Cloud Connected



"I have been searching for a product like Cloud CMS for over 10 years.

After false starts with some typical content management solutions, we were finally able to design the content repository that our business required."
James Baddiley
James Baddiley, CEO
ChilliSauce

Selling a CMS to your Boss?

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.

  1. What features are critical?
  2. What features are nice to have?
  3. Don’t buy functionality you don’t need. It is easy to get distracted
  4. Consider current and future needs?
    • Features
    • Scalability

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

  1. Annual license cost
  2. License model (cpu/user) and cost of add-on components
  3. Additional license costs as you scale
  4. Cost of initial setup, maintenance, upgrades
  5. Services cost for customizations (internal and external)
  6. Training
  7. Third party costs
  8. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Risks and Risk Mitigation: need to identify risks and have a risk mitigation plan
  4. Not ‘Bleeding Edge’: rarely does a company want to be the first with a new release or product.
  5. 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
  6. 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.

  1. 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
  2. Want an Out of the Box product with minimal maintenance/support needed?
  3. 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.

  1. What commercial support is available?
  2. Self help information
  3. FAQ’s, search
  4. 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.

  1. Is there clear Product Pricing information publically available?
  2. If Open Source (what is in the ‘free’ version and what is in the Commercial version)
  3. 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!

  1. 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.
  2. Case studies and references
  3. Trust? Do you like this company and do you feel you can rely on them to be with you after the initial deal

Final Comment:

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.

Content as a Service

In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting a series of blogs that talk about the merits of Content as a Service and what it means in terms of driving a Content First approach to mobile and web application design at Cloud CMS. We’ll dive into how it enables our customers to get serious about the value of content within their business. We’ll also touch on industry trends and where we think it’s all heading.

Cloud Content Platform

Imagine all of your mobile and web applications connected to a fast and secure content backend that provides real-time publishing and instant insight into how your customers use your applications.

Imagine not having to build that. Instead, you’d sign up for it as a service in the same way that you’d sign up for SalesForce, GitHub or ZenDesk. It’s cost effective and it scales really nicely across all of your apps.

It’s content as a service. It provides a backend with all of the tools and applications needed so that your business users can create, manage and publish content to your mobile and web apps. It lets you get serious about your content, modeling it once so that you can create things once and publish them everywhere.

In the end, this makes it possible for a business of any size to manage 2, 3 or 100 sites worth of content… all from one place.

Today this is reality.

That’s what we’re up to at Cloud CMS.

At Cloud CMS, our goal is to provide all of the backend hard stuff that enterprise content management software has been doing for years… but at only 5% of the cost.

To us, that’s content as a service. It’s taking CMS – everything from web content management to document management, from records management to content analytics – and packaging it up behind a cloud service so that small businesses can use it to bring value to their customers.

We’re innovating in the cloud to do things that were never possible before. In doing so, we let small businesses get their hands on amazing tools to create content once and publish it across all of their applications.

Why the Cloud?

We’ve been at the cloud for a few years and so we know about the value it delivers. At its core, the cloud is a mechanism for reducing costs and giving your business better repeatability and reliability for its business infrastructure and processes.

You can think of this like a utility. Kind of like the electricity that flows into your home. You don’t really have to worry about how it works behind the scenes. The utility company might completely rearrange how they manufacture or distribute energy. As long as it works when you plug your lamp into the wall, it’s fairly transparent to you.

Software that is designed for the cloud is less expensive. It is elastic in nature which means that it can run on a single server sometimes and more servers at other times depending on your traffic needs. You only pay for what you use.

Cloud-based software, when properly implemented, can be priced much lower than traditional enterprise software. That’s why HelpScout, MailChimp, Cloud CMS and many others are able to offer the same features as older enterprise companies but at a fraction of the price.

In addition, software that is well designed for the cloud has the potential to span data centers all around the world. In fact, you can think of it running everywhere, all at once. Your mobile and web applications can simply request content, at any time, from anywhere and the infrastructure responds. 24/7. Anywhere in the world. And in any language.

The conclusion here is a simple one. Don’t spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for enterprise software. You’re being taken advantage of. Instead, go with modern software that was built for the cloud. Not just installed in the cloud. But instead, designed to provide you these advantages. You’ll not only get more features, but you’ll pay much, much less.

More to Come

That’s it for now. In our next blog entry, we’ll dive further into Content First and take a look at the impact to mobile devices and responsive design. We’ll also dive into cloud-connected applications and look at how content as a service is used to deliver amazing experiences that span multiple devices.

If you’d like to check out how all of this works in action, please visit Cloud CMS and sign up for a free trial. We’d love to know what you think.

Create Once, Publish Everywhere!

One of the things that our customers love about Cloud CMS is that it lets them create content once and easily publish it to all of their mobile and web applications. It reduces the amount of work required to create fresh and interesting content and saves them time and money in the process.

Our goal is straightforward. We want to provide all of the things that small business owners need on the backend to give their users a seamless experience in creating, editing and publishing content. With Cloud CMS, you don’t have to build this stuff yourself or integrate it. It’s all there, ready to go from the moment you sign up.

We provide a complete collaborative suite of software including applications, forms, desktop integration and workflow. Business users can create content right away. You can define custom content types, lists and pages. And you can invite team members to work alongside you as content is moved from curation to publication.

Content API

Cloud CMS provides the first pure content API for cloud-connected applications. Our API (REST) is delivered over HTTPS and can easily be integrated into your iOS, Android and HTML5 applications.

We provide quick start projects to help you get on your way. We also provide clients for various platforms including Node.js, Android, Java and JavaScript.

Hosted Applications

Cloud CMS provides an web server tier that lets your business deploy hosted applications for dev, test, QA and production. You can run your application infrastructure this way, on the Cloud CMS hosted tier, or you can host on Heroku, Engine Yard and others. This hosting can consist the entire application or custom APIs specific to your apps.

Instant Preview

One of the truly unique and productive features of Cloud CMS is Instant Preview. With Cloud CMS, you can instantly preview any content changes that you’re working on in real-time, so as to see what those changes might look like if there were live. This lets your business users see changes as they might appear on iOS, Android, the web or a responsive mobile application – the same data formatted in many different ways for different devices.

We’re really excited about how Cloud CMS has grown. Over the past 3+ years, we’ve had a chance to dig in and build what our customers have asked for. We think you’ll find it to be a really exciting platform that is incredibly feature rich, low cost, and well-designed.

To learn more about Cloud CMS or request a trial, please visit our web site at http://www.cloudcms.com.