CMS Selection Part 2: How to Select a Partner to Implement Your New CMS & Deliver Results

by Nik Wahlberg | September 18 2017

We wrote a piece for Umbraco on the CMS selection process. It details the complicated process from a client’s perspective. There are lots of success stories from website redesigns and CMS upgrades, including the ones featured in that piece. But, there’s a part of the story that’s missing and also critical to those successes: implementation of the CMS. Without a strong development and design team that knows how to use the selected CMS, your design project is destined to struggle. In this piece, we talk about selecting the development partner and the strategy it takes to get those strong results, regardless of which CMS you select.

Part one chronicled the path Jessica used to arrive at Umbraco, but that’s only the beginning. Without the expertise to implement and optimize the selected CMS, it can be like having the keys to a brand-new car, but having no idea how to drive. While Umbraco had the functionality and features that NASB and BBMC wanted and needed, out-of-the box none of that is configured. It’s a blank canvas. It is dependent upon your dev team to know how to set those up and help you configure the CMS so you can get the most out of it.

Once the CMS was selected, the very next step was to find a firm to work with to implement the CMS and design the site. With Umbraco, that started on the Umbraco Gold Partners page. The goal was to find a firm with the following attributes:

  • Located in North America
  • Long-term experience with Umbraco
  • Large portfolio showcasing design and development work
  • Strong financial services experience
  • A philosophy and process that would work well with internal timelines and team structures

With those things as the decision criteria, Jessica and her NASB team setout to find a design and development partner. That last bullet is not to be overlooked. There were internal pressures to deliver, but compliance constraints that were going to have to be worked through. Any redesign takes a lot of close coordination, communication and time. It was important to work with a team that was truly an understanding partner. Part project management, part task management, part cat wrangler to keep the project on time and on budget. At the end of the evaluation process, NASB and BBMC both selected Scandia as their design and development firm.

That selection was the difference between success and failure with implementing Umbraco. There are so many things that Scandia knew how to leverage and configure to align the website with our internal lead generation goals. Some of those things included some of the “must have” features for the site:

  • Publishing workflows
  • Speedbumps when leaving the site
  • Form workflow to post to the lead management system
  • Custom form functionality dependent upon site section
  • Optimal code base for SEO
  • Reusable page templates/layouts
  • Reusable widgets

The other big upside with this selection was the one-stop-shop for design and development. The fact that their UI and UX terms have so much experience working hand-in-hand was a huge plus. There were no disconnects between the design concept and the buildout of that look and feel.

Another strong plus was the time put into strategy development and understanding the various objectives of the site. Without an experienced partner with a process and platform experience, the successes highlighted in the first piece would certainly not have happened as quickly as they did. It quite possible that the results would never have been that strong.

Choosing the right CMS is an important part of the process, but without the right firm to implement you have the keys to the new car and not the car itself. Be at least as diligent about selecting the partner as you were with the CMS. That’s how you can launch a new website built for success from the ground up.

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