by Adam Green on 15/08/12 at 4:11 pm
Every new generation of enterprise software means a new generation of tech jargon the business community must learn to love. Whereas “open source” may seem like the terminology of yesteryear – even though it shouldn’t, as we shall see – “cloud computing” is perhaps the latest buzzword many decision makers are only beginning to understand.
When it comes to choosing a CMS either to run your entire organization or just an aspect of it, understanding the possibilities that both these concepts can unlock couldn’t be more relevant to your long-term success and competitiveness.
Unfortunately, the proliferation of content management applications across a variety of verticals has created a lot of confusion. What’s an open source CMS? How do I know if I’m “in the cloud?” Why do I even care? These questions come up often, and they’re good questions.
For a long time, a proprietary, in-house CMS (i.e. not open source and not cloud-based) made sense for most organizations. That’s not true anymore. Here’s why:
Open source models lead to better software.
If you’re using a proprietary CMS or a self-hosted solution developed by a third party, you may have gotten the best CMS for your dollar back when you made the decision to implement it.
But how’s that legacy system working now? And how long does it take to update core functionality so that it evolves alongside your ever-changing business practices and workflows?
Maybe everything is fine. For now. Or maybe you’re already feeling frustrated. Either way, moving to an open source CMS would help you stay “current,” so to speak, and maintain an edge efficiency-wise.
To demonstrate why this is the case, let’s consider one such open source platform: WordPress. While it’s an example that’s been mentioned time and again, it’s so incredibly relevant to this discussion that I’m going to go ahead and talk about it anyway. Perhaps looking at WordPress in this context will even shed some new light on the efficacy of open source platforms.
WordPress is, in its most basic sense, a blogging platform. However, organizations of all sizes are increasingly using it to organize and deliver all of their Web content. It’s also open source, which means developers can:
- customize it to solve a business problem or usability issue
- devise completely new functionality that’s readily available to anyone using the CMS
- scale the CMS to grow with organizations
WordPress developers can and do perform all of the above. Since improvements to the CMS don’t depend on a small team of developers at the mercy of a single organization (this is true whether we’re talking about proprietary or third-party solutions), a large, active community forms around the solution, the long-term goals of which are ongoing changes and improvements that help everyone use the CMS to his or her greatest advantage.
In other words, open source means better software. WordPress helps us create and deliver Web content, but the idea is the same for a CMS serving a completely different purpose – like organizing and delivering health records to a medical institution, to cite one of hundreds of examples.
Open source, therefore, isn’t just a buzzword from a decade ago. It’s a concept that still helps organizations make across-the-board technology improvements.
Cloud computing means more flexibility.
And then there’s the cloud – that mysterious ethereal plane where data dwells and prospers.
At the enterprise level, it’s often easy to justify not moving to the cloud. Maybe the supposed differentiators between a cloud-based CMS and a self-hosted one don’t seem relevant. This will especially be true if you’ve never experienced server failure.
Kudos to you if you haven’t. It’s not fun.
But the cloud still delivers more flexibility, not to mention better security, for your CMS than traditional in-house solutions:
- In the cloud, automatic updates to your CMS are suddenly a possibility. That responsibility no longer lies with IT personnel.
- The cost of maintaining your own servers and data storage centers disappears completely. You save money in the long run.
- Employees become more mobile since access to data no longer depends on being in a particular physical location.
- The high redundancy employed by reputable cloud providers means your data is safer than ever. Stop worrying about fires, theft, and water damage.
If you’re an insurance company, a law firm, or even an IT systems provider, moving the content inside your CMS to the cloud allows you to do more with your data than you otherwise could. It will increase productivity and help you maintain a competitive edge (since, let’s face it, all your competitors are probably moving to the cloud, too).
Maybe it’s obvious, but WordPress is a cloud-based CMS. Did anyone ever have trouble accessing WordPress on a mobile device? Can you say the same thing about the CMS that runs your organization?
Probably not. That’s why for most organizations, most of the time, it finally makes sense to embrace a CMS that’s both open source and cloud-based. Doing otherwise could mean hanging on to a legacy solution that’s well past its prime.
About The Author: Adam Green contributed this article on behalf of Hubspan, a B2B cloud integration provider.