cms, Enterprise CMS, Enterprise Content Management, Web CMS, Web Content Management

Implementing a CMS Costs More Than Buying a CMS

A recent report entitled “CMS Survey Report 2009 by and didn’t really shock me. It was a “Doh!” moment, really.

Why CMS Licensing Costs Are Only The Beginning

Perhaps, it is not always the case, but buying a CMS is only the beginning of your investment. You think that after spending all that time and money during the CMS selection process and sales demos, you’re done? Far from it.

Often, it costs a lot more to actually implement the damn thing and make it useful to the organization.Think of all the implementation work: from defining (the often, non-existent and ever-changing) business requirements and translating them into the CMS-of-your-choice language to building out your numerous websites, templating, programming, security and governance models, workflows, etc. I am being very simplistic in describing the scope here. Am not even gonna talk about ECM scenarios.

Add to that training, support, maintenance, customizations, add-ons, integrations with third-party tools, more training, content migrations, testing, QA, deployments. I could keep going.

Organizational change that comes with implementing every new solution may cost you another dime or two.

There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.

//Unknown Niccolo Machiavelli

Half-a-million or so implementation dollars later, the end-users cannot stand the CMS and refuse to use it. In fact, they hate it (see the 18% number below).

Pains of Implementing a CMS

Right, back to the report. There are some interesting findings in the survey. The report is based on an online survey of more than 800 respondents (decent size sample) dating back to March and April 2009.

Highlights include:

  • A bit over 25% of companies surveyed use their CMS primarily for publishing
  • 53% are spending less than £5,000 on their CMS license annually
  • 18% of respondents rate their CMS as ‘excellent’ for ease of use
  • 60% use commercial CMS vendors
  • 31% use either open source CMS (24%) or ‘supported open source’ (7%)
  • The difficulty in using a CMS is deemed to be the biggest reason for an unsuccessful CMS implementation

On Selecting a CMS

  • 49% consider ease of use as the most important factor in selecting a CMS
  • Cost is deemed to be a priority factor for 37%
  • SEO friendliness is important to 30% when selecting a CMS
  • Ease of integration with other parts of the business and configurability with workflows is a more significant factor for larger companies than for smaller organisations when selecting a CMS
  • 75% believe that personalisation is important for a web content management strategy
  • 61% vote for blogging as being important (with social networking at 48%, viral marketing at 32%, micro-blogging at 27%)

The lack of support for Web 2.0 is thought to be the most negative aspect of current content management systems, with nearly half of organisations (47%) surveyed regarding this as a “downside” of their CMS.

I realize some of the numbers above may look slightly funny, but you get the idea.

For those of you in the midst of a CMS, WCM, ECM implementation, I’d recommend checking out AIIM’s preso How to implement ECM?


12 thoughts on “Implementing a CMS Costs More Than Buying a CMS

  1. Your point about licensing-cost being “only the beginning” is very true. I’ve seldom seen any CMS that was usable straight out of the box. Comparing products on licensing costs is a meaningless exercise. Quite often, licensing is the least of your worries, from a TCO perspective.

    Good post.

  2. ararat01 says:

    Its true and usually follows the kids role of thumb, The more features available the more the business is willing to spend on it, like a new iphone.
    The problem is that its not 0 against 1 but a CMS+Implementation vs. Some other HTML website.
    And the question is the frequency of spending. with a CMS you can have many ways of efforting the implemnetation. if its a big bang approach and all the organization divisions are in on it it is usually costly and tend to be long implementation with many overlapping soltions to similar problems. but if the approach is to do it in stages and spend the with each division you get a more coherent soplution with less investment over the long run. when comparing to a normal website with email as your workflow and communication solution you lose more then you gain. so the question is not if there is a cost associated to the implementation but what is the gain incured by the cost?
    As per Jon and his mind over matter, you can choose to do the implementation in house if you think you can sustain the team build costs.
    In any case you probably need to get the Products professional services involved to help you if you have an agency that implements your site, just to keep them on their towes

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  5. one more nice topic in your blog and nice comments too keep it up, If you advise some more related links to topic. I’m very interested in CMS and all its related subjects.

  6. It’s a very interesting subject I was looking around about more information but you got really what i was looking for in your article so thanks and keep it up you have a great blog .
    I’m very interested in CMS and all its related subjects.

  7. I’m a free lance web developer, like a lot of you.I’m looking to start doing it officially and I want to start finding clients locally in the small town that I live in. I want to make a website that captures and tells people what service I can offer to people.
    The thing is, I primarily develop websites using cms’s, I’m more of a marketer/designer than a coder.
    I was wondering if you know of any CMS’s or scripts that are good for building a website for web designers, developers, and IT people.

    let me know


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