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4 Tips to Take the Headache Out of a Web CMS Change

Have a CMS change in your future? Follow these four tips for a smooth transition.

There are a lot of reasons you might be facing a web content management system (CMS) change.

For many hospitals and health systems, their CMS is out of date and the path to an upgrade is complicated. For others, their tool isn’t user-friendly and requires too much dependence on I.T. or a web vendor. Regardless, it’s a headache – and an opportunity.

Make the most of this chance to reevaluate the digital experience you want to put forward and vet new platforms and partners that can help you get there more effectively. Discover the top four things to look for in a new platform – and partner – that will help you find the right path forward

4 Tips for a smooth web CMS transition

When you entered into your current partnership and selected your current platform, you had high expectations the investment would go smoothly for years to come. Yet, here you are – on a legacy CMS with no clear upgrade path and maybe even an unsympathetic vendor.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Tip #1: Find a platform with proven upgrade history and active roadmap

CMS platforms must be continually invested in to keep up. Remember, your CMS should keep up with everything from changes in consumer behavior to algorithm updates from search engines like Google. Ask how many major and minor software upgrades there have been in the last year and a brief overview of what they were.

Also, ask to see a roadmap. It will help you to understand where the software is going and that there is a team actively working on enhancements. It’s also critical to ensure you don’t find yourself on a platform with no future.

Bonus: As you evaluate potential CMS systems, be sure future software updates aren’t an additional cost. Ask what the upgrade process looks like – will there be downtime? How does client feedback get incorporated into upgrades?

Tip #2: Confirm ease of use

If your marketing team can’t easily and quickly make edits without the help of a programmer or I.T. team, your platform can quickly become a burden. Make sure you select a platform that allows your team to easily:

  • Make content edits
  • Add videos and images
  • Spin up new pages
  • Update SEO data
  • Add documents
  • Change out banner images
  • And other common tasks you have to keep up for your website

If you can’t do these things on-team, you may end up spending valuable budget dollars on easy edits, or waiting for other teams to prioritize your work.

Bonus: Ask about training. With large healthcare organizations supporting dozens of content contributors – many of whom are often in different locations – it’s crucial to ensure there are training opportunities for your team and assets to help you onboard other users.

Tip #3: Make them prove their “proven” implementation process

When you sell a platform and plan of action internally, your reputation is on the line. You have a vested interest in making sure that the project gets done on-time and on-budget. The implementation phase of a platform change – and often site redesign – can take weeks, months, or even years. Know what you are getting into ahead of time by asking for a sample timeline for a project of your scope.

Some helpful questions that will help you get a sense of just how experienced they really are:

  • Have you done this for healthcare organizations with similar scope? (Ex: bringing microsites into the main site, building a provider directory, etc.)
  • Have you migrated from my current platform to this one?
  • Do you have experience with the type of APIs we need? (ex: credentialing systems)

Bonus: Don’t be afraid to ask for references. When you contact those references ask specific questions around implementation.

Tip #4: Ask about support – during implementation and beyond

The technology you decide to go with is obviously important, but the support around that change is a critical part of the re-platforming process. Pick a partner who will take the burden off your team and reduce stress throughout the project.

Look for a partner who will take a long-term view. Implementation partners who are only there for part of the journey might be fast to launch, but they don’t stick around for the long-term to make sure the platform actually works past go-live. They certainly won’t be there as you build on that new platform foundation to support more complex patient journeys.

Bonus: Asking for some common stats can also help you compare. For example, what’s the average client tenure? Or, are there client satisfaction scores the company can share? At Geonetric, many of our healthcare clients have been with us for over a decade. And in our last client satisfaction survey (2021) 80% of our clients gave us a 5.65 overall rating out of 6. These are numbers and stats we actively share and keep updated. Ask your potential vendor for stats like these to see what you can expect.

See a CMS change as an opportunity

Switching platforms can be a burden – but you can use the need to upgrade platforms to also advance digital strategy. At the end of the day, the technology you select is essential, but it’s also only part of the puzzle. If you can find a platform and a partner that meet your needs, you can truly build a reimagined web presence that lives up to its potential.

At Geonetric, we’re known for our healthcare-specific CMS, VitalSite. But our expert designers, developers, and project managers have proven experience implementing on multiple platforms, including Sitecore, WordPress, and Drupal – delivering the strategic support after go-live that’s key to success. Reach out if you’d like to see a demo of our CMS, learn about other platforms we support or talk about digital strategy needs.

4 Tips to Take the Headache Out of a Web CMS Change

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