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Create Superior CX: 7 Steps to Move Your CMS to the Cloud

Create Superior CX with these 7 Steps to Move Your CMS to the Cloud

I’m frequently asked, why does moving to the cloud improve customer experience (CX)? As just one example, leveraging the power of the cloud makes it easy to integrate third-party systems into the CMS. Doing so reduces time-to-value for new features, such as AI-based personalization functionality, which creates superior experiences for customers. In addition, without the need for increased IT support, marketers can quickly and easily deliver inspiring experiences that inform, advise, and compel customers to action on any digital channel.

Once I answer that question, companies want to know two things:

1.  How can we scale great digital experiences (DX) more easily?

2.  How can we strengthen our security measures as we do so?

The two main issues, DX scale, and security are magnified when a company’s digital footprint is hosted on-premise. This is a big issue because the company is on the hook for ongoing maintenance and updates, patches for security issues, and ensuring scalability. 

Adoption rates of moving to the cloud continue to rise. The Cloud Adoption in 2020 report states that, even before the pandemic, 88% of companies were leveraging cloud infrastructure in some form, while almost half said that they expect to move at least 75% of their applications to the cloud over the next 12 months. And analysts say the shift to cloud-based commerce and services due to the pandemic has further accelerated digital transformation by at least five years.

To leverage the benefits of cloud technology, consider these steps you can take to migrate your CMS to the cloud:

1. Survey the Landscape to Inform Your Strategy

Take a three-stage approach. Identify key stakeholders since you'll need to involve multiple people in the migration. It’s a good idea to create a SWAT team. Talk with people who have made the move to the cloud – migrations can be tough, and it’s beneficial to learn from those who have gone through it before. If you’re speaking with a CMS vendor, ask for case studies or speak with companies who have made the leap.

Develop a strategy. Don’t do this on the fly. Have a thorough understanding of costs, impact on employee productivity, updates to security policies, and compliance issues to address.

2. Create a Blueprint that Targets Increasing ROI

Assess your current IT assets, which will give you an inventory of your applications, storage, network devices, and physical and virtual servers. This helps you plan your future infrastructure needs and scalability requirements and determine how to handle sensitive data. 

One option to consider is deploying a mixed on-premise solution. For instance, consider an on-premise digital asset management system plus a cloud-deployed FirstSpirit Digital Experience Platform with hybrid headless CMS.

3. Know Established Patterns with Migrations

Here are three recommendations based on what I’ve seen from dozens of migrations to the cloud. First, start fresh – also known as a greenfield or discard-and-replace strategy. Why? It helps you tailor a solution that fits your specific needs. Second, leverage existing code by taking a refactor or refresh approach. This helps eliminate outdated technology. Third, known as lift-and-shift, takes the rehosting approach: the application is moved without changing its architecture, which prevents the ability to take full advantage of cloud-native features, reducing the cost-effectiveness of this option as a migration path.

4. Select an Operations Model

Be careful here since many headless CMS solutions provide a basic start-up process. Talk with your CMS vendor to make sure that they understand that time-to-market is critical, especially with greenfield migration strategies. For example, the FirstSpirit Experience Accelerator is a cloud-based starter package with an out-of-the-box Progressive Web Application (PWA) front-end to leapfrog typical CMS implementation time ahead by up to 75% for faster time to market and accelerated time to revenue.

What is a Progressive Web Application (PWA)?

5. Set QA Expectations and Support Level Requirements

Very carefully outline your quality assurance expectations as expressed in Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Defining SLAs is an integral part of delivery quality and determining total cost of ownership (TCO). Evaluate whether your existing support levels meet your needs and ensure your teams are well supported by their cloud CMS vendor. Relying on your company’s internal IT department is one possibility, although working with your CMS vendor or cloud implementation partner would likely save costs and lighten operational burdens.

6. Calculate TCO

Go in with eyes wide open – make sure you understand the costs involved with selecting a DXP, additional IT services you’ll tap into, costs of servers and support, software licensing fees, data center colocation fees, or utilities and real estate expense, maintenance, and management overhead.

7. Build a Business Case and Get Approval

All decision-makers and stakeholders need to understand the cost and scope of this migration. There are always bumps along the way, and adoption by employees takes some time, but identifying the benefits will go a long way to securing buy-in. 

Next time we’ll walk through the steps of the actual migration process. To gain a better understanding of the nuances of a CMS migration, take a few minutes to read our 24-point checklist for migrating your CMS to the cloud.

Michael Gerard

Michael Gerard

Based in Boston, Michael has over 20 years of marketing and sales experience in the technology industry, with 10 of those years having been at IDC managing their CMO and Sales Advisory Practices. Michael is responsible for leading the global marketing strategy for e-Spirit.

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