Building a Content Management System (CMS): Platforms, Launch Plan, Skills Needed
ScienceSoft has been delivering CMS solutions for 11+ years.
From-scratch or platform-based CMS implementation ensures effective creating, storing, organizing, modifying and publishing various content, including documents, digital media assets (e.g., photos, audio and video files), records (documents for legal purposes), and web content.
Building time: 2-6 months.
Implementation steps: CMS conceptualization and planning, UX and UI design, development, testing, data migration, user training, launch, and after-launch support.
Required team: A project manager, a business analyst, a UX/UI designer, front-end and back-end developers, QA and DevOps engineers.
ScienceSoft offers time- and cost-effective implementation of feature-rich custom and platform-based content management solutions that help companies streamline creating, publishing, and updating diverse corporate content.
The CMS implementation process differs depending on a project’s scope and a solution’s specifics. Below, based on ScienceSoft’s 11-year experience in CMS development, we list the key steps we follow when building an enterprise-level content management system.
Step 1. CMS conceptualization
Duration: 1 week
- Analyzing an organization’s current information architecture, content management processes, and content types used.
- Defining content management needs and CMS goals (e.g., an ability to easily manage dozens of websites simultaneously, faster content development and publishing, more efficient storage and management of large amounts of content, compliance with government or industry-specific regulations like GDPR or HIPAA).
- Outlining the solution’s scope (e.g., customizable content templates, AI-based content personalization, built-in SEO tools, multi-language support).
- Specifying future CMS users and their roles (e.g., content authors, content editors).
Step 2. CMS planning
Duration: 2-3 weeks
- Deciding on a content governance strategy including content life cycle workflows, file naming conventions, metadata management, frequency of content updating, user roles and permissions, content retention/deletion, regulatory compliance.
- Defining the core CMS features depending on the content management needs. For example, if you need CMS to manage websites used for selling products online, CMS will require dedicated built-in ecommerce functionality (e.g., product description pages, product recommendations, promotional banners, shipping and payment information) or should be integrated with an ecommerce solution.
- Eliciting CMS technical requirements and creating a software specification.
- Choosing a suitable platform (platform-based CMS implementation) or a tech stack (custom CMS development).
- Planning CMS integrations (e.g., with CRM, intranet, ecommerce, marketing automation software).
- Planning a CMS development project, including project duration and budget estimation, target CMS KPIs (e.g., +75% website development speed, +50% traffic volume on the website, +25% user engagement with the web content, +60% invoice processing speed).
- Drawing up a business case, including cost-benefit analysis, NVP and ROI calculation, etc.
Step 3. CMS design
Duration: 3-4 weeks
- Creating an information architecture, i.e., categorizing content to ensure easy content search.
- Designing content management workflows (e.g., content approval, publishing) for each content type.
- Creating personas and user journey maps.
- Creating CMS prototypes.
- Conducting usability testing of the prototypes.
ScienceSoft’s Head of the SharePoint Department Sergey Golubenko shares his experience in CMS implementation:
"To enable facilitated content search and collaboration on content, we reflect the organizational structure in a CMS solution, for example, by creating separate spaces for department- and team-based content management in CMS information architecture."
Step 4. Development
Duration: 2-6 months (depending on the project scope)
End-to-end CMS development in line with the chosen implementation approach:
- Building a platform-based content management system. We choose this option if typical CMS features (e.g., multi-type and multi-format content, structured storage, full-text content search, automated content approval and publishing workflows) can meet a customer's content management needs.
- CMS development from scratch. We choose this option if a customer wants a flexible and scalable CMS that will meet their specific content management needs (e.g., custom branding, integrations with legacy software).
ScienceSoft's best practice: To reduce CMS development risks, time and costs, we apply iterative development and introduce CI/CD (continuous integration and continuous delivery) pipelines.
Step 5. Testing and QA
Duration: 30% of development time
- Creating a CMS test plan, test cases and checklists.
- Conducting functional, performance, integration, and usability testing.
- Fixing issues detected during testing (e.g., slow page response time, errors in content workflows).
ScienceSoft's best practice: We conduct testing in parallel with CMS development, which helps reduce the implementation time and ensure that no serious bugs will slip into production.
Step 6. Data migration
Duration: 5-25 days
- Creating a thorough data migration plan.
- Defining the content eligible to migrate to CMS.
- Checking the legacy content for errors and duplication, outdated or inconsistent data.
- Conducting content migration without disruption of business processes.
- Testing the transferred data and content for consistency.
Step 7. User training and CMS launch
Duration: 1-2 months (training)
- Creating documentation on CMS use (including a style guide that describes the rules of content formatting) and handing it over to CMS users.
- Conducting training sessions for CMS users on content creation, approval, publishing, and updating.
- Conducting user acceptance testing.
- Collecting user feedback and implementing relevant CMS improvements (e.g., in navigation, workflows).
- Launching CMS to the production environment.
Step 8. After-launch CMS support
- Fixing CMS bugs and performance issues.
- Adjusting the solution to the changing business needs (e.g., changing the layout, creating custom CMS add-ins or plugins).
- Monitoring and improving CMS compliance with government and industry-specific standards and regulations on data security (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA).
With 33-year experience in software development, ScienceSoft advises on and implements robust CMS solutions for streamlined management of documents, records, media assets, and web content for corporate intranets and portals, ecommerce websites, and more.
- Analyzing content management needs.
- Eliciting technical requirements.
- Selecting an optimal feature set.
- Recommending useful integrations (e.g., CRM, intranet, ecommerce software).
- Selecting a fitting CMS platform or a tech stack.
- Creating a CMS project plan.
- Elaborating on intuitive UX/UI.
Outsourced CMS implementation
- Analyzing business needs and eliciting CMS requirements.
- Choosing between platform-based and custom implementation.
- Designing CMS user journeys and prototypes.
- Building CMS solution/module.
- Migrating content to CMS.
- Integrating CMS with other tools.
- QA and user training.
- Support and evolution.
CMS Development: Success Stories by ScienceSoft
Innovative CMS Application Development to Serve Multinational Enterprises
The developed custom CMS based on the unique object-oriented framework streamlines content creation due to a drag-and-drop content builder and facilitates management of dozens of websites simultaneously due to responsive admin UI.
SharePoint CMS Implementation and Customization for a Tea and Coffee Manufacturer
The developed CMS helps streamline the Customer’s website management. ScienceSoft’s team also tuned the new CMS to the website’s support of English and French languages and integrated it with Google Analytics.
Development of a Web Application for AR Content Management
The developed web-based content management app offers easy custom creation and management of AR content in a digital signage solution.
Magento-Pimcore Integration for a Multibusiness Corporation
Due to Magento integration with Pimcore, the Customer received an intuitive editing tool that helped streamline the creation and management of website content.
What Our Customers Say
ScienceSoft's team of five Java developers and one test engineer have been working hard to ensure our <CMS> product – Enonic XP – exceeds our customer's expectations.
ScienceSoft's experience in agile development ensured smooth project implementation and iterative development of Enonic XP. As a result, Enonic XP has evolved into an easy-to-use and scalable platform, which is crucial for our success.
Morten Øien Eriksen, CEO at Enonic, a provider of an innovative CMS platform
ScienceSoft's CMS development team usually includes:
- Defining the scope, budget, timeframes, milestones and target KPIs of a CMS development project.
- Managing resources for the project.
- Facilitating and coordinating communication between all team members.
- Supervising the project activities.
- Tracking project milestones and deliverables.
- Investigating content management needs, goals, and target users.
- Suggesting the most relevant CMS features.
- Mapping CMS features to technical requirements.
- Organizing, specifying and documenting CMS requirements, including description of CMS modules, information architecture, user roles, integrations, etc.
- Performing UX research.
- Creating user journey maps and designing user interactions with CMS.
- Building CMS prototypes.
- Conducting CMS usability testing.
- Choosing a suitable platform or a tech stack for CMS based on technical requirements.
- Developing and deploying a CMS solution.
- Integrating the solution with CRM, intranet, or other tools.
- Developing custom CMS add-ins or plugins for a platform-based CMS.
- Development of UI components of CMS.
- Optimization of CMS front-end performance to improve user experience.
- Designing a test plan for a CMS solution.
- Selecting applicable testing tools.
- Designing, executing, and maintaining test cases to ensure CMS operability and consistency with the specification.
- Reporting defects to developers via relevant defect tracking tools.
- Automating CMS development by introducing a CI/CD pipeline.
- Monitoring CMS availability, performance, and security.
- Full control over the CMS development project.
- Full understanding of specific content management needs.
Caution: The need to hire or train experts in CMS design and development.
- High degree of control over the CMS development project.
- Highly qualified technical specialists available from a vendor (e.g., developers, testers).
Caution: Effective collaboration between an in-house team and outsourced specialists can be challenging.
- Access to professional expertise in custom and platform-based (e.g., SharePoint, WordPress, Pimcore, HubSpot, Joomla, Drupal) CMS development.
- Advanced technologies, mature and cost-effective implementation methodologies (e.g., Agile, CI/CD).
- Creative approach to CMS implementation, full understanding of enterprise content management needs.
Caution: High vendor risks.
Reliable and high-performing architecture
Due to multi-layered structure and the use of microservices. We also adhere to such architectural design principles as separation of concerns (SoC) and high concurrency.
Guaranteed software quality
Due to regular code reviews, integrated APM (application performance management), systematic QA with optimal test coverage, including unit testing, automated API and UI testing.
Optimized development costs
Due to applying proven third-party components and public APIs as well as the optimal use of cloud services.
Minimized implementation risks
We offer all-round consultancy at each stage of CMS implementation, from solution architecture and UX/UI design to solution launch, and follow the iterative development approach.
Technologies We Use When Building CMS
In our CMS development projects, ScienceSoft's team usually chooses the following tools and technologies to deliver feature-rich, flexible and user-friendly content management solutions.
The cost of building a content management solution may be different depending on various factors:
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. We advise on and build custom and platform-based CMS solutions with a rich feature set to ensure prompt and cost-effective enterprise content management. Being ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified, we guarantee high-quality IT services and the security of our customers’ data. If you are interested in a CMS implementation, feel free to consider our CMS development offer.