How to upgrade your CMS with minimum fuss

Have you been putting off upgrading your content management system (CMS) because you’re busy juggling projects or too scared of all the things that could go wrong? If you think of upgrading your CMS as a recipe for disaster, you’re not alone.

But this limiting mindset could be getting in the way of your company’s evolution. It also prevents your employees from reaching their full potential.

Bart Banda, product manager at Squiz Matrix, wants to take the pain out of upgrading your CMS and bust the myth that this essential procedure is something to fear.

“There’s this preconception that upgrades are costly, scary, and difficult to execute,” says Banda. “People remember past software upgrades on different products that have gone horribly wrong or the timing means that they can’t afford to have an editing freeze on the system. But there are effective ways of managing this.”

Upgrading your CMS bolsters performance and saves money and time

Before you embark on your upgrade, understanding the benefits as well as their impact on your business should be at the top of your list.

Keep in mind that new software releases often include performance, security, and usability enhancements that could streamline your employees’ workflow. “The sooner you take advantage of these, the better,” Bart says. “For your staff, using upgraded software means they’ll be more satisfied with their day-to-day work lives.”

By improving performance, you also save time and money. “If your employees don’t have the features that are available in the newer version of the CMS, it’ll take them longer to do certain things, and there’s a cost associated with that,” Bart explains. “Each year that passes, the upgrade path will continue to be more difficult. There’s a real risk of falling behind.”

Regular updates are your surest defense against online threat

Aside from the benefits of improved performance, upgrading your CMS plays a pivotal role in that bane of modern businesses – anticipating and fighting off online threat.

“New versions of software often contain critical security enhancements,” says Bart. “So, if someone discovers a vulnerability in your CMS for a specific version and they know that you haven’t upgraded to a new version, that can pose a severe security risk.”

Why you should treat your upgrade like a mission-critical project

So, how do you ensure that your upgrade unfolds with maximum results and minimum fuss? It’s imperative to treat your upgrade like a project. This means prioritising accountability, user testing, adequate planning, and proper communication with your vendor.

“You need someone to manage the upgrade process on your side and identify factors, such as custom codes or complex implementations, that users test and sign off on before you go ahead,” Bart says. “You should be taking into account the project you’re working on and what you’re planning three months from now.”

Your team should also know that the site will be upgraded on the given date, which is why communicating with your vendor is vital.

Filling gaps in your knowledge

Like any project, execution is only one phase of the process. Ensuring that your staff members know how to take advantage of the new version by familiarising themselves with the documentation and release notes guarantees that your efforts don’t go to waste.

According to Bart, businesses should generally upgrade their CMS once a year and make sure they’re never using a version that’s no longer being developed for. What’s more, asking the vendor to give a presentation of the new version to your organisation can fill in knowledge gaps and empower staff to make the best of the platform.

Upgrading your CMS can be a painless way to save time and money, and enhance your security and performance. With thorough planning, testing, and a strong vendor relationship, it’s also not as daunting as you may think. You know that your CMS is among the most powerful tools in your arsenal so get the best out of it by prioritising your upgrade today.

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