The Stiff Side of CMS? New Study Shows Brands Struggling to Integrate, Adapt & Learn

A new study by Software Advice has uncovered some surprising statistics to do with the rigidity of enterprise content management systems.

The study consisted of Software Advice surveying brands and businesses about their enterprise CMS experiences. Below is a breakdown of the company sizes sampled, sorted by number of employees.

As you can see from the graph above, Software Advice took a broad range of company sizes into account with their study. Here's what they uncovered.

Key Findings

  1. A majority of respondents rate their CMS as “very important” in overcoming content-related business challenges, such as distributing documents and tracking changes.
  2. The three CMS applications employees use most frequently are document distribution, reporting/analytics and content capture.
  3. Reporting and analytics functionality is used daily by 63% of companies with over 1,000 employees, but by only 47% of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.
  4. Nearly half (48%) of respondents report “moderate to major” difficulty integrating their CMS with other systems, while 37% say the same about customizing their CMS system.
  5. 41% of respondents describe learning to use a CMS and training others as a challenge: 35% say the challenge is “moderate,” while 6% call it a “major challenge.”

Most of these findings are to be expected. We all know how important a CMS is to both content and analytical processes, particularly in the enterprise market. However, those last two findings stand out like two particularly sore thumbs.

As we move past the halfway mark of 2015, I certainly don't expect to see almost half of the businesses surveyed to be struggling majorly with integrations. Nor do I expect to see 41% of them struggling to train their employees.

These findings expose the rigid nature of today's enterprise content management systems. It's a problem. But is it a problem that can be alleviated?

How Solvable Is This Rigidity?

The three main issues here are; integration, customization, and training. Let's take a look at each one individually.

Integration Issues

Brands are having trouble when it comes to integrating their CMS with third-party solutions.

For the most part, enterprise content management systems do a good job of making sure big guns like Salesforce, Marketo, Mailchimp, and Google Analytics are catered for. The top tier of the CRM and MAS (Marketing Automation System) industries is where most enterprise CMS align themselves.

But perhaps the company's surveyed were talking about the not-so-popular solutions. Maybe it's time enterprise CMS vendors expanded their scope in this regard. The study certainly suggests that they should.

Customization Issues

When it comes to customization, the difficulty faced here could be the symptom of an issue brought about by the brand in question, rather than the CMS.

What I mean by that is, if a company is facing difficulty when customizing the way a certain CMS performs or presents, then that may well fall under the blame of the company's CMS selection. It's unfair to brand a CMS as un-customizable when you're trying to change its fundamentals.

However, if the survey question was regarding design customization, then I agree that this is an area where enterprise platforms fall short. Brands should be able to personalize their working environments beyond simply adding their logo.

Training Issues

Here's where CMS vendors really don't have much of an excuse.

A company which adopts your software shouldn't only be offered one round of training. They should be offered adequate training in training others, too.

Brands are constantly shifting employees from one department to another, while many new recruits enter such organizations all the time. Each time this happens, new processes and functions will need to be taught all over again. A single training session (or even a single round of training sessions) at the very beginning of the vendor-client relationship simply isn't a realistic solution.

Furthermore, customized training manuals should be something we see more of. When a company works with a vendor to configure the CMS in a certain way, documentation should be provided to help the company carry on training staff as years go by.

Reaction Required

CMS vendors need to react to this study.

Exactly how they react will need to vary, depending on how much they already offer when it comes to integration, customization, and training. But there needs to be some action here, as company's are clearly struggling with these rather important aspects of their digital workload.

Integrating with only a small range of third party applications is becoming less and less acceptable, while client training is something that needs a serious re-think, from a variety of angles.

How do you think vendors should react to this study? Let us know in the comments below, or start a discussion on the CMS forums.