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Customers expectations have changed: how can your CMS keep up?

By Nathan Gervais | 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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December 15, 2020 | 6 min read

Digital-first experiences have been the future for a while, but add a global pandemic into the mix and digital-first experiences become the present. Relevant story-telling, agile communication, and a standout customer experience is the need of the hour. The new world is customer-centric.

Appnovation on why agility is crucial to exceeding customer expectations.

Appnovation on why agility is crucial to exceeding customer expectations.

High-performing technology is the foundation on which the entire customer experience is built. You simply cannot create an industry-leading digital organization without the right tech to support business goals. The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated them beyond what many companies were prepared for.

This one-two punch of increased demand for amazing digital experiences, in addition to customers’ growing expectations, has made the need for a proactive strategic approach to technology more clear than ever. Digital experience delivery is not only an opportunity – it’s a necessity.

Your CMS is a customer experience engine

Digital strategy, UX, accessibility, security, and search-ability are all only as good as your CMS. It’s the fundamental tech building block of agility and customer experience. Its capabilities and ease-of-use impact agility and effectiveness across all the internal teams who touch it, directly impacting business outcomes.

Digital strategy and user experience

Enabling a modern, secure website alone doesn’t cut it. Put content, commerce, and community first. Your platform needs to support content strategies that create valuable experiences through optimized structures and responsive design.

Agility and scalability

Teams need the right tools to be efficient, agile and make a significant impact, whether it’s lead gen, conversion, online sales, or brand reputation. It begins with your CMS.


In 2020, accessibility is table stakes. Making sure your websites are fully engaging to the widest possible audience, regardless of ability, is good business and the right thing to do.


The digital-first world opens the door to security challenges. Building your customer experience on top of a CMS supported by a community committed to continuous development is just good sense.


Even when running a lot of code, a cutting-edge CMS can simultaneously reduce load times, improving SEO and the overall digital experience.

Drupal is one of the world’s most popular Content Management Systems (CMS). Powering the back-end management for more than 1 million websites, it is a mainstay for thousands of businesses. But, some of its older versions are coming up to their end of life.

What you need to know:

  • The latest version of Drupal 9 launched in June 2020. It marks a new beginning for the platform with a host of key upgrades.
  • Sites running on Drupal 7 and 8 are, and will, remain open to immediate risks, which include fewer security bug fixes and reduced support.
  • Tech support for Drupal 7 will end completely in November 2022 and November 2021 for Drupal 8.

While it might feel like a long time away, from a tech adoption perspective, it’s right around the corner. The benefits of the fast adoption of Drupal 9 far outweigh those remaining on outdated versions. For customer-centric organizations, holding off on the switch to Drupal 9 leaves the door wide open for multiple challenges across security, integration, and more. Hesitancy today will put your customer experience at risk tomorrow.

The many business benefits of Drupal 9

Several features make Drupal 9 stand out in the modern digital marketing landscape. Some highlights are:

Headless support

Drupal 9 can be used as a CMS only — integrating with another tech to display pages to the end-user. This gives you the option to run Drupal in the back-end and use other technologies that are specifically focused on optimized front-end flexibility and speedy load times.

Multilingual and multimedia

Driving engagement with the top content on mobile is critical for any organization. Drupal 9’s core multimedia capabilities offer video, audio, dynamic images, and more across a global range of languages.

Structured content

Drupal 9 delivers a modern and agile dev environment to build layouts and atomic design components instead of static pages. These quick, rapid prototype pages are an excellent way for marketing and content teams to generate content quickly with better authoring tools and higher visual accuracy.

Content workflows

The demand for high-quality, interactive digital content is higher than ever. With so much content being created every day, Drupal 9’s workflows that enable and automate throughout all development phases are invaluable.

The time to act is now

To maintain a truly customer-centric experience, leveling up the digital preparedness across your organization is critical. Eighteen months is a relatively long timeline for implementing a tech migration, but depending on the complexity and size of your organization, this can also fly by surprisingly fast. Advance warning for the end-of-life of Drupal 7 and 8 support gives us a rare opportunity to be well-aware – and prepared – of an impending digital need before it happens.

Pivot planning, agile digital planning, contingencies, and simplified production processes will make sure you’ve got the flexibility already built into your system to support rapid changes. Migrating to Drupal 9 sooner than later will give you increased flexibility and access to all of these critical business-boosting capabilities.

With more aspects of the customer journey relying on digital touchpoints, creating valuable digital experiences is business-critical.

Nathan Gervais, technical director at Appnovation.

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Content by The Drum Network member:


Appnovation is a global full-service digital consultancy. We seamlessly integrate strategy, user experience, development, deployment, training and support, allowing clients to continuously innovate their digital services and touchpoints.

Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, we are a community of 350 people in 15 offices across five countries including Canada, the US, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

Appnovation. Inspiring Possibility.

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