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CMS migration checklist: Ask the right questions

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Here are the questions to ask to make sure your CMS migration goes smoothly and stays on time—and budget.

Migrating to a new CMS platform can be stressful and challenging, which can be further exacerbated if your team and stakeholders aren’t aligned on the intended outcomes and processes along the way—however, at Brightspot, we’re seasoned experts when it comes to shifting to a modern CMS, and we’re here to help.

    Common reasons to replatform your CMS

    Let’s start with the various reasons that lead organizations to seek out a new CMS platform.
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    Workflow challenges
    Your existing CMS doesn’t support workflows that impact everything from content editing to UI/UX. Outdated CMS platforms typically translate to inefficient, fragmented workflows that slow down teams and make it difficult to manage content consistently and from one unified, central source.
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      Example
      As a communications lead, I require legal approvals on a press release before I publish. The legal team, however, is working off a file in a shared document management system like Google Docs or Dropbox. With a modern CMS like Brightspot, integrations between the CMS and third-party systems ensure there is a single source of truth that can always remain in sync with any version in all your other systems. Further, in-built and customizable workflows ensure appropriate review and approvals are consistent throughout from assignment through to publication.
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      Cost inefficiencies
      Companies are constantly looking to save costs. From a content perspective, organizations that can create once and publish everywhere save resources doing so; those with outdated systems need to recreate the same piece of content for different platforms, wasting time and other opportunity costs.
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        Example
        As an editor, the article I am publishing also needs to be included in an email newsletter program and affiliate marketing campaign, but these programs are being handled by different teams in the organization. Instead of recreating separate versions of my content for these different needs and audiences, using a modular content approach, my article can be repurposed with blocks of content that are relevant (i.e. title, featured image and short summary for email; introduction, rich-media and list modules for use on a campaign landing page).
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        Outdated tech stack
        Old technology can make it difficult to find the right talent to maintain the upkeep of the tech stack; this can turn into a recruiting problem for companies as well, when good talent is primarily looking to work with the latest and greatest technology.
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        Example
        As a developer, instead of spending large parts of my day making repetitive updates and fixes to the "CRUD" layer (create, read, update, delete), my time can be more effectively focused on creating technology that innovates and pushes the business forward. A modern CMS like Brightspot comes with data- and content-modeling capabilities as standard, freeing developers to develop—not define and maintain.

        How to move forward?

        Organizations facing these challenges need something new – something that allows them to speed up their digital transformation efforts. That "something" is a content hub—one centralized location where you can manage all workflows from assigning, writing, reviewing, approving and publishing every assignment from the same platform. But, before replatforming to a new system, you need to ask the right questions to ensure the migration goes smoothly.

        Questions to ask before your CMS replatform

        While not an exhaustive list of questions to consider before replatforming, this list provides a great starting point that will help to align you, your team and your stakeholders as you embark on a platform migration.
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        Are you aligned on how big (or not big) your organizational appetite is for change?
        Develop an organizational change management (OCM) plan that accounts for everything from the beginning. Understand that roles will shift, and all stakeholders will be impacted, so their buy-in is critical. These changes need to be discussed during the planning process and communicated to those impacted.
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          Do you all speak the same “language”? Do your vendors/external support teams speak the same language as you?
          Every team within every organization uses unique words or phrases to describe what they’re working on; for example, what could be an "outline" to one team is called a "brief" to another. While it would be convenient to have a Rosetta Stone for all parties to use when embarking on a replatforming project, we instead need to be skilled at understanding our respective terminologies, and teach each other where translations are helpful. All parties need to dig a little deeper and align on a common language and understanding when discussing workflows, integrations, taxonomies, architectures and more.
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            Do you have a process in place when the project needs to change or be re-scoped?
            Teams can sometimes develop tunnel vision during replatforming projects, which can lead to small changes or tweaks throughout. Establish a process with a "Control Board" upfront for how to manage these "just in case" scenarios or surprises along the way. This streamlines who the decision makers are and who the approvers are so there is no confusion, and changes and corrections can be made quickly. 
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            Do you have a QA process established?
            Have a process in place to manage various QA elements, such as test cycles, test scripts and bug management. Understand what constitutes good testing and what data you need to have to be successful throughout the migration. 

            How Brightspot supports customers with their CMS replatforming

            Brightspot provides input and support throughout each stage of a customer's CMS replatforming project, and understands the importance of getting a tech migration done correctly and on time.

            We also understand digital transformation can be overwhelming. This is why our technology was designed to alleviate some of the problems that customers have with other CMS solutions, and why one of its capabilities is serving as a second CMS. Instead of requiring businesses to completely rethink the ways they’re currently working, Brightspot works with your existing logic by serving as a content hub, supporting robust integrations and leveraging your data that’s already on hand.

            Our teams do their due diligence—to understand your complexity, your language, your content types—and they help businesses understand what the technology is capable of and how it can support your changing organization.

            Brightspot is a collaborative partner that understands getting to the "what’s next" is essential for your business to be able to focus on future growth and innovation. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your CMS replatforming needs!

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