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Aligning Site Infrastructure with Business Requirements

Chris Osterhout SVP of Strategy
#CMS, #Episerver, #Ektron, #Hosting
Published on July 14, 2015

Learn about the importance of making sure your selected CMS platform will provide the infrastructure needed to meet your business needs.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, more technologies and options are becoming easily accessible to companies’ marketing departments, providing them with the ability to do things like manage content across multiple channels, track analytical data, and create personalized content targeted directly to individual customers. But while these technologies provide many great opportunities for driving website traffic and conversions, every company needs to make sure that their website’s infrastructure requirements fit with their business requirements.

It’s important for a company to understand their website’s underlying technology, whether it will be utilizing a Content Management System (CMS) which runs on a physically hosted server or a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Here are 4 things you need to be aware of when considering a CMS platform:

1. What Are Your Actual Business Requirements?

A website’s infrastructure business requirements often come from the company’s technology group, rather than the marketing team. If your marketing department is making the decision about which CMS platform to use, they will need to find out what the business mandates and ensure that the selected platform will be able to meet your company’s requirements. You’ll need to know the answers to questions such as:

  • How many production servers do you need?
  • Do you need “hot and/or cold” failovers?
  • Do you need an offsite Disaster Recovery (DR) solution?
  • Do you need an authoring environment?
  • Do you need load balancing?

Understanding these requirements and what needs to be done to meet them is crucial for the success of a company’s website.

2. Is Your Selected CMS Platform Capable of Meeting Your Business Requirements?

Before moving forward with planning for a website redesign, you’ll need to know whether your selected CMS platform meets the business requirements that have been defined. For example, if your company requires you to maintain an offsite DR location for your website, can your CMS replicate content, assets, and site templates to a separate environment?

The Ektron CMS offers eSync, an out of the box solution for managing multi-tier environments, but this type of functionality is not natively available in every CMS. If your chosen platform does not meet these requirements, you may need to take further steps to determine if it is necessary to find a new CMS, or if a third-party solution can be utilized to meet your needs.

3. What Are the Actual Hosting Requirements for Your Selected CMS?

For CMS platforms which utilize a physically hosted server, you’ll need to know the required specifications that will ensure that your website performs at an optimal level. In many cases, newer versions of CMS platforms require higher level hosting packages with a certain amount of RAM, CPU speed, and disk space. You’ll need to understand these hardware requirements and make any appropriate upgrades where needed.

4. What Needs to Be Done From an Infrastructure Perspective to Ensure Your Selected CMS Meets Your Business Requirements?

If your CMS selection has already been made, but you discover that it is not capable of meeting your business requirements out of the box, you will need to determine how these needs can be met.

For instance, if you have the requirement to synchronize your site between multiple hosting tiers, but your selected CMS is not natively capable of doing so, you will need to determine how to make that happen through custom coding or third-party functionality. In some cases, a CMS will sync content, but not website templates or files, in which case you will need to utilize a third-party solution such as Robocopy to move these assets between different tiers of your hosting environment.

It is also important to understand that, in some cases, if a CMS does not synchronize its databases across multiple hosting tiers, some versions of Microsoft SQL allow for data replication. However, some versions of SQL do not provide this functionality, so you will need to understand whether you will need to upgrade your database software to a version that does so.

It is imperative to understand the capabilities of your selected CMS platform and what needs to be done to ensure that it is able to meet your business requirements. This includes accounting for any licensing costs for Microsoft SQL or any third-party solutions necessary to meet your needs.

Know Your CMS

Ultimately, it is incredibly important to understand that the functionality offered by different CMS platforms can vary greatly. The Ektron CMS has a strong synchronization product, the EPiServer CMS offers cloud-based SaaS hosting, and other platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the capabilities of your selected platform is essential for meeting the needs of your company, and, ideally, you will be able to understand how to ensure that your selected CMS platform meets your requirements when planning for a website redesign or replatform. Otherwise, you will likely end up scrambling to meet them before launching your new website, resulting in a chaotic launch and a less-than-optimal experience for both you and your website’s users.

Do you need help understanding the capabilities of your selected CMS platform and how it can meet your company’s business requirements? We’re happy to work with you to help you find the best solutions and ensure the success of your digital strategy. Please contact us to speak with a Solutions Engineer, or feel free to share any questions in the comments below. We look forward to working with you!