Pop-up Webinar: Is Your CMS Outdated? - Transcript

Join our CEO, Pete, as he discusses signs that your CMS may be outdated. (transcript)

Skip navigation and go to main content

New Possibilities Group, LLC

1033 Route 46 East, Suite 107
Clifton, NJ 07013
(855) 674-7687

Pop-up Webinar: Is your CMS Outdated?

Watch webinar

Okay. Thank you, everybody, for joining us. It's Tuesday morning, 11:00. Up here in the northeast, we're preparing for another storm that's gonna come to get us, but I have been told by a reliable source that spring is starting today, I think at 12:30 or something like that.
So again, thank you for joining us. Today's topic, I'm gonna be very quick. I'm gonna be less than 20 minutes, and we're gonna be talking about, is your CMS outdated, and what are some signs that you can tell? Almost every prospective customer that we talk to today, potential new client, they most likely already have a CMS installation. At this point, they might have had it for three or four, maybe six-seven years, and they're wondering, "Is it outdated? Is it something that we can continue to use?"
I like this graphic here, because this sort of is indicate of what an old CMS is like. It's almost like working with a typewriter versus working with a brand-new computer of the modern era. That's how much technology changes over just the course of a couple of years.
So, digging into it, if you leave me in the next 30 seconds, I just want you to take away ... If you think your CMS is outdated, you're probably right. There's gonna be a variety of reasons why you're gonna think that, and once you have it set in your mind, you're probably not gonna be convinced that you should stick with what you have, but in case you're not convinced, that's the person of today's session here. It's just to talk about some of these reasons why, or signs, rather, that you might be able to tell that your CMS is outdated.
First things, let me just introduce myself again. I'm Peter Czech, CEO of the New Possibilities Group, founder of the company back in 2001. My personal background is custom web development, user experience, user interface, design and implementation, and if you need to contact me, that's my email right there.
What do we do? Basically, we're experts in the architecture and developments of custom CMS systems. This includes building CMSes from the ground up, and also utilize of new technologies such as Headless and Decoupled platforms and architecture. What we specialize in is using custom web development tactics and custom UI/UX design to create CMS platforms that power cutting-edge applications and user experiences. Web, mobile, and across other devices as well.
Digging right into the topic at hand: Is your CMS outdated? When you're looking at old technology, sometimes you might become attached to it. Might be really special in your heart, but is it really what you should be using anymore? Let's talk about some of the signs and we'll see if any of these apply to you.
The first thing, I think that makes a lot of sense, is a lot of the people that come and talk to me, they're not necessarily the people that actually use the system. I talk to a lot of CMOs, CTOs, people such as that, and they talk at a very high level about these CMS systems, but a lot of times they're not actually the ones that are using it on a day-to-day basis. So one of the signs that you should do is ... or one of the ways to find some of these signs is to go out and talk to the people actually using the system, and that's your administrators. Ask the people who use it the most. Find out their impressions on the system. Some of the things you can ask, I made a little list for you. "What do you use the system for? What's your day-to-day look like using this system? What are some of the tasks assigned to you, and how do you perform them?" 
In asking those questions, try to get a sense of, "How can it be made better?" A lot of these workflows might have been made and given to these people based off of what the system can do, not necessarily how they can most effectively be performed. So how can they be made better? Ask them that. Your business always changes, especially from a digital perspective. Even if you're just renting a local small business that's not even 100% digitally-based, your business is gonna change your online objectives. Over the past couple years that you've had that CMS, has the evolution of the business changed the way the system works? And has the system been able to keep up? From a performance perspective, are your tasks easy to achieve? Is the system maintaining the speed and reliability? Questions such as that, and ask them historically, as technology has changed, has the CMS been able to keep up with it?
It seems like every week there's new things that you wanna try. A lot of systems that are out there, kinda limiting in your ability to try new technologies, so are you able to stay ahead of the curve? All these questions should give you a little bit of insight into whether or not your system's outdated, or will it be able to handle growth for the future?
An important thing: Make sure you get a demo. Don't just ask these questions. Don't just pull them into your office and poll them in terms of these questions, but also get a demo. Have a chance to look and see how they're doing it, because you coming in as a person who's not doing it day-to-day, might see how painful it is for the administrators that use the system, and they might just frankly be afraid to tell you. It'll be a lot easier if you just stand over their shoulder. I'm sure that'll make them nervous, but it'll be a very worthwhile exercise.
The next sign that you might be outdated is just based on having problems planning. You know, planning for the future. As I said, companies are constantly evolving and your digital presence is continuously evolving as well, so the platform that you have today, does it actually allow you to improve iteratively? That's something that's very important to consider. One exercise I would recommend is, make a list of 10 things you want to achieve over the next three years, even though if they seem like kind of crazy goals and maybe the expense is something that you aren't budgeted for, but just make a list of those things and think about, if cost wasn't an issue, if getting it done and timing and resources wasn't an issue, would your platform actually enable you to do it? And if the answer is "no," that's definitely a sign that it might be time to move on.
Another sign that we see very often is, are you requiring technical assistance from developers or other technical people at every turn? I like to think about this in that, dev help for content administration is a very bad thing. You should be able to do almost everything yourself, and what development you do have, you should be focusing on iterative improvements to the platform, or to the user experience. If you're relying on the developer to go and just change content, then probably your system is getting a little bit aged and it might be time to move on.
Another thing to look at is, when you're sending work to the developers, are the tasks taking longer and longer to turn around? Because this is a pretty good indicator that you might have technical debt that's accumulated. We have a lot of content out there about technical debt, a lot of posts and I think I had another webinar where I talked about it in detail, but technical debt is when hack over hack over hack starts to just slow down the entire platform. It's kind of like debt on your credit card. You can buy stuff and you're not paying it off, it's gonna start to get to be a situation that's tenuous at best. If you're seeing that your developers are charging you more and more for changes, it's probably because they're having to deal with all those layers of tech debt that were accrued over the past couple of years. Your goal with any CMS should be 95% of the tasks should be achievable without going for technical help, and if you're not at that level, that's a really good indicator that it's time to move on.
Again, like I said before, your technical help should be dedicated to iterative improvements. A good example is, just in the past couple of days, we changed to this new webinar system, and I wanna seamlessly integrate it into our platform, so I want my developers to go and build the API connectivity so the next time you sign up, you'll be able to go to our site, onto our native page, and just sign up from there. That is a development task. Obviously anything to do with an API, that's a great use of developer time. Changing a graphic, changing a page, that should not be something that you need development help for.
Moving onwards. Has your system scaled? A good question is, have you outgrown the capabilities of it? This would be an indicator that you would spot relatively easily, because you would just be frustrated, not being able to do the things that you wanna do, and it kind of ties back into my previous point about development help. Have you outgrown the capabilities of the system? Has the system kept up with what you guys are trying to do? And not just keep up in terms of the tech and the ability of new technology as I mentioned, but has it kept up with the amount of data that you have? We see a lot of people, publishers that are building complex sites and they have this valuable asset of content, but as they build the content, it bogs down the system. A lot of publishers who start small with a WordPress or something off the shelf, they start to realize as their library of content grows ... Again, they probably spent millions of dollars assembling content. As it grows, the CMS can't handle it anymore. 
So, has the system scaled and kept up with you? Have your workflows or your business logic changed, and has the system been able to keep up with that? Sort of indicated that before. And then, going into the future, if you're starting to have slowdowns now and problems with content management now, what's gonna happen on that list of 10 things you wanna do over three years? Something to think about.
This next point, number five. I love this and I'm gonna do a whole nother blog and webinar on this problem. Basically, the inflexibility of content management systems has led to this overuse of loose integrations, and amazingly, I see this with the largest organizations that are paying the most for their content management, and it drives me a little bit crazy. People that are using AEM, and we were working with a nonprofit last year that had a seven-figure implementation of AEM, yet every little thing they wanted to do, they were looking for a third-party tool to integrate, and a great way to look at it is with this model that we created, where the CMS is powering their content management for their website, but then all these third-part integrations are happening, as opposed to having a CMS at the center. So maybe they have a website and they wanna accept donations. They're gonna find a third party and they're gonna link to it somehow. 
Perhaps they wanna have some micro-sites. It's not gonna powered off of their CMS. It's gonna be powered off of some other system, and I see this with enterprise a lot. Finally they wanna start blogging, 10 years later, and how can they do it easily? Well, they go and they acquire blogging software and they run it on a subdomain. Ideally, the best user experience is when all this is integrated into one place, so if you have a customer portal ... and you know, the ones that drive me the most crazy are like, the utility companies and the banks, especially the smaller banks. They do a horrible job implementing these portals for customer service, and I think my utility company here, they have this third-party ASP installation, and you can log in from the home page, and every time you put up proper credentials on the home page, it doesn't even carry over and log in the right way, and then you have to do it again. It's a disaster, and this is what I call loose integrations. It's just easier for enterprises to do this, as opposed to doing it the right way. I'm hoping the future of these new CMS systems and maybe people changing perspective will lead to less of this.
The flip side of this is, this is how it should. It should be, a content management system is at the center of everything, and everything else are just channels of distribution. Your website, your mobile, your blog, customer portal, this should all emanate from one place. Again, if you're looking at this and you see that your current ecosystem looks like this: a bunch of patchwork solutions put together with inconsistent user experience, this is where you need to go, to this new model, and that would be a great indicator, a sign that maybe it's time to move on to what could be a stable foundation to get you to this point.
A couple of points on that. I find that those loose integrations that overcomplicated everything, they lower credibility because the user experience is so disjointed. You're paying license fees to 20 different places. It's just not the most elegant way to go about a digital presence. 
One thing to beware is when you talk to those vendors of all those organizations, they're like, "Oh, you can embed with an iframe, or make it a subdomain. It's seamless." It's never perfectly seamless. It's never gonna look perfect, and again, like I said, it's not an elegant way to go about this. So again, if your ecosystem looks like that, the first model, it might be time to consider a new direction that serves as that foundation to do all those things you wanna do.
I'm gonna move a little bit quicker, because I promised you less than 20 minutes and I'm already at 15. Another indicator and another sign ... and this doesn't apply to marketing websites as much, but it definitely applies to publishers. If your CMS isn't multichannel, it's definitely time to retire it. I'm talking specifically here, again, to publishers, video content producers, companies where content creation and delivery is their number-one business model. If you're based on a WordPress or a system like that, that's not multichannel architected, not built out for multiple distributions? It's gonna be time to move on. Most of those CMSes are not built for this capability. 
Most of the ones out there today are architected for one channel, which is the web, and they're haphazardly trying to catch up. They're treating APIs, but the content model and organization is still built for just the web, and that's something to keep in mind. So if in the future you wanna distribute your content to additional channels, if you wanna power mobile apps, if you wanna distribute to devices like a Roku or an Apple TV, you're gonna have a very hard time doing that with WordPress or Drupal, and also, scaling that's gonna be a whole nother disaster, so at some point ... I'm gonna break the news to you now, you're going to have to migrate off of those solutions. It's not an "if," it's definitely a "when," and you have to plan to migrate to a future-proofed solution. Something to consider.
Our final point. This is kind of a no-brainer. I'm sorry I have to take a minute talking about it, but if your CMS isn't supported, it's time to move on. A lot of systems that are out there, if they're proprietary and commercial and you've licensed them, if they're not supported and you have nobody to turn to for help, it's time to retire that and move to something new. The biggest risk here, from a security perspective, is if there's vulnerabilities that are uncovered, there's nobody to patch it, so I would definitely move on from there. The one thing I would say that isn't a certainty is, if it was custom-built in the past, you might be able to go and build on top of that. 
"Not supported," the definition of that is not, you've custom-built and you don't like your vendor anymore. That's not the definition. There's a lot of vendors that can help you. I'm really talking about, again, licensed, whether they be open-sourced or commercial, where the provider for the project is no longer supporting it. So again, you're at risk from a security perspective, and you have no future. There's nothing you can build on top of it, so it's definitely time to move on.
And finally, I could just have a suggestion. Now that you've seen these signs, and I'm sure there's 20 signs more that your system's outdated, one of the things I recommend that you do before you look at the new solutions is, do a situation analysis, and look for those signs. Really dig in and analyze if they apply to you. The process of procuring, implementing, migrating content, it's arduous. It's difficult. It's expensive. It takes a while, so you have to be prepared for it, and I would say, make sure you call in experts to help analyze what your situation is, and recommend the best pathway forward. Every customer that we talk to is, they have a current situation. They have a desired future state. The job of the agency or the partner is to recommend the best way to get to that future state.
One last thing to impress upon you: Don't just blanketly assume that what's most popular out there is right for you. That's a very dangerous thing to do. Everyone just assumes, "Well, WordPress is the number-one thing out there so the lowest risk for me is to use it." There's no saying for sure. You really have to look at this as, you need a custom diagnosis for you to come up with the right solution moving forward. It could be Drupal. It could be AEM. It could be some of these new players out there. It could be Headless. It could be a custom build. You really need to find expert advice, someone that'll come and diagnose what'll work right for you, and then take you to that desired future state.
That wraps up what I have today. My next webinar's gonna be next week. We're gonna be talking about, is the building of a custom CMS crazy? A lot of people say that it is. I disagree, so we're gonna talk about how it's not as crazy as it sounds. That's gonna be next week at 2:00 pm, and that one's gonna be probably less than an hour. It's gonna be a little bit longer than our pop-ups that we do. If you are looking for other information, always look at our blog, our videos, e-books, and of course we have a ton of webinars. I think I have 12 of them now, or some crazy number, including two more that are coming. Not just the custom CMS, but also one about CMOs and the CMS, which'll be very interesting. So again, thank you for joining us, and we will talk to you soon. Take care.

Get Started With Your Project.

Please select and fill out all options below

What do you need help with?

Website Design / Development

Custom Mobile or Web Application Development

Website Maintenance / Monitoring

Accessibility Services