When working with enterprise content management systems, the decision to upgrade is not to be taken lightly. How will bug fixes and feature changes impact things like prior customizations and extensions (ex. API integrations and third-party tools)? Will performance be impacted (for better or worse)? Will an upgrade make your system more or less vulnerable to security risks? And then there’s the most important question of all: is an upgrade worth the time and cost it will take to get it done?
Earlier this month, HP announced the end-of-life for TeamSite Version 7.2. This announcement marks an April 2016 end-date for support services. For many existing clients, the decision to upgrade will be discussed in conference rooms across the world, and perhaps without resolution until almost too late. With stakeholders weighing the pros and cons of upgrading to TeamSite 7.3, 7.4, 7.5 or even 8.0, there are several areas for consideration.
TeamSite Whisperers are long-time proponents of working with the most up-to-date systems. If you are struggling to make the case for an upgrade, you are likely appealing to two separate, yet equally important groups; the marketing / business team and the IT team. Some may not need convincing at all. But for those who do, we have come up with a simple guide to help you sound the alarm for an upgrade in the most successful way possible.
The Business Case for Upgrading TeamSite
The most important reason for any update is a loss of support. After a certain number of updates, all software companies–or at least those investing in R&D– decide to discontinue offering support to customers on older versions. This means that if a part of your site breaks and your IT department can’t fix it, your business could suffer.
2. Authoring Efficiency and Usability
Keeping site authors efficient helps content teams meet their deadlines and improves time to market for new campaigns, product launches and other marketing efforts. For TeamSite 7.3, released in 2011, HP added an entirely new content authoring UI. This included features like the ability to create mobile LiveSite pages that are responsive, a mobile emulator so authors could see how their content would appear on mobile devices and improvements to the backup process, allowing sysadmins to back up content without freezing the content store for authors.
3. The Intersection of CMS and DAM
As content creation across channels increasingly becomes a function of the marketing department, empowering business users to make site changes should be a goal of any modern CMS. HP TeamSite has added several integrations that make this a reality. For example, Associations–TeamSite’s dependency manager–was introduced in version 7 a while back, but thanks to version 7.4 and its tighter integration with IDOL, authors can now see all the assets associated with a component they are editing with the touch of a button. Version 7.4 also added Rich Media Manager, bringing one of the key features of HP MediaBin–the ability to edit images and other rich media–into TeamSite. RMM allows users to make small changes to images and other media files within the TeamSite interface.
4. Content Marketing
Beyond empowering business team members to edit site content, modern CMS systems should make the promotion of site content easier. That’s why HP added the Campaigns feature. This gives content authors the ability to create and send email and twitter campaigns based on site content from within TeamSite.
5. Testing & Optimization
With version 7.3, TeamSite began offering support for A/B testing for customers on the .NET platform. Using their testing platform, Optimost, and an integration through the TeamSite WCM content contribution interface, HP offers content authors the ability to test different versions of their web pages, all controlled from the TeamSite UI.
The IT Case for Upgrading TeamSite
While previous versions focused on adding features for marketing and business users, TeamSite 7.5 focused mainly on technical considerations.
1. Efficiency / Time-To-Market
The biggest improvement in the jump from version 7.4 to 7.5 came with an upgrade to TeamSite’s application server. TeamSite was running on a version of JBoss that had not been updated since 2008. With 7.5, TeamSite moved to run on WildFly (the latest version of JBoss), a vastly improved server supporting the latest version of the JavaEE spec. This upgrade provides many improvements to performance and efficiency, with a noticeably faster, more stable experience for all users. Running the latest version of Java also provides easier, more streamlined integration with 3rd party and open source tools.
Along with the upgrade to JBoss in 7.5 came many security features and improvements. JBoss uses OpenSSL, an open-source toolkit implementing the Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security protocols, as well as a full-strength, general purpose cryptography library. As threats to digital operations continue to evolve, keeping your software current keeps you protected.
3. Integration Performance
When integrating APIs and third-party tools into your technology stack, there are a lot of considerations that have to be made. Potential bugs, performance considerations and efficiencies all need to be taken into account. Working with the latest versions of software reduces variables and can shrink the potential for bugs, as each new version has, in theory, been recently tested and built to modern specs for optimum performance.
A good example of this in the latest version of TeamSite is the Java Servlet Spec. The latest version of JBoss utilizes the latest version of the Java Servlet Spec. The Java Servlet Spec allows IT departments to implement applications to their web servers more smoothly. More specifically, it delivers ease of development, plugability and extensibility, asynchronous support, security enhancements and other miscellaneous changes.
Despite some compelling reasons to update your TeamSite implementation, when it comes to new infrastructure and software spend, ROI will always be one of the most important considerations. By keeping support up to date, speeding up development, stabilizing the application, adding features and future-proofing TeamSite, your marketing and IT teams will drive business impact and reduce risk.
And with TeamSite 8 expected sometime later this year, you’ll be ready to upgrade with confidence and ride along with HP towards a modernized and optimized CMS.