You have found the CMS to answer all your dreams and perhaps a lot more – now what? The quest for CMS nirvana is over and you are ready to start moving forward and onto the interesting challenges ahead.
Probably not – you still have to sell the CMS to your Management! Your management is likely less interested in the great architecture/features and more interested in the costs to the business of buying or even not buying the CMS.
Coming from the business side, this blog touches on the topics I would like technical teams to consider in their research. When presenting the CMS evaluations and recommendations to management the technical team should step into the Dark Side – they need to prepare and think like a manager.
Does the CMS meet the High level feature requirement(s)?
Evaluate against the written criteria and try to present the findings in an unbiased manner. Compromises may have to be made or perhaps the requirements were unrealistic. Either way – this is only one of the factors management is looking at so do not despair.
- What features are critical?
- What features are nice to have?
- Don’t buy functionality you don’t need. It is easy to get distracted
- Consider current and future needs?
What is the Total Cost of Ownership?
This is usually an area technical people do not want to venture into but please persevere. You are often best positioned to calculate the costs: server sizing, whether technology is a fit for the organization, third party costs,..
Budget is always a factor in selection of products/solutions. You must go further and look at all costs, ie Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), because there are many hidden and less obvious costs with any CMS. Be prepared to consider all the costs and what is your basis for those costs – not just the obvious purchase price, but the setup/environment, etc… Even Open Source has a cost – ie. if this is a business critical system how is it supported
- Annual license cost
- License model (cpu/user) and cost of add-on components
- Additional license costs as you scale
- Cost of initial setup, maintenance, upgrades
- Services cost for customizations (internal and external)
- Third party costs
- Setup and Infrastructure. The costs can be significant and can have a financial/time/resource impact. On premise, hosted, Cloud, SaaS (Software as a Service),..
Think like your manager?
If you get in the same mindset as management you can prepare and present accordingly:
- Return On Investment (ROI): A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments.
- Time to Value (TTV): is a business term that describes the period of time between a request for a specific value and the initial delivery of the value requested. This is interesting as often the value is not monetary. A CMS can be critical decision for business growth and expansion.
- Risks and Risk Mitigation: need to identify risks and have a risk mitigation plan
- Not ‘Bleeding Edge’: rarely does a company want to be the first with a new release or product.
- Core business: Rarely do you find a manager that is as excited as you with technology – they just need to know it works. I have had customers who have stated to me that if they have to get involved with the CMS then it is failing for them ie they are getting distracted from their core business
- Managers are human too: Demo and trail will short cut a long discussion
What will be your involvement? (or what type of customer are you?)
Consider how you want to work with the CMS. Do you have available resources and budget to configure and maintain the CMS and 3rd party systems. These are key questions for management: management want to concentrate resource on their business and do not want time and resources to be distracted. A SaaS type model can be very appealing to a business in that it allows resources to concentrate on their business.
- A SaaS (Software as a Service) type model or Fully managed service? SaaS CMS services can convert expensive capital outlay for servers and network equipment into a monthly operating expense, while also reducing the IT resources required to manage enterprise records. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enterprise_content_management
- Want an Out of the Box product with minimal maintenance/support needed?
- Is there an internal IT team and who are expected to own all aspects of the CMS going forward?
(Table inspired from “SaaS vs. In-House DAM – Which is Right For You” http://www.cmswire.com/cms/digital-asset-management/saas-vs-inhouse-dam-which-is-right-for-you-024761.php)
Is there Support/Help available?
You need to be sure that if you need help there is help available when you need it. If you are using the CMS for your company or for your customers you will need commercial support.
- What commercial support is available?
- Self help information
- FAQ’s, search
- Is there a community
Is CMS information difficult to find?
The easier it is to find clear information the better. Also, it is difficult not to be suspicious when a vendor is not open – what are they trying to hide? Note: your manager is likely to perform their own research to some level so this must not be too challenging an experience.
- Is there clear Product Pricing information publically available?
- If Open Source (what is in the ‘free’ version and what is in the Commercial version)
- Can you get a free Trial of the full product?
Is the CMS company a company you want to work with? - Integrity and References
Do some basics: email and talk to the vendor for information and support? When choosing a product/company consider it more as a win-win partnership. If you cannot see this partnership stop and reconsider!
- Initial communication and type of communication. Including does the vendor have and aggressive inside sales team that calls you when you watch their video or download an article. The product should standup by itself.
- Case studies and references
- Trust? Do you like this company and do you feel you can rely on them to be with you after the initial deal
Choosing a CMS is difficult and can be an expensive mistake which will not go away. Do your research and provide as full a picture of the CMS as possible to your management such that there are no surprises after purchase. Some CMSs are very costly and as such present a substantial investment and risk to the business. Whatever you can do to reduce the risks will make the discussion with your management easier. In particular: ability to try out the CMS; a SaaS model will allow for easier adoption and if necessary easy exit; and choose a vendor you feel confident with.