Benefits of a SaaS CMS: Launch an Enterprise Website Fast
How a true cloud web content management solution expedites digital marketing initiatives
In their book, How Google Works, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg asserted that “The pace of change is accelerating,” Ask leaders at most companies what the biggest challenge is they must surmount, and they’ll say it’s about “speed” or “gaining agility.”
Enterprises rise and fall in incredibly short time spans; marketers invest heavily in behavioral tracking tools and monitoring social media so they can make immediate changes to websites and campaigns in response to customer sentiment. Speed and agility are central to survival.
So, speed-to-market is more critical to digital marketing than it’s ever been before, and it’s only going to become more so as technology continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. A brand’s proficiency at rapidly launching and scaling digital experiences is a measure of their competitive leverage: the faster they can be, the better.
Yet Accenture recently found that 87% of CMOs believed their organizations are “not high performing” when it comes to digital experience delivery. And 64% of large brands scored only from “very poor” to just “OK” on Forrester’s Customer Experience Index.
Why speed-to-market matters
Companies have a brace of reasons to optimize the pace at which they’re able to deploy enterprise websites:
To get first-mover advantage: Sprinting ahead of the competition and being the first to address market demand or consumer preference? It’s a classic way to seize the high ground, and market leaders are invariably those who align themselves around seizing that advantage, time and time again.
To stay competitive: “If you’re not fast, you’re last,” you might say. For some, it’s not so much a matter of being out in front as much as it is simply running to stay in place. A marketer’s most menacing competitors will never slack off, and the digital channels and tools available to them (just like you) are only multiplying.
To accelerate innovation and iteration: Being able to quickly launch new digital experiences means testing, data capture, and analysis can accelerate, too, driving iterative improvements. Doing so at scale across multiple digital touchpoints is a key challenge for any global marketer.
To create a culture of agility: By learning to move faster and maintain that pace, you instill the expectation of agility, responsiveness, and proactivity throughout your marketing team (and the rest of the enterprise). Once you’ve reached that level of speed, it’s surprisingly easy to maintain; the real work comes in getting to that point.
To power positive perceptions: In an age of instant digital gratification, audiences expect marketers to stay current or even ahead of the curve – or else they’ll look elsewhere. Launching fresh digital experiences that are relevant at the moment to people’s rapidly-evolving tastes drives engagement far better than outdated sites or content, and it lifts word-of-mouth and brand reputation as well as any ad campaign could.
Four reasons why digital launches lag
Here are just four of the reasons why website projects and new digital experiences end up being slow-to-market, then perform poorly, and fail to deliver the ROI marketers hoped to realize:
- New websites are too hard to launch without IT development expertise and resources
- Websites are overly complex to manage without ongoing support from technical experts
- Content is perpetually outdated, because digital marketers can’t fully control the publishing process, and must often rely on IT to create new pages and make updates to existing content
- Sites don’t integrate smoothly with the latest marketing tools and technology, such as content and data sources that would help deliver richer user experiences
The result? Slow or delayed digital experiences alienate buyers, frustrate customers, and hand market advantage to competitors.
What’s the reason behind these reasons?
These problems typically stem from how antiquated the web content management system is that’s powering – or underpowering, we should say – a marketer’s website and content publishing processes.
These old-school, on-premise monolithic CMS platforms are hamstrung by the limitations (and expense) of maintaining or upgrading their architecture, the difficulty (and expense) of updating software, the vexations (and expense) of integrating them with third-party tools, legacy business applications, or more modernized platforms.
Among the other restraints they impose on launching new sites and content?
- They constrict the types of content and user experiences that can be published and where they can appear
- They limit customization and development agility
- They demand more time in the development cycle
- They involve significant platform-specific training for users
- They require add-ons to control the style/format of content on certain channels
In their search for speed, it’s no wonder digital marketers – especially those at large and/or global enterprises – have moved to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) CMS platforms (like Crownpeak) as offering the fastest route from conception of a new website to actual launch.
How a SaaS CMS model accelerates launch
Since a SaaS CMS solution is built in and runs in the Cloud, any need for procurement, installation, conﬁguration or maintenance by the customer is eliminated, allowing them to start building and delivering digital experiences practically immediately.
When IBM conducted research into why its SaaS customers used Cloud-based services, it came up with validating insights about why successful “Pacesetters” – those with the highest of level of SaaS adoption and who were gaining competitive advantage – had turned to SaaS:
- 71% were using SaaS to accelerate time-to-market and improve customer experiences
- 66% were using SaaS to identify customer needs and to bring products to market faster
- 71% had actually changed their business models to accommodate SaaS deployment
- 61% said SaaS increased both internal and external collaboration
What are the exact features of an up-to-date SaaS CMS model that allow digital marketers to strap in and go full-throttle when it comes to launching enterprise websites?
- Simplicity of adoption: A SaaS CMS model is accessible across geographies and countries, so users in multiple locations can very quickly and easily collaborate globally on site and content creation.
- Elimination of steps: A SaaS CMS eliminates most of the implementation stages typical to installed on-premise platforms.
- Decoupled architecture: If a SaaS CMS uses decoupled architecture, multiple content and development teams can work concurrently without getting in each other’s way. This natively allows dozens or even hundreds of projects to be implemented at the same time by independent agencies, while still unifying all content and assets in a single system.
- Brand and content standardization: The single-system approach of a SaaS CMS permits standardization of branding assets and content across an entire global portfolio of sites and projects, so content can be reused across multiple sites and sites stay on-brand and consistent from launch.
- Technology-agnostic: Some SaaS CMS models (like Crownpeak) make it easy for the most junior developers to build the initial website templates (with as few as three days of training), no matter what their programming language of choice is. After that, content authors and marketers can jump straight into populating site templates.
- Less IT Involvement: A SaaS CMS should eliminate much of the everyday need for IT involvement and can be mostly left to the marketing department to run. Updates to new versions of the software are automatic too, so there’s no work required by IT there either.
- Cost containment: SaaS platforms are renowned for their subscription-based affordability, shorter learning curves, streamlined content publishing processes, and the elimination of onsite hosting and maintenance. IT support and platform redundancies also save money, allowing marketing departments to make each site deployment more cost-effective – and accomplishing more of them within the same budget.
- Seamless integration: By integrating non-disruptively with both legacy applications and new or third-party providers (e.g. Salesforce, Marketo, Google Analytics, etc.), a robust SaaS CMS can leverage existing data and resources to enrich customer experiences.
- Convenient configuration: Various components or integrations can be chosen based on your campaign needs, rather than being rigidly embedded as with on-premise systems.
- Easy scalability: A SaaS CMS model can consistently and globally deploy high-availability, high-performance sites as often as needed without additional costs, transparently absorbing demand peaks or managing growth.
- Digital Quality Control: If equipped with a DQM component, a SaaS CMS automatically crawls each site pre- and post-publishing to ensure digital experiences comply with brand, accessibility, SEO and regulatory standards, and that they’re free of other errors like spelling mistakes, broken links, and slow-loading images.
The net-net? In an era where getting new digital experiences in front of a target audience ASAP is absolutely crucial, the agility and flexibility SaaS CMS model gives digital marketers an extraordinary advantage: unrivaled speed.