Blue sign with white lettering that says, "Change Machine" with an arrow underneath the letters pointing to the right.
PHOTO: tracyshaun

Your web content management system (Web CMS) is a critical component of your digital customer experience programs. Forrester analyst Ted Schadler has called the Web CMS the backbone of any digital experience delivery system. Research from CMSWire confirms organizations aren’t always happy with their existing Web CMS platforms (download required). About 38 percent plan to invest in a Web CMS/DX platform in the next 12 months, and 27 percent are evaluating the possibility. Only about 11 percent will stay with their current platform. 

That's a lot of businesses looking for new CMS technology. Which begs the question, how is your organization's content management system holding up? Is it helping you connect with your customers in a meaningful way? Here are 7 signs it might be time for an upgrade.

Your CMS Looks and Feels Out-of-Date

Website trends evolve more rapidly than fashion. Stock imagery, hit-counters and pop-up AI chatbots are out-of-date in the web world, according to Richard Jones, CEO of Wayin

“A CMS must evolve with the rest of the tech world, keeping pace as new technology comes to the fore,” Jones said. “Like dog years, if your website hasn’t had an overhaul for a few years, that’s decades in the tech world. And if your CMS doesn’t have the capacity to evolve, then your website won’t either. So if you can’t easily pop in product videos, hamburger menus, slider images and eye-catching call-to-actions, it’s time to upgrade,” he said.

Related Article: 11 Rules for Selecting the Right Content Management System (CMS)

Your CMS Is Impossible to Use 

A clunky CMS is not just annoying, it’s damaging to your business, according to Jones. “And the consequence of a difficult-to-master CMS often means old content left live, new content not posted and updates not made when they should be,” Jones added. “Projects mothballed merely because it’ll be a logistical nightmare to see through. If you are struggling to edit content or frustrated because you can’t find the options to achieve the results you want, it’s time to make a change.”

Simply put, a real bad sign is if your CMS is stubborn and doesn’t do what you want it to do. “The traditional CMS supports marketers with fixed consumer journeys, controlled content publishing, auditing and workflows, often delivering limited personalization when people are on your website,” Jones said. “So if you are a marketer looking to do something innovative, interactive and engaging for your next campaign, you need a CMS that empowers you to do that.” 

Add-Ons Start Adding Up

Finding the silver bullet of CMS software, that provides everything to everyone may be impossible, according to Pamela Muldoon, revenue marketing coach for The Pedowitz Group. “Adding expansions or additional features to an existing platform can help create a system that works for multiple functions, but it can also get costly pretty quickly,” Muldoon said. “Researching new and updated CMS options may be a more cost effective route than to keep adding on to your existing platform.”

Related Article: Why Web CMS and Digital Experience Platforms Are Different 

Content Creators Can’t Create Content

The user experience is critical to the use and function of a CMS platform, Muldoon said. If your content creators are having more issues than not when it comes to creating and publishing content within your CMS, it may be time to look at different options. “Increasing efficiency in workflow and proficiency with users is a time and money saver that needs to be considered when any software is chosen,” Muldoon said. “A solid, user-friendly, easy-to-manage CMS platform will allow users to get more done in less time and ensure less headaches along the way.”  

No Role Based Access For Users

A current CMS platform will allow for role-based access for users. That, Muldoon said, is key to developing workflow and editorial oversight. “If your current CMS is an all-access software, this means you have to trust that all users are trained in a similar way and understand what they can and cannot do, even if they may have access to do it,” Muldoon added. “Upgrading to a new CMS could provide access to the software based on roles and ensure content has a hierarchy flow and quality assurance process.”

Related Article: Headless, But Not Brainless Web CMS

Leveraging Content is a Rough Journey

Chris Wiborg, vice president of product marketing at Alfresco, shared several warning signs your CMS may be a production-killer and energy-waster. His theme centered around content access and why it’s often difficult. “Instead of one place to go to find what you need, you have to know which application to open to get what you want — versus a content services platform approach,” Wiborg said. Another access woe for a CMS can be the difficulty getting content from anywhere — versus making it available in the cloud. Working with poor workflows doesn’t help, either. “To get work done we often end up sending content around via email — versus leveraging integrated process flows,” Wiborg said.

Related Article: 10 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Web CMS

Inconsistent Customer Experience Delivery

Brands that desire brick-and-mortar and digital experiences want their brand front-and-center on multiple channels. They need a CMS that allows them to seamlessly deliver that experience, Jones said. "From desktop, to an interactive screen, to the tiniest smartphone screen, your content needs to load fast, look great and appear consistent across every platform," he added. “This is something that your CMS should harmonize and make easy to achieve. If it doesn’t, and you don’t want you customers looking elsewhere, then it’s time you did.”