The specialization of web content management systems for specific use is reflected as a phenomenon in the customers´ technology choices. Today, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to solve all online publishing challenges with one platform. Therefore, when there is a decision to be made, more and more end up choosing two different systems.
North Patrol is a consulting firm specialized in the design of digital services and information systems. We shape ideas into a vision and service concept, find the best architectural and technological solutions, design a functional user experience, and compete to find the ideal partner for implementation work. We do not sell implementation projects, nor do we sell licenses; we are genuinely on the side of the customer.
For example, in Finland, many universities' various publishing needs have ended up using the combination of Drupal and WordPress. Typically, Drupal serves as the platform for an extensive and versatile main site, while homepage systems that run thousands of research projects, research teams, events or conferences, and project sites are run on WordPress.
Several bigger cities have also chosen similarly. For example, the city of Tampere's new online services, which are currently in the tendering phase, will be built on the combination of Drupal and WordPress.
Similar types of combined solutions are also used in the online communications of many large companies. The main site and other larger sites may be built on Episerver, for example, but in addition to this, various campaign sites or small country sites may run on WordPress.
Many U.S.-based companies have also ended up making campaign sites on Wix or Squarespace, as these are popular tools in the Americas, and often tend to work much better for fast use than the heavy content management systems used on the main sites.
The same phenomenon can be seen in the field of online shopping. A large and successful e-commerce site in the Finnish market may have been implemented on the Magento platform with a large budget, but smaller web stores in other countries may well be run on Shopify, which is a much lighter e-commerce solution.
There are both technical and consumer trends behind the phenomenon
The biggest factor is probably the specialization of systems mentioned at the beginning of this blog. In recent years, there has been a shift from general-purpose mammoth systems to more specialized systems aimed at quite limited use purposes. A good example of this is the Shopify e-commerce platform, which doesn't even try to solve the e-commerce challenges of the largest companies, but focuses on the challenges of SMEs and other fairly simple online stores.
On the web content management side, WordPress has long been profiled as an agile platform for small and medium-sized websites. Of course, larger sites are also made with WordPress from time to time, but still, the majority of the sites are pretty simple.
Another significant trend is the diversification of customers´ online publishing needs and web application needs. Large organizations in particular have a wide range of needs that are very difficult to address with a single system. Often the requirements for the main site are very diverse and there may be many integrations and content editors, for example.
In addition to the main site, there are needs for several smaller sites which can have much simpler requirements.
Few content management systems today are able to serve these two extremes. And there are several areas of similar conflicting requirements.
More and more often, there are also needs for completely customized web applications and various transaction systems. In that case, it may make the most sense to make this application-like part entirely tailor-made and leave content management entirely as a background system. Such a situation increases the likelihood that the online services as a whole ultimately consists of several, technically very different components.
North Patrol also has several customers who, for example, have a Contentful platform in use to manage the content of customized web applications. However, Contentful is not designed to manage the content of large communications online services, and therefore they often have their main site built on a more traditional web content management system.
Good preparation and management of the entity are emphasized
If an organization wants to do things smartly and cost-effectively, it is increasingly important to think in advance about its own concepts and the systems that are suitable for them. Often the same problem can be solved in many ways, and often the price differences between different systems can be really significant.
For example, the Drupal + WordPress combination, favoured by universities, is not only based on better functionality of the systems for the chosen tasks, but there is also a significant cost difference behind it. Drupal is designed as a platform for big websites, and is often a cost-effective solution for that. WordPress, on the other hand, is especially effective in situations where you need to manage a huge number of reasonably small and similar sites, and the cost benefits can be significant.
This development is likely to continue. The systems get more specialized and the number of service solutions is growing all the time. Both trends emphasize the importance of good preparation and smart choices.
More and more often, a good choice in technology means, in fact, making many choices.