A: A CMS should be easy to use. It should have tools that allow a marketer to drag and drop components and easily design or edit a page or experience. That's key criteria for a CMS, because technically you don't need a CMS to deliver content. You can do it all through code. But with a CMS, it should become easy for marketing teams to create, publish, and work with content in an intuitive way.
Other capabilities a CMS should have include workflow tools. You might have 100 people working to deliver content. You have some people who are just creating the content. You might have business managers who need to approve the content. Maybe some of the content needs to go through legal.
There are all these workflows that need to be set up, so you make sure you have the right people approving and reviewing content before it’s published. The CMS should provide different gate checks for making sure everything is organized and done in a timely manner, that the content is reviewed by the right people, and that stale content gets removed.
Another key feature of a CMS is its ability to integrate easily with other systems. If a CMS is delivering a website or a web experience, but you're a commerce company or you're a retailer, you also have commerce systems that are tied into that web experience, like a checkout button and available inventory. You need your CMS to be able to work with your commerce system, or your CRM, or your document management system, or whatever other system that needs to be integrated with the web experience.
Also, content management systems are about more than content now. They’ve evolved to include some level of analytics and personalization, either within the CMS itself or through integration with other systems. Delivering content is not enough — you want to understand how that content is performing and how you can target that content to specific audiences. A CMS should have these capabilities natively built in or at least easily work with systems that provide you with that information.
Some content management systems will actually have a content library or an asset library where you can store the content. If you don't have that library, you might be storing content on a thumb drive or in Dropbox. But now, one of the core functions of a CMS is some level of content storage in a digital asset management (DAM) system.
The last important feature a CMS should have is the ability to deliver content to multiple channels. Most content management systems were originally designed to serve only the web channel. But now we have mobile apps, voice assistants, IoT devices, and modern app experiences such as single-page applications. We have all these different experiences that still need content, but they're not what the CMS was originally built for. So a modern CMS will need to be able to deliver content across any channel, not just the web.
A lot of companies are still stuck in the mindset where if they need content for a mobile experience, they think their CMS won’t be able to handle it, so they’ll create content completely separately for that mobile experience. But companies should be creating everything in one central place, which is the CMS, then pushing that same experience to every channel.