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Content Management

Why a CMS? - The Sitecore Experience

Nowadays, websites are not only plane HTML, nor powerful hardware to support a big number of visitors. It is necessary to think on the statistics of your website, constant changes in the content, and several content editors who need your help to support new functionality.

Back in September 2012 I was assigned to lead the effort to implement our new website. My experience was much alike many Operation Managers, I knew about hardware and software but I didn’t have any clue on best practices for building a good website.

Concepts  The effort started with a meeting with our company’s Sitecore experts. It was a total challenge for me to understand all the new concepts behind website development such as SEO, Responsive Design, Content Management, Personalization, Digital Marketing, etc. – Internet has evolved a lot since my latest website rollout. 

Nowadays, websites are not only plane HTML, nor powerful hardware to support a big number of visitors. It is necessary to think on the statistics of your website, constant changes in the content, and several content editors who need your help to support new functionality. You also need to think on the security, on quick and simple disaster recovery processes, integration with data behind your firewall, integration with social networks, landing pages, advertising, SEO, and conversions.
During the first meetings I was pushing the whole project to use the classical website building approach but over and over the implementation team gave more and better reasons to use Sitecore to build our website. Sitecore is a complete solution that provides several functionality that help you see your website from a different point of view. But let’s start from the beginning. The first concept about Sitecore I needed to learn was CMS. So my first question was the simplest one. What is CMS?

From the definition at Wikipedia we see that a CMS – Content Management System - is…

… a computer program that allows publishing, editing and modifying content as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment.

Sitecore Screenshots

From here I started to envision the interaction between members in our organization in a whole new way. No more HTML editing, no more file management, no more database queries. The teams should learn a new way to put content in our website and I needed to understand the implications on the operation of our infrastructure.

A second question that I asked to our Sitecore experts was Why a CMS? I thought that a classic website or a portal could help us to accomplish our goal of rolling out a brand new website. So to answer the question the team explained to me that you can expand your vision about your website from an informational site to a tool for business. They told me that Collaboration is the key to understand all this. You look into the future and see different people from different departments adding content to your website and that content, impacting your social media and your digital marketing strategy. You see on that future writers that are not literature experts, targeting different audiences and your head of marketing leading all that effort to strengthen your presence on the Internet. You have to be prepared for supporting many users, with different roles and access to different sections of your website.

Project Team Helping all these users using a classical website system could be a nightmare because you have to make a lot of customizations to support several needs and you have to roll out these changes on your live site; furthermore, you need to train nontechnical people on HTML and design. Dealing with all of this, put the operations team in a pretty complex situation. Why a CMS? Well, because your CMS is the key to move a great deal of operational complexity out of your day by day making your department a more strategic player to ease the collaboration between all these people. 

As I mentioned before, understanding most of the new concepts around websites is challenging. Keeping up with the change might sound overwhelming but what I learned from this experience is that the effort is worth it. Our organization now uses the CMS tool from Sitecore, among other tools. Because of this decision, my team and myself are focusing more on providing tools and data that supports the decision making process to generate new content.


Lazaro S.

Lazaro has served as Vice President of Operations of Inflection Point since the company's inception in 2003. He has a Master of Engineering in Information Systems and more than 20 years of experience in the industry. He is an avid reader, volunteer lecturer and philanthropist and has written some really good posts for our blog.


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