4 Questions to Ask When Buying Content Management Software

Jazmine Betz
Jazmine Betz  |  November 29, 2018

Effective and cohesive content management is an underrated, but critical, component of any business’ software ecosystem.

All employees, from sales to marketing to IT, benefit from having easy access to the correct files and assets exactly when they need them.

But there are plenty of valid questions that come with picking a content management system (CMS). The CMS space is plentiful, and figuring out which solution is best for your business can be daunting. We’re going to address the most common questions that come with buying a CMS and offer some considerations to keep in mind when moving forward.

Questions when researching content management software

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when in the research and buying process of a new CMS

1. Why should I have a content management system?

A content management system is a staple of the modern business software ecosystem—and for good reason. A well-managed CMS allows users to find the files they need when they need them. Typically, a CMS is cloud-based and made available on a variety of devices, ensuring your team access to content regardless of their location. In addition, many CMS are heavily focused on collaboration tools and provide your team with an extra outlet to work on content together.

2. What kind of content management system should I buy?  

The type of CMS that will be best for your team is highly dependent on two factors: the type of content the CMS will be handling and which teams will be using the CMS. The vast majority of CMS are used company-wide, but there are some options that are intended for more specialized teams. For example, digital asset management (DAM) software is used to file and store branded assets used by marketing teams. While DAM systems offer all the same hallmark functions of a CMS, they also feature additional functionality that can specifically assist in handling marketing content.

With this in mind, it’s also not uncommon for a company to utilize multiple CMS, with each one handling specialized content. Some companies will choose to employ one CMS for content such as records and contracts and another for collaborative team-created content. Many CMS integrate with one another as well, providing a smooth pipeline for content to move through.

3. How much does a CMS cost?

CMS can vary widely in cost; some vendors offer a base version for free, while others feature more extensive but more expensive functionality. Two main factors impact the cost of a CMS: feature set and storage space. Straightforward CMS software, like a business content management system, are low in cost or even free in some cases. Many of these products will offer tiered payment options based on the amount of storage space necessary.

On the other hand, an enterprise content management system is intended for large-scale use, and accordingly provides massive cloud storage space and extensive functionality. As a result, these products tend to have a much higher upfront or monthly cost but are oftentimes incredibly necessary to keep bulk content like health records or contracts organized.

4. Should I have multiple content management systems?

Whether your company requires more than one CMS depends heavily on a number of factors. This includes the type of content handled, how much content is being handled, and the number of users accessing the CMS. Your business might require one specialized CMS like a digital asset management system to handle their marketing content and then another, more general CMS like a business content management system or an enterprise content management system to handle their internal documentation.

Additional Buying Considerations for Content Management Software

How many users or collaborators will need to access this CMS

Some CMS products will charge by the “seat” or will offer users differing amounts of storage space. Keeping this question in mind is key to finding an appropriately priced tool for your use case. You might find yourself with either too much space that’s difficult to pay for or not enough licenses for each of the employees in your company.

The type of content being handled  

As mentioned earlier, some CMS are intended for specific types of documents. Digital asset management systems benefit an active marketing team, while enterprise content management products often provide users with varying levels of permissions and storage for documents such as health records, contracts, and agreements.

What kind of team is using the CMS

The content type being created and handled is impacted by the type of team in question. Marketing and sales teams may require a DAM to quickly export branded assets, but those functions aren’t as useful to an IT professional. Looking at your team and their needs is an easy way to narrow down the list of content management products best for your business.

Simple file storage or additional file creation  

While there is some overlap between business content management software and file storage and sharing tools, the latter is less focused on the content creation aspect of content management. Instead, file storage and sharing solutions offer more straightforward content storage and sharing capabilities without content collaboration elements. Some businesses will find the functionality they require without the extra frills attached to other content management solutions.

The amount of storage space needed

The storage space required out of a CMS is going to directly impact the product’s cost. Oftentimes a CMS is going to be cloud-based, and the more cloud storage space required, the more a tool will cost. However, many offerings are tiered by storage space, meaning it can scale as a business grows or only offer as much space as needed. This means that CMS providers give businesses the ability to only opt for as much storage space as they need, keeping the product affordable, even as a business grows.

Ready to take the next step? Learn about all types of content management software from real user reviews and data in 2018.

Jazmine Betz

Jazmine Betz

Jazmine is a Research Specialist focusing on content management and collaboration software at G2 Crowd. She earned her Bachelor’s in psychology from the frozen tundra of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She enjoys running games of Dungeons and Dragons and spending too much time playing DotA 2.