March 16, 2022

Have you been mis-sold a CMS?

Andy Eva-Dale

Technical Director

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Lately, we've had a flood of requests from clients looking to move from legacy content management systems to more modern solutions. So, why is this happening? And should you think about moving too?

Whether it’s poor performance or high costs, an increasing number of organisations we speak to are frustrated with their CMS and looking to move.

The common theme? They all tend to have more traditional systems that are way beyond the scope of their needs – even considering the need for scaling and future-proofing.

Sitecore, Adobe AM, and Episerver all have products with impressive features but impressive price tags, too.

Let’s be honest here. While these systems are all fantastic, most websites, even those used for powerful business functions, only need a fraction of their features.

Businesses will only get the return on investment if they need features like enhanced analytics and personalisation engines. Otherwise, they’re pretty much a money sink.

If you feel you’ve been mis-sold a CMS, there are options. And one option is to go headless.

Going headless

Many organisations can get all the features they need at a fraction of the price by opting for a headless CMS. For example, we re-platformed a medium-sized site and saved the client £250,000 in a year on licence and infrastructure costs. It paid for itself within 2-3 years.

Essentially, a headless CMS decouples the frontend and backend, making it more flexible and better equipped to meet specific needs.

I talk a lot about the ins and outs of headless CMS in my previous article, exploring why I think every site needs a headless CMS. Be sure to check this out if you’re not quite sure what headless is all about.

Should you make the switch?

Headless isn’t for everyone. However, if you’re currently using a CMS that doesn’t tick the right boxes and seems to be draining your budget without giving much in return, it’s worth considering. Some of the benefits you could see from going headless include:

  • Improved performance: Reduced time to first byte through pre-built files served over a CDN
  • Better security: Monolithic server-side processes abstracted into microservice APIs will minimise the risk of attacks
  • Easier scaling: Scaling is simply about serving files in an increased number of places – and it's cost-effective
  • Enhanced dev experience: More targeted development and debugging through loose coupling
  • More eco-friendly: Less energy consumption, helping you to meet your green initiatives
  • Greater room for improvement: It’s easy to develop a roadmap to boost your processes and results


Death to Sitecore?

So… are Sitecore and other traditional systems ‘bad’? It’s not as clear-cut as that.

At Tangent, we’re firm believers in headless and JAMstack as the future of the web. But what’s most important here is simply using the right tools for the job. If headless works for you, go for it! If Sitecore works for you, go for it! For some businesses, there is huge value in Sitecore, Adobe AM, and Episerver.

And we’re always here to help. We run a 24/7 support and maintenance Sitecore package with enterprise-level SLA's for support, uptime, and response time, and we’ll continue to do so. However, we’re here to help create roadmaps to migrate to more cost-effective platforms, too.

Step-by-step migration case study

The most important factor for us is to find an efficient way to carry out the migration. A way that means we don’t have to redesign a site completely and can instead reuse both code and logic.

One client wanted to migrate to reduce costs and improve performance. We took a step-by-step approach that ensured the migration was carried out efficiently and effectively.

Here's what we did:


Step 1: Dynamic forms

We started by migrating forms first. We also implemented dynamic forms to enable customer service teams to build their own web forms. There would be no need for a third party; they’d all have a consistent design that they could edit quickly as needed, and would be optimised for modern browsers.


Step 2: Automated testing

Next, we moved on to automated testing to identify potential problems much faster than manual testing processes. By implementing this early on, we increased quality confidence and saved our client money by removing the need for time-consuming manual testing.


Step 3: Microsites

Before rolling out the main site, we focused on rolling out microsites. We’ve moved away from past infrastructure to new platforms throughout this entire process. Ultimately, providing sites that are easier to manage, cheaper to run, and can be scaled easily as needed.


Step 4: Implementing CI/CD for deployment

Rather than redeploy the entire application every time a change was made – which would be time-consuming and cumbersome – we instead chose to implement CI/CD for deployment. This allowed us to deploy changes in insolation, reducing the time needed.


Step 5: Removing legacy code

Our client had an old legacy code base that wasn’t efficiently handling requests. We conducted a full-on refactoring and code tidy-up to eliminate all the technical debt. We made the site easier for our client to support and maintain, and ultimately, easier for modern developers to use.


Step 6: Introducing performance improvements

Previously, the site would show signs of struggling at around 500 users. However, the client needed to support around 20,000 concurrent users. We used an infrastructure caching strategy to deliver immediate interim performance improvements until the site could manage this on its own.


Mis-sold a CMS? We’re here to help

If you’re failing to get the return you expect from your CMS, we’re here to help explore the options and help you migrate to the best one for you.

We act as an extension of your own team, supplying the support teams, frontend developers, and backend experts you need. We’ll pull all of those skills together to migrate in a way that’s efficient, effective, and generates great results.

Ready to get the ball rolling? Get in touch to learn more about migrating from Sitecore to Headless.