It’s just as important to know what features aren't commonly found out of the box in a CMS. As this will give you a clear picture of what to look for in your system.
With both open source and commercial CMS system we often see a large list of features which include the kitchen sink and more. This is understandable in a highly competitive market and all providers need to match or exceed other competitors offerings.
It’s worth bearing in mind that because one CMS has feature X it doesn’t necessarily make it the better than another CMS, or right for you. What i'm trying to get across in this series of posts is the suitability of a CMS, it's flexibility and 'fit' to your business needs. These are the critical factors.
A CMS isn’t an e-commerce system.
So it won’t have a shopping basket or checkout and all that goes with an e-commerce platform. A CMS can hold product content types and pass these off to an e-commerce system. So there is a place for content management within e-commerce, but don’t expect your CMS out of the box to support these functions. There may be plug-ins to extend it's capabilities, but it's fair to say that e-commerce isn't a core capability of a CMS.
A CMS isn’t a CRM.
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is used to maintain a record of your customers and how you interact with them. Some people mistakingly think that user registration on their website, perhaps for commenting on posts, is the start of customer database. It is the start of a list of people who are interested in what you have to say online and little more. A CRM does much more than this. Firstly it the main system for recording a company's customers and potential customers. It keeps a record of how the company interacts with each client, their preferences, past orders and often key dates for renewals or reminders. It may store a customers email marketing preferences, so it's important to consider how an email marketing campaign can feedback into a CRM. Again, their will be some extensions to CMS systems that may cover the latter, but no CMS can emulate a dedicated CRM.
A CMS isn’t a booking system.
An hotel or spa therapy centre may want a CMS to manage content relating to their a booking process. A CMS is unlikely to give you a booking capability. Like with e-commerce a CMS can manage the content and pass users through into a booking process.
It is very important to note at this point that trying to find a CMS platform that supports booking, for example, is possible. There will be an extension or something that provides this capability. But to find a CMS with a content type that supports your product or service and booking criteria will be much harder.
Ok so that clarifies some of the fundamental assumptions or misconceptions. In the last two posts we've covered what the core capabilities of a CMS are. And what they aren't. In the next article in this series I'll look at extending a CMS using plugins and extensions. So tune in next week for the next installment!