What are the criteria for picking a CMS amongst the myriad of options out there?
This is a great but challenging question! We had a hard time picking a CMS for our own purposes as well, and found that so many options would work for 75 to 85 percent of our needs, but very few ticked all the boxes for us. We discussed our project with every major CMS vendor, along with a few third party integrators, and found a few things in common with most projects:
1. List your wants and needs. Before even going out to market, think about the following:
a. What do you want to display?
b. How do you want your content to look?
c. Who will be designing the content? On first install and ongoing day to day?
d. Who will be managing the CMS? What resources are you allocating if any, or are you relying on a partner?
e. How long do you have before you need to get everything up and running?
f. What’s your maximum budget you’d like to spend?
g. What training will you require?
h. How easy is the CMS to use on the back end?
i. What are the hardware requirements? Is it an onsite server, or cloud based?
j. What kind of resources do you need on your player in terms of hardware/operating system?
2. Are there any must haves of your needs?
a. Are there any points above that you must have, and can’t live without?
b. Are there any that you can live without?
3. Which integrators/vendors support all of your absolute needs?
a. Be warned, this may be the trickiest part, as so many CMS vendors tell you they can do it all.
b. Ask if you can use a fully functional demo, or proof of concept, with all of the key needs being met.
4. Ask for references from each, and reach out to peers
a. I actually found a good amount of information by going to the DSE and talking to other end-users. Vendors can showcase their CMS and customize it but you’ll never know exactly how long they spent on doing so, and some changes may be a lot harder than it first appears.
Once you do all that, you should have a very good idea about which CMS suits your needs best.