1. Market Share
Taking into account the caveats we mentioned above, assessing market share can help you avoid choosing an exotic tool with a short lifespan. Feel free to select the top ten you find; this is only the first step. You’ll be eliminating systems as you go. However, do keep the following criteria in mind:
- The CMS must be a good fit for your project’s needs: eCommerce, multisite, collaborative intranet, and so on.
- What is the market share in my country or region?
- If it matters to you, is it “really” Open Source?
- Does it have a positive growth curve? Is it growing? Dominant but falling
The community—the developers, service providers, contributors, and supporting structures—in and around an Open Source CMS is crucial to its success and sustainability. Keep in mind, however, the end-customers using it represent its market share, not its community.
Some communities are more accessible than others. You might have to ask service provider agencies or take the time to read up on one of more official websites. Learning about Open Source communities helps you answer questions like:
- Who offers support? Are there commercial SLAs for your CMS?
- What is the plan for the next five years? Is there a roadmap? A regular release cycle?
- How is this community organized? Does it have a non-profit association? A security team?
What is the scope of your project? You already know your CMS will probably be only one piece of the IT puzzle you’ll be assembling. You don’t want to muddy the waters with your CMS duplicating functionality that your other business tools cover very well, for example. What you do want is your CMS to communicate, interface, and integrate with them well. It will also need to collaborate and “play nice” with other tools that you’ll discover and integrate in the future. Your CMS must be standards-based and standards-compliant.
Your web project doesn’t stop on launch day, it’s not “done.” It’s only then that it starts delivering value to you and your customers. And an important new phase begins: ongoing maintenance. Whether you sign a maintenance contract with the service provider who built it, a different company, or the project vendor, you’ll need the best-possible corrective, preventative, and proactive maintenance. The CMS you choose—its inherent code quality, and available support options—will determine the quality level of maintenance support you can receive.