When selecting a web content management system, do business requirements really matter? Business requirements are very fickle and change all too frequently. So to some extent, what really matters more is extensibility.
All too often, nontechnical users simply do not understand the dynamics of selecting the right tools and platforms for development - they are driven by the business requirements of the here and now. This means they may try to select content management systems where they can get things done by themselves and completely bypass what they believe is the developer team bottleneck.
As an application developer, you know that 9 out of 10 business users will more than likely never understand the development process – or anything about the software lifecycle, for that matter. I’m sure that some nontechnical people you know think that developers merely press a few buttons and applications simply build themselves. But what are they to know? Their world is one of WYSIWYG, drag & drop environments. Talk about ASP.NET, extensible APIs, HTML5 and jQuery… you’ll soon be the recipient of blank stares and hear a whooshing sound right over their heads.
So based upon their current requirement, a business user might influence an organization toward a proprietary WCM that fits those needs, but lacks the flexibility and extensibility for tomorrow's business requirements.
Selecting WCM technology that will stand the test of time
Now remember, to a “business user" a solution is not just about systems, code or technology. For them, technology is a means to an end. They look to technology to solve business problems… driven by business needs.
Business users are technology agnostic.
If they didn't have to involve the development team... they wouldn't. They seek whatever technology they perceive will empower their business to easily engage, convert and retain customers. And in the selection of this technology, they may not see how some proprietary system does not allow them to evolve with changes in the market requirements.
Your objective, as a .NET developer, is the same as a business user - to empower the business to engage, convert and retain. Select the wrong technology, however, and the business may not fully achieve its market goals. For instance, select a web content management system with an API that lacks flexibility and extensibility may delay the entire project's deployment. Or even worse, select a proprietary WCM and you may not achieve your business goals at all due to its lack of customization. So your influence with the business user is key.
A few things to consider when selecting a WCM:
- Is the WCM based upon a robust web technology like ASP .NET? Does it provide reusable controls and views, as well as data providers? These technologies enable you to customize your WCM to address unique project requirements without sacrificing the ability to address future criteria.
- Does the WCM let you define custom content types using a Web-based interface? This allows you to define new data models to create one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many associations with other content types.
- Is it flexible? As a .NET developer, can you switch freely between Web Forms, MVC, and even a mix mode where the two can coexist on the same page?
Now... think about how you can interpret these considerations for the business user and how it will help them achieve their long term goals.
One thing is certain - business requirements change. You can help your business user understand that extensibility is the real key in selecting a WCM – not necessarily the current business requirements. Over time, your unique project requirements will evolve as the market shifts. Will your choice in a WCM enable you to easily adjust and adapt the way you need it to?
Learn more about the extensibility of Telerik Sitefinity's CMS and how you can extend it to meet your unique project requirements for today and beyond.