As CMS technology continues to develop fast, integrating new systems with your site is an increasingly necessary and useful process. From CRMs and Marketing Automation software to Analytics and eCommerce platforms, there is an unlimited wealth of products available that could significantly impact your business and conversions.
However, with multiple integrations come multiple headaches, as businesses go about making sure all online properties are working together properly and that everything is secure. A badly built site with many integrations can lead to slow pages and inconsistent information, resulting in a negative user experience. In the backend, a user-unfriendly content architecture can pose a significant drain on resources and lead to highly inefficient workflows. So despite the great benefits that new integrations can bring, if not set up properly these could lead to significant problems for your business.
This is where a central hub CMS comes in. A central hub can solve all these problems by enabling you to set up your site so that each online property works independently, but is also connected to the whole. This way each integration can easily be managed from one location or severed from all other systems if it's causing issues.
A central hub also provides you with a single platform from which to manage all these properties, eliminating the need to juggle multiple passwords and logins and learn multiple tools. For these reasons, a central hub approach is ideal for all websites dealing with multiple integrations, which is to say most business websites.
In this white paper we cover the main ways in which a central hub approach can help you avoid these issues, how exactly it does so, and the additional benefits you could be gaining.
1 | MANY TOOLS, ONE SPOT
"Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things." – Isaac Newton
Having all your online properties in one spot makes it simpler to access and integrate all your online tools. Instead of having to integrate each system independently with every other one, every time you add a new system you only need to make a single integration with the central hub, and it will do the rest.
Having a single spot of access to all your integrations also means that you only need to log into one place and learn one platform, but you will still be able to use a wide range of systems. You are probably familiar and comfortable with some of the systems you use, but sometimes struggle with having to learn a new one from scratch. With a central hub, you only need to learn and become comfortable with a single platform and forget about the rest.
A good central hub will allow you to do everything you normally would with each individual system, but from one place. This means that you can focus on having your own business processes using your preferred tools, instead of being forced to use tools you are not comfortable with.
2 | A REAL TIME-SAVER
"51% of small businesses say that “time required” is the biggest barrier to adopting new technology" – Business Insider
An often overlooked benefit of managing your properties from a central hub is the amount of time you can save. And by this we mean a lot.
For starters, only needing to log into one platform will save you time you would otherwise spend finding passwords and individually logging into each one, as well as remembering how to use a particular tool that you may not have used in a while.
Secondly, the amount of time it takes to figure out how to integrate all properties and how they work together should not be underestimated. This can be an incredibly timeconsuming and complex process and a never-ending learning curve that can be avoided by limiting all activity to a single platform. Imagine all the training you will save.
Thirdly, being able to create and push content from a single platform saves a huge amount of time that would otherwise be spent replicating content across systems, such as CRM, accounting and shipping. It also reduces the risk of human error.
Finally, saving all this precious time means that your team will be able to spend more time and effort on doing what actually matters: getting work done and creating and building new content, rather than figuring out the technology. And ultimately, attracting more people and leads to the site!
3 | DEVELOPERS LOVE IT TOO
"50% of CIOs state solution complexity and integrations as chief concerns and 91% state software integration is critical to simplify IT"– Accenture
A central hub approach also offers many perks when it comes to the development process. Whether you work with a development partner or with internal developers, allowing them to build on a content management platform that is set up as a central hub will save them time and effort and save you money. This is mainly due to integrations, which normally take a lot of time to manually and individually set up and implement, leading to slower websites and human error.
With a central hub, creating a system of integrations becomes much easier and prevents the negative impact that too many integrations can have on website performance. By managing all integrations from a central hub, the risk of human error is also reduced and the integration management system becomes more efficient and user-friendly.
Another challenge when it comes to integrations is ensuring that future ones are also easy to implement, without being affected by the website’s content architecture. Again, a central hub approach is ideal here because new integrations only need to be connected to the central hub and not with other systems, leading to a much simpler onboarding process that will save you great cost and resources.
Allowing developers to work on only one platform is also a timesaver because of the logistical reasons mentioned above: being able to build all content from one place without having to log into multiple platforms.
4 | ONE PIECE OF CONTENT, MULTIPLE CHANNELS
"83% of consumers say a seamless experience across all devices is somewhat or very important " – Salesforce
A central hub also offers great advantages when pushing content across different channels. For example, content that is common to your website and your eCommerce platform can be pushed to both simultaneously, avoiding the need to input information more than once and reducing the risk of error.
This applies to the web development process too; developers can build content and display it in different areas of your website and other online properties, so your messaging remains consistent and less error-prone. This means that your writers and content team will have more time to focus on creating new content rather than revamping existing content for different channels.
The great advantage of pushing content to several channels simultaneously is that your CMS can ensure that the content’s raw data is rendered in the right format for that particular channel.
Another advantage is that it saves you the effort of training staff to build content in different channels, empowering them to do more with less.
5 | USER-FRIENDLY? CHECK
“People ignore design that ignores people.” – Frank Chimero, Designer
On the user experience front, a common issue of using multiple tools is that they all have a completely different UX, style and interface. This means that users need to get used to each tool separately and learn how to carry out similar tasks across tools.
A central hub CMS, on the other hand, has a single consistent UX, style, interface and paradigm. So if, for example, you manage your eCommerce and CMS from a central hub, there is only going to be one set of use cases and workflows and no importing/exporting of sales data between systems. Managing your online product catalogue will follow exactly the same workflows as managing the rest of your web content, making the process more consistent, reliable and less error-prone.
The benefits of a consistent user experience cannot be underestimated; not only will it save time on day-to-day tasks, but it will provide all parties involved in the process with a tool that they are confident and familiar with and which is easy to learn and manage. All these elements are incremental and can lead to significant time and resources saved.
6 | DON’T WORRY ABOUT SECURITY
"Web application attacks represent the greatest threat to an organization’s security" – WhiteHat Security
Finally, when it comes to securing your online properties, a central hub actually makes the process much easier to set up, manage and keep secure. This is because the central hub will manage connectivity to each of the systems, ensuring that any security breaches in one system won’t affect any of the others.
Without a central hub, what often happens is that once one system is compromised and goes down, this will affect all the other systems that it’s integrated with. The impact can also be unpredictable, which means that it’s a challenge to determine what particular tools and processes are affected by the breach, and therefore to fix them.
With a central hub, once a particular system is affected by security issues, you can simply sever it and the rest of the ecosystem will still work just fine. The central hub has all the logic built in to manage when systems are up and down, so as long as your CMS is secure, you have a very secure platform for all systems.
Of course, how secure your CMS is ultimately depends on the type of CMS you have and the security measures you have implemented. In general, proprietary CMSs are better in terms of security than open-source ones because the source code is private and generally their hosting is controlled by the service provider. However, you can have a highly secure open-source site if you have a dedicated server and someone ensuring that security fixes and updates are always up-to-date.
If you’re struggling with keeping your site speed up under multiple integrations, offering your visitors a consistent user experience and empowering your employees to better and more easily manage your site, a central hub CMS could be the missing piece in your puzzle.
From simplifying the content management process to better securing all your online properties, the central hub approach comes with a breadth of benefits that could make a very significant and positive impact on your business.