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Considering a Secondary CMS? Here's why you should choose WordPress

By Jon Martin, Technical director



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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March 5, 2020 | 8 min read

Some 60% of enterprise-level organisations use more than one CMS, according to VasonBourne’s survey of 300 marketing decision-makers. Of those companies that still only use one, 49% are considering introducing a secondary CMS next year.

Hallam provide a case for investing in Wordpress as a Secondary CMS.

What is a secondary CMS?

A secondary CMS is defined as an additional content management system that companies use alongside their primary one. Essentially, it means a dual operation, enabling brands to use for the most appropriate CMS for the task at hand.

Secondary CMS’ are typically used for the following:

  • Campaigns that need a microsite to be launched very swiftly - for example, pilots or prototypes
  • Campaigns that require custom integrations and/or tailoring for a one-off project
  • Campaigns that require flexible permissions and workflows to the task at hand
  • Projects that are blocked because of a shortage of primary CMS skills
  • Campaigns that do not require the full complexity of the primary CMS and/or associated processes and procedures
  • Microsites that need an easy to use block-based editor suitable for non-technical employees

Why choose WordPress?

With 66% of companies currently using it, WordPress powers over a third of the internet; making it an obvious choice for many high-growth companies. In fact, even enterprise companies (those with over 5,000 employees) should switch from the likes of Adobe to WordPress, as it helps to fulfill their increasing digital needs.

As WordPress’ functionality and usability becomes more sophisticated, companies are turning to it to develop scalable intranets and build microsites. Interestingly, enterprise companies that are considering a secondary CMS are three times more likes to choose WordPress than any other CMS.


Using WordPress as a secondary CMS in higher education

Our WordPress development team built Nottingham Trent University’s Welcome Week Site, using WordPress as the secondary CMS, with the main NTU site being powered by The Squiz Matrix specialist enterprise-level CMS.

The project required fast, flexible, and fully functional microsite implementation; yet NTU’s in-house CMS team were only able to focus on their own core projects. By choosing WordPress, it meant the in-house team could continue with their own work, while leveraging external skills and resources for an inexpensive, successful launch.

Should you invest in a secondary CMS?

With 60% of organisations currently using two systems, it’s no longer the norm to have just one.

If you have any strategic objectives that your current CMS can’t achieve - whether it’s due to scalability, flexibility or functionality issues - then you may wish to invest in a secondary CMS.

They’re particularly beneficial for content creation - secondary CMS’ are 60% more likely to be used for blogs, and 21% are more likely to be used for content hubs.


The advantages of using a secondary CMS?

Research shows that 100% of businesses surveyed who were using two CMS’ said that there were several benefits to it.

Easy to use

WordPress’ continuous amendments to its user-interface designs means they’re easy for both non-digital and technical people to use it to add and publish content. For that reason, other departments outside of IT can marketing can be in control of publishing their own digital communications.

Whilst you may have a legacy system that can conduct your newly identified job, it becomes an issue if you have a shortage of staff who are available to be trained. As WordPress is so intuitive to use, it’s much easier to get the hang of it without having to undergo lengthy training sessions.

Faster time to market

CMS’ are great at publishing content, but if they’re the sole CMS system, they need to successfully integrate with other business systems. Therefore, all changes or upgrades have to handled carefully, to ensure there are no knock-on effects for the whole website.

Therefore, the rolling out of features is often slowed down, which means that it becomes increasingly harder for brands to keep up with the changing expectations and demands of customers.

Introducing a secondary CMS can solve this problem. As it’s removed from the other functions of the website, it means brands can test and build a new product, service or campaign independently, and it can be launched much quicker.

More agile

A secondary CMS allows product teams to take full ownership over a new product or service, which enables them to roll out their own experiments that are independent to other systems in the business.

This quick turnaround means they can then be trialled at low costs, so winning ideas can be advanced, and the successful ones can be scrapped before they start to rack up extra costs.

Why choose WordPress as your secondary CMS?

The biggest benefit to WordPress - in the words of its users - is its open-source nature, which makes it totally customisable. Despite having lots of plugins available to choose from, developers can also create their own plugins, if what they’re looking for doesn’t exist. This results in a CMS system that is unique to your business’ needs.

Risks of using a secondary CMS

There are many benefits to using a secondary CMS, but there are also risks that you should consider, before reaching a decision.

Additional training is required

A new system also requires staff training. However, while those who were surveyed admitted that their business initially experienced a rocky patch, they stated that employees were much happier once they were comfortable with using the new CMS system, which resulted in the production of higher quality work.

Higher costs

Bringing in another CMS system will naturally result in higher costs than if you were to stick with just one. However, if you offset this cost against the opportunities - introducing new products and services faster, resulting in an increase in sales and revenue - then the investment is often worth it.

Greater room for error

The fact that a new CMS system requires the testing of multiple systems, there is naturally a greater room for error. However, any issues would be confined to that one CMS, as opposed to all systems across the whole business - as it would with a single CMS.

Final thoughts

The future looks bright for the secondary CMS. 49% of companies who use one CMS, said they’d invest in a second one; and out of the companies who don’t currently have any CMS’ (which is a tiny percentage), 22% said they’d use WordPress.

It’s also looking highly likely that WordPress will soon surpass Adobe, and become the number one content management system, thanks to its agile and customisable nature.

Jon Martin, technical director at Hallam.


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