.

Think about the internal conflicts or miscommunications you’ve had to endure because not everyone in your organization was on the same page. This problem of access to information and data can be easily remedied by the centralized portal that runs your business—also known as the CMS!

That is the mindset you should be in when determining what platform will power your business for the next 5 or more years. What platform will unite the entire enterprise, streamline the  understanding of data, and build a consensus with the entire team about how the business is functioning?

Why This Matters Now

As we mentioned above and in many other posts over the past couple of years, the CMS industry is at fault for confusing customers about what a CMS should really do.

If content is your commodity, the future direction of the CMS should be of grave concern. The industry is operating on a model of technical architecture that is 15 years out of date. The future is a content-first methodology with distribution as a separated process. And the future allows you to use a single platform as the unifying piece of software that powers your entire business.

For more information on our philosophy, be sure to read our manifesto. And download our free ebook, The CMS of the Future.

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