Even if your business isn’t entirely Internet-based, IT and digital strategies are a vital component of contemporary media companies’ overall development strategies. This means CEOs need to get to grips with technologies and work closely with their company’s IT management. We’ve had a go at coming up with some questions to help you understand any bottlenecks and potential areas of growth and make your business’s technology planning more effective.
Could we use different technologies and make a saving?
There are a few aspects of this question. It should be asked alongside the question of why one technology or another was initially chosen. Was this a spur-of-the-moment decision prompted by technology marketing, or a truly considered choice? Is this choice still up-to-the-minute? Ask your CTO what technology they’d choose now. If they give you the honest answer that they’d choose something different, then it might be worth planning to move over to that technology as soon as possible.
To evaluate various approaches properly, it’s important to take into account their hidden costs too:
- rare technologies require more spending on hiring costs and salaries for developers;
- complex custom solutions are hard to support because developers have to put more time into understanding and improving them;
- off-the-shelf solutions speed up routine work, but non-standard functions take longer to write;
- SaaS platforms can require external add-ons to be developed.
Choosing a technology is always a balancing act.
How many users can your resource support?
Imagine you’ve done some top-notch media promotion, and your content is on the MSN homepage and coming up in the top search engines—but your website can’t cope with the demand. There’s nothing quite as disappointing as missing out on potential profit. And that’s why you need to always be ready for growth. Over and over again, we’ve seen marketing teams fail to run their actions past the IT department and the lion’s share of traffic simply go down the plughole because autoscaling systems aren’t in place. Prepare for growth in advance if you want to maximise it!
Can you rely on figures when making decisions? Is your platform ready for rapid experimentation in design and UX?
Far from every company achieves a real understanding of its actions and their results. For that, you need to have a pipeline for experiments and decision-making in place. Major players streamline this process, often first standardizing visual elements and fine-tuning their analytics. If you’re still not doing optimization tests, have a look at services like Optimizely. The quicker and more effectively you can improve your resource for users, the more profit you can make from sign-ups and increased conversion rates.
Does your technology let you keep up with design trends?
We know that contemporary design is more engaging for users. But, for many companies, changing designs every year can end up with a nightmare. Like problems with AB testing websites, re-design issues often result from a lack of standardization of visual solutions, or else an unsuccessful division between front end and back end (that’s the visual part of the content, and the place it’s stored in). Modern frameworks like Angular and React.js are ideal for tackling these issues, but many SaaS and CMS solutions are still not ready for them. This is one of those technological challenges that will help you pull ahead of the competition if you deal with it successfully.
Is your system convenient for internal users? Could it be any more efficient?
If you’re making unique, high-quality content, it’s vital that your infrastructure helps your editors to be both fast and creative. Try looking at your content creation system through the eyes of your internal users. Identify any time sinks in the content management process: these are usually something like searching for the right media files for content, or setting up links that are relevant to them. Describe these problems to a developer and you’ll very soon have solutions which you can apply to the whole editorial team to get a significant efficiency boost.
Are digital assets being reused and accumulated?
This function might seem self-evidently useful, but far from everyone has it. The issue is that responsibility for accumulating assets tends to be assigned to editors, but they have to concentrate on content creation, the main focus of their job. Assets need to be accumulated automatically and seamlessly as part of the process of content creation, and searching for and reusing them should be quick. To achieve this, we recommend developing widgets for each individual team of editors. If you don’t use a platform like AEM, which has this function built in, never fear: you can get it with add-ons, like Drupal or Wordpress do.
And most importantly, is end-to-end analytics giving you a precise enough picture of your business? Do you know what kind of content is particularly profitable? Who creates your most popular content?
Modern technologies practically never give you answers to these questions out of the box. Every business is unique, and needs its own unique analytics. If you’re using a SaaS solution, check that it lets you and your developers create all sorts of reports hassle-free. If you’re using a CMS, ask your developers or CTO how hard it would be to use that technology for end-to-end analytics. Trust us, this kind of thing practically always pays for itself with precise and timely insights it provides.
Managing hi-tech businesses is never easy—good luck!