7 Web Content Management Predictions for 2017

2016 is squarely in the rearview mirror and we’re off to the races with 2017.  Digital experiences for customers and employees continue to be a top priority for most organizations.  Let’s look at some of our predictions for the coming year.

#1. WCM Migration to the cloud will continue en masse

There’s not much we need to say here, today, 93% of organizations with one thousand (1000) or more employees have at least one IT solution in private and public clouds.  WCM in the cloud has been growing steadily and will continue at an accelerated rate for the next several years.  Today’s WCM vendors need to provide the full range of deployment options from on premise, public and private hosting to Software as a Service. Security and integration continue to be a concern for customers and a limiting factors for some vendors.

#2. Augmented and virtual reality will become mainstream digital channels

Every year we see new channels emerge. The last two years of technical advances and product marketing have brought augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) channels and use cases out of niche territory and into a the public consciousness.  Organizations of all sizes are waking up to the value of these technologies for a wide range of use cases including marketing, training, education, sales aids, gaming, along with many other inclusive, immersive experiences.  In 2017 we’ll see innovative CMS technologies offer the ability to manage and deliver VR and AR content and applications.

#3. The geo-political climate will drive data hosting and security requirements around Personally Identifiable Information (PII) & other personal data

Data security has been a hot topic for a long time but today’s political climate will drive the issue even harder. From on-soil data rules to network security requirements, you can expect much more regulation over the next several years.  The ability to store and retrieve your customer data in/from a distributed, global infrastructure with the proper application and network security capabilities is going to be more important than ever that leverage customer data as a strategic asset.

#4. Beacon / IoT technology is a key component part of delivering digital/physical experiences

The Internet of Things IoT is here to stay. From thermostats, light switches and refrigerators to automobiles, everything is going on-line. The public is becoming more and more comfortable using their mobile device as a way to interact with and control their physical space. Furthermore, beacon, technology is taking hold.  While the previous examples above illustrate your mobile devices and laptops initiating a conversation with an online resource, beacon technology allows the resource to initiate the conversations enabling a much more interactive and reactive experience.  We can expect to see more and more digital / physical convergence built out using beacon technology this year.

#5. Developers and tech ninjas will be key in crafting experiences and will demand agility and process at parity with other kinds of software development.

WCM is often intended as technology to assist non-technical users in the creation of digital experiences.  On the other side of the coin are the developers who extend the CMS to enable the authors and experiences.  Developers have been underserved by the CMS market with often difficult technology and a host of proprietary frameworks.  Given that the experiences we are creating today are more sophisticated than ever, many WCM vendors can expect a backlash from developers.  A WCM in 2017 and going forward needs to be as good for developers and systems/operation teams as it is for authors.  Developers will demand integration with their tools and process if they are going to be able to keep up with the demands they face.

#6. Multi-channel expansion will drive architectures like micro services, CaaS and component based experience.

Like predication #5, we can see that growth and innovation is not only placing demands on WCM vendors for features but it’s driving architecture.  How your CMS is built defines what it can do.  Not all CMS architectures are created equal or have the same amount of flexibility and runway for innovation.  Scale, performance and topology challenges will drive the need for more decoupled, highly scalable architectures that can support both push and pull publishing along with global/remote deployments.  Support for Micro Service architectures, Content as a Service (CaaS) and experience as a service are a must going forward.

#7. Best of breed and integration approach will gain traction all-in-one suites

The pendulum swings one way and then it swings back.  Many large organizations have invested heavily in suite based WCM solutions that are inclusive of a wide array of marketing automation and marketing insight.  Those investments have not panned out for a variety of cost, capability, human resourcing, agility and architectural reasons. Throughout 2016 we saw analysts and organizations waking up to the fact that putting all of your eggs in one vendor basket is dangerous and limiting.  2017 will show much more leverage of best of breed approaches that integrate technologies rather betting on a single vendor.

 

Avoiding Website Performance Bottlenecks

blog_avoid

In a world where multitasking is more prevalent than ever, enterprises are asking more and more from their websites. Unable to keep up, site functionality is exploding while optimization is falling flat. And it’s not only e-commerce sites that are failing at performance. Industries of all types are experiencing web performance bottlenecks caused by slow page load times and sluggish user interaction.

Whether it’s the hefty amount of images, plugins or JavaScript getting fancier, it is clear that some major factors are interrupting the flow of website optimization. With site functionality only continuing to get more complex, resource requests dramatically increasing, and the growing trend toward personalized experiences, performance is taking a huge hit.  Unfortunately, this trend is negatively affecting user retention – ultimately affecting your enterprise’s bottom line.

Yet considering how important a website can be for any given enterprise, it seems only natural to take the extra care to ensure the website is not only running fast from the desktop site but from a mobile perspective too. The number of websites still not optimized for a mobile experience is astounding.

People Are in a Hurry Even When They Are Sitting On Their Couch

In the fast-paced era we live in, anything more than three seconds for a page to load is too long. Studies show that potentially upwards of 50% of users click off the site if the page takes too long. Additionally, 30% will jump ship if a shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile.

This leads to lost sales, competitors winning over your customers, and overall missed opportunities. When you consider the the number of visitors, your average revenue per customer taking into account your attainable conversion rate, and then subtract everything lost from a website bounce rate of 40% when your site loads slowly, you can quantify the amount of lost revenue pretty quickly.

Increase Brand Engagement

Your brand will be much more likable if you offer an equally satisfying, personalized experience for both mobile and desktop sites. Whether a user visits your site from their smartphone or desktop, the experience should be optimized for functionality and brand consistency, so it fosters trust and affinity with your users. Most users regularly go between devices so if you are not able to provide what they need than they are more likely to go to a competitor rather than wait until they get back to their desktop to make a purchase. Not optimizing your site results in lost opportunities and losing customers permanently to competitors.

Optimize Your Site, and Business will Grow

To keep your users engaged and continuously coming back, you need to optimize your site performance and a modern content delivery solution is the most effective way to pull this off. Despite many performance optimization techniques manually performed by developers, hand-coding pages for performance is specialized, time-consuming work. When it comes to intensely involved sites with hundreds to even thousands of dynamic components per page, this can be an eternal task. As both browser requirements and page requirements continue to develop the work can seem never ending.

Therefore, consistently faster page loads and a more reliable site starts with a blazing fast content delivery platform. We built the world’s fastest dynamic content delivery solution with Crafter Engine, which now serves some of the largest and fastest sites on the globe.

Think your website performance needs a boost? Contact us at info@craftersoftware.com for guidance or download our white paper Building and Optimizing Multi-Channel Web Experiences to learn more!

Rethinking the Content Management System for Media and Publishing in the Mobile Era

cms-mobile_6.0

Ask anyone from the staff at Buzzfeed to the owner of your neighborhood antique store, and they will agree: it’s time to reinvent the CMS so every publisher has the same tools to succeed in a mobile world. After all, in a world of smartphones, users have come to expect a better experience on mobile. Whether they are flipping through apps consuming content from left to right or experiencing rich magazine-like features, keeping the reader engaged is a top priority.

When it comes to moving beyond the desktop, “themeing” in the CMS is necessary to build these experiences across multiple screens. The goal of responsive design is a good starting point, but it doesn’t do the job completely. We need to take it a step further with the CMS being WYSIWYG and component-based. By doing so, any publisher can deliver a rich, touch-enabled experience regardless of the screen or device or wearable the reader uses.

Creating richer experiences on mobile enables engagement, and even monetization, to live within the CMS. Up until now, most CMSs had monetization relegated to the right rail of the page, but with so many users experiencing sites via mobile, it’s become necessary to shift to in-stream experiences. Dynamic experiences and monetization is now living symbiotically with the content. While many legacy CMS vendors have created bridge solutions, the real solution in the long-term is to make the CMS the place where native advertising is created and trafficked in sync with a publisher’s existing ad server. And this requires a CMS built for today’s era of mobile engagement.

Of course, every reader has different tastes and expectations for any given site so in order for native ads to be a success, personal relevance should be a major factor. Rather than a chronological feed, a personalized feed directed at the user’s own interests is needed.  Personalizing the user experience for each individual reader should be at the core of any given CMS. This provides a superior reading experience and users are much more likely to frequently engage with the site.

It isn’t just responsive design that has changed, users have changed their online activity as well. They are no longer simply reading content, leaving comments and moving on. Today, they are sharing more than ever and CMS for the mobile world needs to offer the seamless ability to connect with the online community.

Additionally, writers or anyone interested in creating content should have the option to write on mobile. Unfortunately, CMSs built a decade ago are not a viable option on mobile. Authors should be able to write content from their phone as effortlessly as they tweet.

While we aren’t totally there yet, this reinvention will surely happen. Publishing has drastically changed since the mobile shift and there’s no doubt that reinventing the corresponding CMS software will occur in the near future.

To learn how Crafter CMS was designed and built for the modern era of mobile engagement, contact us today for a personalized demonstration.

 

3 Major Advantages of a Headless / Decoupled CMS

In a nutshell, a headless CMS, sometimes called decoupled CMS separates the content of a website from how it is displayed on separate independent applications.  The term “decoupled” has been increasingly used as a synonym for headless in recent years. However, “decoupled” is also used by CMS technologies that completely separate content authoring and delivery technology. This kind of architectural decoupling has its own set of advantages.  The term “headless CMS” refers to CMS technologies that are capable of delivering content that is completely void of presentation concerns and is delivered to a content consuming application via APIs / Content as a Service (CaaS.)

Headless CMS/CaaS architectures are the best choice for enterprises who feel limited by the front-end restrictions of a legacy CMS. Rich digital experiences, content apps, highly custom layouts and JavaScript MVC frameworks don’t really fit into the architecture of a CMS which closely controls how content looks and is rendered.  In recent years, the CaaS architecture has become so important that several CaaS ONLY CMS technologies started popping up.  It’s our belief that CaaS is an extremely important capability but on its own it creates yet another content silo.  Any CMS worth its salt needs to be able to handle both traditional content delivery as well as CaaS to deliver the true benefits of a headless architecture.

#1 Get More Out of Your Content

A headless CMS helps to reduce the quantity of managed content by eliminating duplicative content with slightly different presentations and at the same time and by the same means reduces the time-to-market factor. Content editors are freed from needing to worry about the exact presentation on every single front-end that consumes content. The headless CMS will push the updates across all the digital properties, so you don’t have to. By separating content from presentation, you easily save two valuable factors: time and money.  With a headless CMS like Crafter, the possibilities are endless when a single content item is combined with a number of different presentations.

#2 Author Once, Consume Anywhere

Captivating the general audience and converting them to be your brand advocate requires a Customer Experience Management (CXM) tool that goes beyond simply introducing them to your website. The most effective and powerful brands create interconnected, simplified experiences on all levels of customer interactions. This means that both in-person and web touch points are crucial to connecting with users and potential customers. Technical agility as well as the ability to manage content is key. This is best done by providing businesses with a platform like Crafter CMS that has headless CMS capabilities that enable marketers to push their content beyond the company’s website. With a headless architecture, you can more easily manage the entire user experience from one central location and serve that content to any platform throughout the customer journey.

#3 Build and Roll Out Content Enabled Apps FASTER with Content APIs

New content-enabled applications and use cases show up all the time.  The faster we can roll the out apps, the more we enable a great experience for our customers.  By supporting CaaS, we make it easier for our organizations to build content-enabled applications. Well defined APIs are what developers need in order to create applications quickly. A headless CMS like Crafter gives you those APIs and lets your developers focus on creating application features rather than re-inventing the CMS wheel or working around content deployment and presentation issues presented by legacy systems. Furthermore, APIs can be documented and made available to third parties or the public which opens the door for innovation outside your walls.  Simply put,  headless CMS technology speeds development and enables innovation.

6 ‘C’s for Great Customer Experience

The type of customer experience your company provides to its customers can make or break the brand. The game has changed and the winners in today’s market are those who provide a great experience to their customers throughout the entire customer journey. Learn how to increase demand and encourage growth through great customer experience by leveraging these 6 ‘C’s of Great Customer Experience!

#1: Contextual

Are you sitting at your desk working?  Are you sitting on the couch browsing with your tablet?  Are you in a Uber hurling towards the airport and trying to move your flight departure time?  Where you are, what you are doing, what kind of access you has matters A LOT! Contextualization focuses the experience on where you are, what device you are using as well as preferences such as location, language, and time of day.  In a nutshell, contextualized experience is what brands use to go above the muck in today’s omni-channel, multi-device, multi-lingual, multi-step world to provide you with a more personalized and relevant experience.

#2 Consistent

A brand is successful by promises made and promises kept. By consistently shaping communications and interactions that highlight strong delivery and core themes brands set customer expectations and drive loyalty by meeting them. Lack of consistency and failure to meet expectations has the exact opposite effect. Have you ever dialed into an automated “phone-tree”, entered a bunch of information only to be transferred and then have to re-enter all of your information again?  It’s frustrating at best. A consistent experience delivers what you expect at every step in the customer journey.  At each touch point, it knows where you have been and where you are now.

#3 Conversational

The online world is much more social than ever before.  Marketing is no longer about one-way communication in which brands bark messaging at customers, it’s about engaging with them.  Today’s marketing is “N-directional.”  It’s an on-going engagement with the brand, a customer, and the brand ecosystem.  Everyone knows that good friends are the ones that know how to listen.  The same is true for brands.

#4 Cross-channel

Our customers have multiple ways to engage with us from traditional media advertising, mail campaigns and phone to digital platforms such as sites, applications, kiosks, digital signage, email, texting, social media and more!  Your customers want to engage you through the mediums and platforms that make the most sense for them in the moment.  Companies that truly get customer experience understand that offering the customer a great experience on the platform of their choice is a critical component for success.  Multi-channel isn’t just about a website responsive design that works on laptops and smartphones.  It’s about really being able to serve customers on any channel and further it’s about being equipped to add a new channel at a moment’s notice.  New channels emerge all the time, and it is the first movers in nearly all cases that dominate the new space.

#5 Convenient

Convenience is a no brainer. Customers love easy. You must reduce complexity at every step.  Make it simple for them!  Apple no longer has a checkout register. Any employee can help you complete a purchase.  Need to schedule an appointment? A couple taps of by an associate on an iPad and you are done.  That’s convenient and it’s enchanting.  Now compare your hailing a cab to requesting an Uber.  Hailing a cab requires good fortune or great patience. Uber by contrast puts mobility at the touch of a button, provides you with an ETA and requires no physical payment transaction.  That’s convenient and it’s enchanting.  Be convenient. Be enchanting.

#6 Cost effective

While great customer experience is vital for maintaining and obtaining customers, doing more (for your customers) often requires more time and resources.  The key to creating and maintaining a great customer experience is finding a cost effective way to make it happen.  The key to cost-effective customer experience is in the architecture of the platforms and solutions you choose to implement. Of course, the platform needs to enable you to deliver contextual multi-channel experiences that engage and enchant your customers. But it must also allow you to scale in an affordable way.  By scale I mean few things.  Scale as in volume.  You need to be able to add more capacity without breaking the bank.  Scale as in many birds, one stone.  The platform should be able to cover many needs.  Multiple sites, many channels within a site and so on.  Scale as in capacity to innovate.  Digital experience is a space of constant evolution.  You need to be able to quickly and affordably develop and deploy new value to your customers.

How have the 6 C’s for Great Customer Experience enhanced your business?  Let us know in the comments below.

7 Web Content Management Predictions for 2016

2016 is off to a roaring start and digital experience projects are at the top of the to-do list for most organizations. The following are 7 predictions in Web Content Management for this year and how these changes will affect you.

#1 Major enterprises will move WCM to the cloud
IT has been moving infrastructure to the cloud for years however for most of that time WCM solutions remained on premise. WCM has traditionally been left behind the cloud movement for three reasons:  The first is, that while there are many WCM solutions, few were really designed for the cloud. The second reason is a lack of support for integration.  Integration with enterprise systems like CRM, customer data, inventory, ERP and others can be difficult to integrate on the cloud and outside the firewall due to infrastructure and security concerns.  The third reason is lack of real development support.

Throughout 2015, we’ve seen a major shift in CMS offerings, both Managed Services and pure Software as a Service that now handle or claim to handle these concerns in a way that allow complex WCM environments to move to the cloud.  If you’re looking to replace or improve your digital experience platform in 2016 or beyond, you need to consider deploying in the Cloud.

#2 Content as a Service will become part of the platform
Over the last couple years we’ve seen a new “flavor” of CMS pop up called “headless CMS” that were specifically created for delivering Content as a Service (CaaS.)  Content as a Service is all about delivering content completely void of presentation via an API in a pure data-based format that can be requested and presented by the consumer in a way that makes sense for that consumer. While headless repository CMS solutions covered a real need and a gap in support for single page applications and native mobile apps, they also created a new silo for content in the enterprise.  Silo’d content greatly limits re-use and always increases the amount of process and overhead required to create and manage it. This year we will see most major CMS vendors include content as a service as a core part of their platform.  In 2016 you need to question any product that cannot address this concern.  New channels and delivery mechanisms spring up all the time so your WCM needs to be able to adapt quickly.

#3 Developers will demand WCM that is easy for them
In general, CMS’s are typically good for authors but not that great for developers. Most CMS platforms prioritize the author over the developer. From extending the CMS to building functionality in your digital experience projects, most CMS platforms have only limited extension points, lack support for native developer tools and require a traditional code deployment process that takes an excessive amount of time.  This is often even more true in the cloud.  Yet great digital experience and the CMSs that support them sit at the very intersection of creativity and innovation making ease of development one of the most important attributes of any WCM.   As the demand for faster innovation continues to mount we expect developers to put their foot down and demand better development support from their WCM.

#4 A return of the hybrid native mobile application
In 2012 Facebook declared the hybrid mobile application dead.  Native apps were faster and offered superior functionality to HTML5 based hybrid mobile apps. 3 years is a lot of time in technology. The networks, content delivery platforms and the devices that we use to deliver mobile content have improved drastically. Networks are faster, browsers are faster and more importantly browser based development is MUCH cheaper and faster. Native applications will maintain certain advantages but as the technology landscape continues to evolve, old assumptions must be questioned. In 2016 Companies seeking to gain the best of both worlds along with those who have avoided native development due to costs will reconsider previous notions that only a native experience will do.

#5 Employee experience will gain similar traction as customer experience
2015 was the year of customer experience.  We all have a personal connection to the importance of a great customer experience so it’s easy to understand why customers reward it with loyalty and are in recent years, beginning to demand it! In 2016 we will see the same shift take hold around employee experience. The reasons are simple. First, our employees are also customers in their daily life.  They want the same experience at work that they have outside of work.  Second, happy, efficient employees create happy customers.

#6 False standards will lose ground
With the introduction of faster, more flexible, more scalable content persistence, businesses will question the validity of and replace slower stores based on standards like SQL and JCR  (Java Content Repository.)  Standards like SQL and JCR gain traction because as standards they offer the potential speed development by creating a widely known interface.  Standards also incentivise innovation from vendors because they offers the potential for their solutions to be plugged in and at the same time a protection from vendor lock-in for the consumer due to that very same pluggable nature.  Standards are great. No issue with standards in general!  The issue with SQL and even more so with JCR is that in the WCM space the abstractions offered by these standards are at the wrong level that offer very little in the way of support for the performance, scalability, personalization and on-the-fly big data analytics demands of today’s digital experience.  There is a growing trend towards the use of much more scalable, much more powerful document oriented stores like MongoDB, Solr, Elastic Search (and others) for WCM solutions. I expect this trend only to accelerate in 2016.

#7 Customer Data infrastructure will become a leading concern
Content is king of this there can be no doubt. However personalized content and experiences require personalized data (a lot of it) as well as on-the-fly analysis of that data.  The need to drive a consistent customer experience throughout the entire customer journey will bring customer data management as well as all of its challenges including scale, security and user privacy to the very fore-front of the conversation for major enterprises. Master “customer” data management and integration of that data with your WCM technology is clearly going to be one of the most important areas of innovation for 2016.

What emerging trends do you think we can anticipate this year? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

About the author:
Russ Danner is VP Products at Crafter Software, a leading provider of open-source web content (WCM) and digital experience (WEM) management software. Russ is responsible for product management, product development and support and client and partner success.  Russ brings over 20 years of content management, software architecture, design, and implementation experience.  Russ has been active in the Open Source community since 2005 as a community leader, contributor, trainer, speaker and user group organizer.

5 Reasons Why Your CMS Should Move to the Cloud

The following Guest Blog was written by Stacy Weng, Senior Marketing Manager, Rivet Logic Corporation.

Why are a growing number of enterprise customers deploying their Web experiences in the cloud? In a recent webinar with Crafter Software, we discussed top reasons for moving a CMS to the cloud, how to craft a successful enterprise web strategy, and best practices for building next-generation web experiences.

The Modern CMS and Crafter

Your website isn’t just brochure-ware or a place where people go for product updates, but instead it’s the lifeblood of your company and acts as an important sales tool for that first initial interaction with your users. It’s also an engagement tool, with the ability to segment and build personas, to deliver personalized experiences that’ll keep your users engaged. From an integration standpoint, a web CMS isn’t just a standalone effort, but needs to integrate with various other tools such as CRM, marketing automation, and analytics.

Crafter Cloud is a full featured, enterprise SaaS-based content management system with user-friendly authoring tools, easy integration, high-performance content delivery, ability for personalization and targeting, using a suite of industry-leading development tools to enable delivery of omni-channel experiences. Crafter was designed with flexibility and scale and can be integrated with a variety of digital efforts.

Why the Cloud? 5 Reasons to Move Your CMS to Crafter Cloud

From our experience implementing CMS solutions, we’ve across 5 consistent themes for why customers choose Crafter Cloud when deciding to move their CMS to the cloud.

  1. Custom development experience in the cloud – One of the biggest benefits from both an IT and marketing perspective is the availability of a custom development experience, which provides the front-end team a personalized development environment with the ability to use any front end framework of their choice. This leads to shorter release cycles, which benefits business teams and keeps them excited about the CMS as new features and functionality requests are met in a timely manner.
  2. Full Featured CMS – As a full-featured CMS, Crafter Cloud has the design, integration and security features of an enterprise CMS that’s traditionally deployed on-premise with your own resources. The cloud CMS is a great option for customers with a lot of security and integration requirements to deploy the system without a lot of IT overhead. In addition, one of the challenges businesses face during a rebranding effort or site redesign is the ability of the CMS to respond appropriately. Not only are there desktop views, we now need to accommodate multiple screens and mobile devices, and each experience needs to be unique. Design responsiveness and the ability to create custom design and not be limited by the CMS and its features is imperative.
  3. Augment IT – Deploying your CMS in the cloud allows you to augment your IT and accelerate time-to-market. This means freeing up time and resources and limiting your IT overhead so they can focus on new features and the overall user experience.
  4. Cost – Deploying your CMS in the cloud is also cost effective, with savings from resources, time and energy it would take to build and deploy the solution. Crafter Cloud employs a flexible pricing model that allows you to scale and buy as you grow, limiting any over buy.
  5. Running your business at the speed of the market – Often times your public facing website becomes an afterthought if the CMS can’t keep up (e.g. the need for IT resources to make updates, design updates limited by features, marketing needs more data / analytics, etc.). Teams often end up walking away from relying on the CMS and addressing these tasks independently. Crafter keeps in pace with not just consumers but also the technology side of the house by allowing development teams to work with tools they’re familiar with.

Design & Deployment Considerations

When it comes to Web Experience Management (WEM), it can be broken into 5 categories, each with its own subcategories to dissect and think about your business and users (IT, marketing, sales, customers, partners, etc.).

design-deployment

  1. Ease of use – Is it user friendly?
  2. Multi-channel – What are your multi-channel requirements? It’s no longer enough to say it needs to work on a mobile device. Mobile is a whole different experience to think through, and you need to make sure your CMS can be responsive and flexible in that sense. For example, a mobile experience for retail is very different from a services company.
  3. Personalization – Your site needs to be personalized to build engagement. A repeat consumer / site visitor doesn’t want to feel like they’re reintroducing themselves each time they visit your site, which can be very frustrating. You need a CMS that enables you to build the journey with the customer and not force a reintroduction at each touch point.
  4. Engagement – A CMS becomes a viable piece of your business when it can spark engagement, which comes in many forms. Engagement isn’t only about results in product buying, but also in comments, reviews, and feedback loops.
  5. Integration – Can it easily integrate with other third party systems – CRM, Marketing Automation, Analytics, etc.?


Who Are My Users and What Do They Need?

Users are typically divided between internal an external users. Internal users include Marketing, IT, and Sales, and all of these user categories have their own different expectations and opinions on how the site should be designed.

While IT wants security, Marketing prefers flexibility, ease of use and the ability to design and add new features, and Sales wants a site that’s captivating to bring them leads. It’s important to go through the process of defining and prioritizing expectations.

internal

As you narrow down the list, you need to determine if the CMS is able to respond to these expectations, as keeping the internal team happy is the first step to launching a successful CMS. When it comes to features, determine what the current CMS supports, features you wish you had but previously had limitations, whether it’s lack of IT resources for customization or lack of familiarity with the CMS’s integration points. You need an extendable platform that can successfully address these feature requests.

In addition, your CMS manages a variety of content, from blog posts to news articles, to products and press. Your CMS needs to be flexible from a content editing standpoint, where non-technical business users have the ability to edit, preview and publish without any additional IT support. Depending on the organization, IT may or may not be involved in the CMS, so it needs to be self-sufficient, with Marketing owning the solution.

Your external users include customers, partners, and other stakeholders, and you need to start thinking about perception and how users view your brand during their site visit.

To manage user expectation, you need consistency across each digital touch point. The experience from desktop to mobile to kiosk should be consistent so that users don’t need to learn a new UI at each touch point. In addition, if you publish a lot of content, users are going to have certain expectations around the frequency of your updates, and the context in which they’re consuming the content from. All of these points warrant discussions when it comes to your CMS process – it needs to be flexible enough to address most of these challenges.

Customer Win Patterns & Success Stories

Customers select their CMS based on a few consistent win patterns – full-featured with the ability to respond, ability to integrate, provides developers with development tools, limited IT overhead so IT resources can be reallocated to other strategic initiatives, fast time-to-market, and ability to consolidate various sites into one platform.

Our customers are leveraging Crafter Cloud to address a variety of business needs, including:

  • Rebranding a 30 Year Old Company – This health & fitness customer had many inconsistent brands, designs and technologies across their sites that needed to be consolidated into one platform. With a strict timeline and lack of IT resources, they started by deploying their core public facing website onto Crafter Cloud, with other web properties to follow, all accomplished within a two month timeframe.
  • Creating an identity in Ad Tech – This advertising technology company went through a rebranding to create a new identity. Design was extremely important and they needed a CMS to support pixel perfect design. With Crafter Cloud, their solution was up and running in under 1.5 months.
  • Enhancing a Global Platform – This customer already had an existing technology platform in place with high user adoption. They wanted to enhance their site with social capability without disruption. Crafter Cloud provided the necessary social features that were implemented with limited platform disruption.

These are just three examples that all come back to the consistent theme of full featured CMS in the cloud, low IT overhead, cost effectiveness, and speed of market.

Creating a Memorable Web Experience

The larger goal is to have your web presence create a memorable experience so that it reinforces your brand. Best practices to accomplish this include the three C’s:

  1. Consistent – Both internally (equipping marketing with necessary tools in one area to create these experiences and providing IT with the right development tools) and externally (across multiple devices)
  2. Contextual – Providing the right content in the right context
  3. Conversational – The ability to create conversations and enable engagement, and ultimately build a community around your web experience

To learn more, watch the webinar recording and download the slides.

For more information about Crafter Cloud, visit craftercloud.io.