Buyer Beware: The Reason Enterprise Companies Change WCMs
Looking for a new WCM? Read this first
A website redesign is often triggered by either a change of marketing leadership, a rebranding initiative, or the desire for a fresh coat of paint on a company’s most visible digital asset. Although a redesign doesn’t generally require a new web content management platform, it’s an opportune time to make the switch if you’re not happy with your current solution.
As a WCM vendor, it’s commonly at this juncture when we meet marketing and IT leaders who are kicking off a website redesign project and they’re dissatisfied with the technology they’re using to manage their website now. So, they’ve taken on what amounts to two massive undertakings – the selection of a digital design agency and a new WCM platform vendor.
Of course, being on the technology side and working with many blue-chip companies, we hear all the reasons that lead enterprise organizations to shop for a new platform. Surprisingly, some are still relying on IT to publish content on their websites and marketing has little if any control over the process. Others are on a homegrown solution that doesn’t offer the flexibility or the interoperability they need to scale or run digital marketing campaigns. For companies using on-premise solutions, there’s a heavy burden on IT to keep websites up and running, which they’d like to minimize or reduce altogether. Some are running multiple WCMs across business units and need to standardize to establish tighter centralized control.
But one of the most common reasons we hear (often in conjunction with other frustrations) is that they’re stuck on an old version of a WCM they purchased only a few years ago. At the time of purchase, they were sold on the frequency of new cutting-edge feature releases they’d be getting. They didn’t realize that taking advantage of those new features would require extensive resources. That’s because updating to the new version of a platform that isn’t SaaS (and most WCMs are not SaaS) falls entirely on the customer side. The vendor shoulders none of the responsibility, and the process is inherently fraught with risks. From breaking an essential integration, causing a glitch to a third-party plug-in, or threatening the performance of business-critical applications, there are countless upgrade horror stories.
Upgrading to the latest version of a WCM is almost always a painstaking process that requires IT expertise, site downtime, budget, and acceptance that something probably won’t work properly afterward (at best), which will require dedicated attention and additional resources.
Given this, it’s not surprising that when faced with the conundrum of whether to update a WCM platform to the latest version, companies often choose to skip the upgrade. Then the next update comes around, perhaps only six or eight weeks later, and the decision is made again to forgo it. Before they know it, a company has opted to skip 4, 5, or 10 releases.
Whether it’s due to a lack of resources, bandwidth, or fear that a host of new issues could be introduced, skipping an upgrade can have dire consequences. Since software upgrades often include security patches (in addition to new bells and whistles), not upgrading to the latest version can leave a company's website susceptible to cyber threats.
As the pressure mounts to upgrade to the latest version at some point (often largely because of the known security vulnerabilities), the price tag increases exponentially because to get to the latest version, a company must sometimes undergo all the updates it has missed. It’s a perilous road that usually results in either a company accepting that their marketing department is going to be handcuffed by their WCM, biting the costly bullet to get current, or shopping for a new solution altogether. Shockingly, it can be more affordable to switch solutions than to perform the necessary upgrades needed!
Besides setting aside hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover the cost of upgrades, what can a company do to avoid what we call the updating dilemma? Well, it begins with the solution they choose and it’s the reason more companies are moving to SaaS WCMs. With a SaaS platform, the upgrade process is a non-issue. That’s because it’s up to the vendor to perform the upgrade and there’s no threat posed to any customizations that have been done on the customer-side. So, companies can leverage new feature sets, security patches, and other improvements without risk or cost.
Why is that? A natively SaaS platform (which is not the same as a cloud one) is insulated and unbreakable. Customizations are made outside the platform and then integrated, rather than made from inside it. The vendor maintains control of it the system’s internal software processes.
For companies striving to deliver
Of course, if you’re looking for a new WCM, SaaS is only one of the fundamental features to look for – there are 10 others which we share in our eBook: “The 11 Most Important WCM Requirements to Include in Your RFP.”