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CMS Selection – Buying the Company and Its Culture by:


February 12th, 2013

When you invest capital and resources in selecting your next generation Content Management System (CMS), you aren’t just buying software — you’re also buying the company that comes with it. You should look hard at key factors about the corporate or community backing of the system you’re considering to get a more complete picture of how well a CMS platform will work for you.

There are several factors that are important indications of whether a product is a good fit for a project, based on the company itself.

Culture

Do you worry about the cultural fit of new technologies as they are introduced into your organization?  You should.  Culture is often an intangible item and is difficult to measure, but here are a few examples to keep in mind.

Company size

Is the company small and “family style,” or is it large and highly segmented?  Smaller companies tend to have friendlier support staffs who are more integrated into the overall pulse of the company.  Sitecore’s U.S. office right outside of San Francisco still has that small company feel, even though it’s grown substantially over the last few years.  Their support people, based both in the U.S. and in Denmark, are friendly and are definitely tapped into the corporate culture (in a good way).

Company DNA

Is the company bred from start-up stock, or is it now an acquisition from a non-traditional web company?  We’ve seen the R&D mentality that keeps CMS products relevant become an afterthought if it isn’t core to the business.

An example of a product that has blossomed due to an organizational culture of excellence is Drupal.  Before Acquia stepped into the picture, Drupal was mired in an open-source battle with Joomla, ExpressionEngine, and WordPress, among others. Acquia’s mantra of making every Drupal implementation a success, providing enterprise-level hosting and support, and helping to propel the talent pool growth, has turned Drupal into the open-source gorilla in the room that it is now.  Without Acquia, Drupal may not have been as accepted by the many major corporations that use it today.

History

The history of a company can indicate its future potential.  Have they had a lot of turnover at C-level or in key engineering positions?  Have they grown faster than they could metabolize?  Have they been getting large infusions of cash from investors that may signal a future purchase?  And, last but not least, have they recently purchased several products that could portend dropping support for one or attempting to merge them?  For example, OpenText recently put the market on watch with its purchases of RedDot and Vignette. Everyone is waiting to see if OpenText will sunset either product, combine them, or take some other direction.

Roadmap

While factors such as fiscal health and market reputation are important, one area that we’ve paid special attention to is a company’s roadmap for the product.  We like to ask for an older roadmap and a current one to see how the company adhered to their stated goals, but also how they recognized and integrated emerging trends or market disruptions into their plans.  For example, after purchasing Day CQ and Omniture SiteCatalyst, Adobe laid out its future roadmap as a merged offering — with several other Adobe products — that allows the business user to control the full digital life cycle without leaving the Adobe suite of products.

Reviewing these company roadmaps can help you understand whether the product direction aligns well with where you want to take your digital presence.  Is the firm focusing on mobile, social, analytics, and marketing automation? Or are they going in the e–commerce and ERP integration direction?

Due Diligence

There are many ways a company can telegraph whether it’s a good fit for your needs.  We’ve outlined a few that revolve around the company itself, not necessarily its product and the analyst reviews of its features and potential.  Doing your due diligence on the company will help make sure you make a great product selection — and also that that product will continue to be the right decision in the years to follow.

Tags: Content Management, Technology,


Dustin Collis

by Dustin Collis

Partner, Technology Solutions

@collisindc



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