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CMS Migrations: The Cost of Doing Nothing

Chris Osterhout SVP of Strategy
#CMS, #Industry Insights, #Digital Strategy
Published on December 12, 2018

We get it, planning to migrate to a new CMS platform can be scary and costly. Furthermore, it's extremely easy to have a big ticket item such a platform migration cut from corporate budgets or delayed for various reasons.

We've talked before about the need to keep your CMS up-to-date and how planning for continuous upgrades is something that needs to be budgeted and accounted for. We've also talked about ways to budget for migrations to more modern and scalable CMS platforms such as Episerver. However, we haven't historically discussed the cost of not migrating to a new CMS when it becomes essential to do so. "Spoiler alert, the answer isn't zero dollars."

We get it, planning to migrate to a new CMS platform can be scary and costly. Furthermore, it's extremely easy to have a big ticket item such a platform migration cut from corporate budgets or delayed for various reasons. That's why you normally see a platform migration tied to a website redesign or a corporate rebranding exercise because when there is executive sponsorship on those initiatives, it only makes sense to hitch a ride on those coattails.

However, organizations don't rebrand very often and most corporations don't plan for website redesigns until they absolutely have to, so websites and website platforms become stagnant. This often leads to the "if it's not broke, don't fix it" mentality. or the "we don't have the budget this year" syndrome. While these are very common and valid reasons to hold off on a platform migration (almost always due to budget constraints), it isn't the migration budget companies should be worried about, it's the opportunity costs of not migrating when they should.

Lost Revenue

Not having the right tools at your disposal to engage audiences especially when it comes to eCommerce can be detrimental to an organization's success. For example, if an organization has an eCommerce website, but their platform doesn't have the ability to retarget abandoned shopping carts, it is almost guaranteed to be leaving money on the table. Imagine if the right platform was in place, how long it would take to recoup and start to see ROI on a platform migration cost. In most cases, especially in eCommerce, this is in as little as three months post-launch.

Lost Opportunities

When it comes to the digital landscape, speed and agility are key components to success. The overall time it takes to bring a campaign to life can make or break an organizations ability to seize momentum or capitalize on market trends. If it takes too long, takes too many resources, or takes too much money to realize an end result, companies unintentionally slow the pace of change and in doing so, miss out on opportunities their competition is capitalizing on. In many of these scenarios, the lost revenue potential exceeds the cost of a CMS migration by 10x.

Lost Efficiencies

We have come across many organizations that use CMS platforms for their intranets. In the process of interviewing employees who use the intranet websites on a daily basis, it was astounding to reverse engineer the lost FTE investments by having platforms that don't work well. For example, if the website is too slow, which makes it hard for users to find what they need, this can be detrimental to employee efficiencies.

Let's take a look at this oversimplified example: in several organizations that we worked with, users spent on average 7.5 minutes per hour using the intranet to find things that should have been easier to find. On the surface that seems like not a lot of time, however, imagine that the average hourly rate for employees at an organization is $25.00/hr and everyone works eight hour days. If an organization has 1,000 employees x (1 hours per day of lost productivity) x $25.00/hr = $25,000 per day in lost productivity or $750,000 per month or $9,000,000 per year. If a CFO knew that they could make an investment in a platform migration and gain back over half of that lost efficiency, do you think they would do it? Absolutely!

As you can see, simply avoiding the capital expense of a platform migration may not really be saving an organization any money. As a matter of fact, it may be costing them more money than they ever realized.