Custom Coded Web Content Management System (WCM): Time to Move On?

Dec 08, 2010
Oshyn Labs

Custom Coded Web Content Management Systems have had their fans and critics. I once started working on a project where the company stood for all things progressive while its website looked a decade old. But there was another urgent matter – on my first day multiple managers approached me to ask if I could updates critical areas of content. Sure, I thought. I got credentials and attempted to log into the CMS….and I waited…and waited some more. It turned out that there were some critical problems with the CMS loading BUT the last person on the team of people who had built this custom WCM had recently resigned and little documentation for managing the custom WCM had been created. The IT director told me that they were in the midst of implementing the new Open Source CMS. (By the way the internal implementation was terrible! But that’s another story). Sure not all custom coded WCM reach this point of failure but there are many potential pitfalls.

A common question recently has been, “If I have a custom coded WCM, is it time to upgrade to a commercial or Open Source WCM?”

There are plenty of reasons for moving away from a custom-coded WCM:

  • Security Issues
  • Improvements are costly since you have to build them internally (and spend the time properly documenting)
  • It’s more difficult to retain webpage consistency (not good for branding!)
  • Third party service integration can be more complex
  • You will need to build your own marketing functionality
  • Any updates to functionality take longer to deploy

A white paper from Forrester “It’s Time to BreakUp With Your Custom Coded WCM” lists these key issues:

  • Uses outdated programming languages
  • Can’t attract and retain developers
  • Lacks standards for WCM integration
  • Needs to move from WCM to multichannel engagement
  • Really wants to run a software development business

I should note that at Oshyn we have done a lot of work on custom WCM - but I am a proponent of going the commercial or Open Source Route. You can check out the CMS platforms we specialize in here.