21 reasons to switch to a cloud-based CMS solution

by Saimir Gasa, Technical Cloud Product Manager at Magnolia
Feb 25, 2020 | 12 MIN

For businesses of all sizes and industries, with many types of customers, a content management system (CMS) has evolved from a valued convenience to an absolute necessity. These platforms help companies create new content, maintain existing content, and reach new markets.

Thousands of businesses, however, still use on-premise CMS platforms that burden their IT staff, content creators, and marketing experts. These systems demand so much attention and draw from so many company resources that they can quickly become liabilities, instead of the efficiency tools they’re intended to be.

What is a Cloud CMS?

With these limitations in mind, many companies are considering switching from an on-premise legacy CMS to a cloud-based platform. A cloud CMS has the same functionality as a traditional CMS, allowing authors to create, update, and delete content as needed.

The main difference is that, while the site owners typically deploy a legacy CMS, a third-party host manages those duties for a cloud-based CMS. Cloud providers, such as Google Cloud or Amazon Web Services, can host CMS platforms for hundreds or thousands of companies while applying resources that on-premise platforms can’t match.

21 Cloud CMS Benefits

If you’re using an on-premise CMS right now and are preparing for a CMS migration, here are some of the advantages of cloud CMS that you can pitch to your stakeholders.

1. Low Upfront Costs

A significant advantage that cloud CMS platforms give enterprises is one that impacts every sector of any industry: startup costs. An on-premise CMS requires that buyers purchase a license for the software, purchase or lease hosting space, rent bandwidth, install and test the software, and prepare the system for launch.

The only startup costs required for a cloud CMS are the initial subscription fees. The cloud providers handle all the other tasks associated with initiating the system. This startup process frees up additional resources to handle more crucial tasks.

2. Accessibility

With an on-premise CMS, content creators have limited access to the platform they need to perform their most vital roles. While some on-premise systems may have intranet or extranet capabilities, these systems are only as accessible as the host on which they reside.

A cloud CMS platform is accessible from anywhere, at any time, on any device. Content creators can use the platform with their desktops in their offices, their laptops at home, or their portable devices on the road, allowing them the opportunity to create and update content on the fly and keep the content as current and relevant as possible.

3. Flexibility

Many on-premise CMS packages have been created based on a “one size fits all” model. These systems offer many of the same essential functions to businesses of all types but provide limited flexibility in the roles that they can fulfil. Buyers are left waiting for upgrades that may or may not fulfil their needs, or offering limited functionality to their users and customers.

Cloud-based CMS platforms offer flexible options that allow creators to craft their content for specific markets, regions, products, devices, and events. This level of flexibility also gives shareholders the agility they need to keep their enterprises ahead of the competition and in touch with their customers’ needs.

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4. Scalability

A CMS that does not grow and adapt to a business’s needs can only be a useful tool for so long. As companies reach new markets, new countries, and new levels of traffic, their CMS must scale up to meet those needs. Just as a lawnmower engine won’t power a tractor-trailer, a CMS with limited scalability won’t power a business that needs to keep up with growing markets.

A cloud-based CMS has built-in tools to handle upscaling. When a business needs to adapt to higher traffic levels, the cloud provider can offer a subscription plan to meet those needs. Conversely, when traffic takes a downturn, the client can scale back their plan and apply their resources elsewhere.

5. Content Velocity

The speed of a traditional CMS faces limitations on numerous fronts: the bandwidth available to the user, the capabilities of the content creation software, and the power of the on-premise hardware, among others. Each of these factors can hamper how quickly valuable content can reach customers who need to see it.

Cloud technology removes many of these limitations. Content can be viewed as soon as it’s posted, allowing customers from all over the world to get what they need faster, which can make those customers more willing to do business with the content provider.

6. IoT Capabilities

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows content creators to reach potential customers through a wide range of devices. Not only does IoT technology enable customers to consume content through tablets and smartphone apps, but the same content can also be viewed on platforms ranging from in-store kiosks to in-car displays.

While a traditional CMS may not have the capabilities to reach audiences through IoT devices, a cloud-based CMS software lets content authors reach audiences on an array of devices. The flexibility of cloud CMS platforms can adapt content for nearly any setting.

7. Enhanced Security

News stories involving hacking, malware, and data theft make headlines around the world nearly every week. Content managers must ensure that their sensitive data, both for their company and their customers, is secured from attack, both from internal and external perpetrators.

With an on-premise CMS, those security tasks fall to either internal staff members or external consultants, each of which can be costly in different ways. With a cloud-based CMS, those tasks are handled by the cloud providers, who have dedicated personnel to monitor their security systems on a regular basis.

8. Automatic Updates

One of the biggest expenses associated with an on-premise CMS is the need to maintain software updates. Clients must purchase these updates through the publishers, install them, test them, and make sure that they work with the existing content. These chores can require thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to complete.

The providers for cloud-based CMS platforms typically include software updates with the subscription fees. The providers also handle the testing and deployment of updates to ensure that their clients can use the latest features, while still maintaining their online presence.

9. Enhanced Collaboration

Every enterprise-level entity, as well as most small to medium-sized businesses, relies on a team of content creators, editors and managers to ensure that their content is on time, on-brand, and on message. These efforts require a high level of communication and collaboration among the numerous team members.

Cloud-based CMS software often includes version control, so that editors can look over various iterations of the content and decide which facets they want to include. Also, the highly-accessible nature of a cloud CMS platform allows team members to work on projects from anywhere, at any time, alone or in groups.

10. Smoother Integration

Although a strong CMS is a vital component of any company, it cannot fulfil all of a company’s needs. Companies rely on systems ranging from eCommerce to inventory control to customer relationship management (CRM) systems to ensure that their operations run smoothly. They also rely on these systems working well together to save them time and money.

Nearly every cloud-based CMS platform has the capability to add new features, integrate multiple applications, and work seamlessly with various platforms, often from a single dashboard. Many cloud-based CMS packages provide an array of integration options with commonly-used systems, removing the need for customized integration tasks.

11. Enhanced Productivity

When content authors must face the inherent limitations found in traditional CMS platforms, their productivity and creativity can be severely hampered. They must spend their time on “workarounds” based on the limitations of their tools, rather than delivering the results they want (and their customers demand).

With the enhanced accessibility and collaboration tools that cloud-based CMS packages offer, content creators can see their efforts rewarded, and their productivity boosted, often with less effort than they’d need to exert while working with traditional platforms.

12. Platform Independent

The choice of an on-premise CMS often depends on the platform or infrastructure that the client has in place. These infrastructure conflicts can limit the platforms that the office can use. For instance, an office that operates mainly on a Linux platform will not choose a Windows-based CMS, regardless of whether it offers all the features they could need.

Since a cloud-based CMS works on any device that can use a web browser, the platform that the office uses becomes irrelevant. For instance, the blog writer can post their entry on a Google Android tablet, while the photo artist adds their graphics with their iPad, and the CMS handles each request without conflict.

13. Remote Working

Many traditional on-premise CMS platforms require that team members who work with those systems do that work on-premise. This requirement may be due to lack of intranet capabilities, lack of security resources, or lack of platform flexibility. This requirement also forces team members to waste time commuting to the office, which translates into lost time and productivity.

The accessibility of a cloud-based CMS means that content creators can work from home, on the road, or from any remote location. This level of accessibility makes for happier, more productive team members, as well as lower costs for the enterprise.

14. Technical Support

An on-premise CMS puts all the maintenance, support, and downtime tasks on the shoulders of the internal IT staff. These tasks take them away from accomplishing other vital tasks, as well as preventing them from enhancing and updating the current systems and platforms.

With a cloud-based CMS, all of the technical support tasks fall on the dedicated staffers at the cloud provider’s server farm. These highly-trained professionals handle the task of maintaining the CMS, while the client’s IT staff can concentrate on their own business.

15. Future-Proofing

While no one can predict what the future will bring with perfect accuracy, companies that can adapt to changes faster than their competition can gain a significant advantage. Meanwhile, outdated on-premise CMS platforms often put users at a disadvantage, as these systems can be difficult to adapt to new circumstances.

The flexible approach built into cloud-based CMS platforms lets them adapt to changes in customer needs, market demands, and technological capabilities. This type of “future-proofing” lets clients adapt quickly and get an edge on their industry rivals.

16. Streamlined Document Management

Content creation is not the only task that involves CMS platform users. A major chore involves managing the data that an enterprise creates, as well as tracking the metadata that describes the purpose and content of that data. While on-premise CMS solutions can manage that content, these platforms often lack the power to allow users to maximize their use of that data.

A cloud-based solution can manage the content, populate the metadata, and apply powerful search functionality. This power allows users to find the content they need when they need it, and use that content to its maximum effect.

17. Sustainability & Eco-Friendliness

The “green” benefits of a cloud-based CMS go beyond the cash that the client saves. An on-premise CMS requires extensive physical and electrical resources to launch, maintain, and update. These requirements not only tax a firm’s bottom line, but they also take a toll on Mother Nature.

A cloud-based CMS alleviates that burden from the client. Instead of having hundreds of separate systems drawing from the power grid and exploiting vital resources, a cloud CMS consolidates those separate systems into one place, vastly reducing the environmental impact while maintaining the access to the latest technology.

18. Disaster Recovery

When disaster strikes, an enterprise often focuses on how (or if) they can recover their critical data. When an on-premise CMS takes the brunt of the damage from a disaster, the recovery process can be a lengthy one, assuming the data and systems can be recovered at all.

Even if a devastating fire, flood, or other disaster strikes a client’s central offices, the crucial data in a cloud-based CMS can still be safe and accessible to stakeholders and customers so that the enterprise can focus on other aspects of the recovery process.

19. Freedom for Developers

The tasks involved in maintaining an on-premise CMS can drain an IT staff of vital time, energy, and resources. These resources can be applied to other issues that can impact the bottom line, but the necessities involved in keeping the CMS up to speed prevent developers from applying those resources to their fullest.

Not only does the cloud-based CMS help content creators enhance their productivity, but it can also do the same for developers and other IT staff. Instead of creating the “workarounds” that the content authors need to get the current system to work, they can apply their talents to improving other internal systems, assessing new technologies, or investigating new solutions.

20. Multi-Site Management

For enterprise-level clients, content creation is far from a monolithic process. These clients must create content that appeals across national boundaries, cultural norms, and language barriers. Each of these markets may require a dedicated content repository, which can stretch the capabilities of an on-premise CMS platform.

The leading cloud CMS solutions offer multi-site support, all from the same dashboard. This dashboard lets content managers determine which content goes to specific sites dedicated to targeted markets.

21. Multi-Tenant Architecture

Enterprise CMS solutions also often require multi-tenant support. Each “tenant” pulls its content from a central database, while also managing its own hosting chores. For instance, an enterprise that handles multiple brands may use some common elements, while still maintaining independent brand identities.

An on-premise solution may require instances of separate CMS platforms for each brand. A cloud CMS solution allows multiple tenants to share content, data, and resources across numerous brands while avoiding duplication of content or maintenance tasks.

Get Your Head in the Clouds

With advantages ranging from reducing resource drain to engaging customers with emergent technologies, cloud-based CMS platforms are quickly becoming the choice for enterprise-level solutions.

When it comes to cloud CMSs, one such solution is Magnolia CMS, trusted by brands such as Moo and Alarabiya.

About the Author

Saimir is a product manager at Magnolia focusing on actively discovering and validating ideas around the Cloud focus area. Through continuous market evaluation, he proposes and creates product value for users, clients, and partners. Saimir has a strong programming background holding a Masters degree in Management Information Systems, Batchelor’s degree in Computer Science, as well as AWS Certified Solutions Architect certification.

See all posts by Saimir Gasa