The New CMS Business Case
May 26th | 2009 By
As with any large enterprise software project, ROI is the driver for justifying a costly investment for an organization. Traditionally, the focus of the Business Case for a CMS has centered around the efficiencies and cost savings that can be generating by removing IT from the site maintenance role, enabling marketing & business users to update content, automating the site publishing process, and other operational efficiencies.
In the late 1990’s, the content management software market was spawned from the .COM boom. At this time, CMS software sales were directed through the typical IT sales channel (ie. IT Managers, CIOs, etc), where enterprise software was historically sold. As a result, early generation products were targeted more towards an IT/development audience and less for the Interactive Marketer. Unfortunately organizational adoption was slow, marketing was stuck with ‘user-unfriendly’ software that they despised, they were using obnoxiously complicated workflows, and at the end of the day were ultimately still dependent on IT. ROI was hard to find, if at all measurable. In the end, the CMS became a glorified source-control system for IT, and created a generation of unhappy marketing users – this is surprisingly still the case for many organizations.
Now, fast-forward to the mid-2000s…enter measurable online advertising, SEO/SEM, sophisticated web analytics packages, user generated content, social networks, multi-variate testing etc…interactive marketing started to be defined and take shape. The day of the brochure site with one-way/push content management was over, now real results and user interest could be explained and measured by marketing organizations. Interactive marketing was finally generating revenues, as well as bigger budgets. With the expectations associated with these new features, CMS vendors had to reinvent themselves from the sales organization up – IT was no longer in control of the purse-strings, marketing was. Vendors scrambled to include new features & tools, better usability, all things that the marketing organization needed to support the needs of their customers and make their jobs easier.
Finally after 15 years, the Business Case for the CMS investment is real, and not some mythological concept. Not only are operational efficiencies possible (and very likely for most organizations), but most importantly, the CMS can be a driver for online revenue for the organization. This can be accomplished through a more dynamic and personalized user experience, quality/optimized content, more timely & relevant content for customers, and enabling customers to actively participate in the online conversation through Web 2.0 and community functionality. Not only does create a positive and productive online experience for customers, but also fosters a collaborative, two way communication that when done right should generate revenue, brand loyalty and user satisfaction – the foundation of the New CMS Business Case.