John McKown, President - EvoGov
In this article, I will explain why we no longer offer deep discounts on website upgrades from our older CMS platform (Team-Logic) to our new CMS (Evo Cloud).
We love our customers, and all of our customers are VIPs to us. But we have experienced that upgrade projects require much more resouces than a brand new project, so it is time for us to take action.
In 2012, we launched our 5th Generation website Content Management System (CMS), that we named Evo Cloud. You can read about it at www.evo.cloud. It is the platform that we use today to build new websites. It was a complete re-write of our older website application platform. It works so well that it has transformed our business and how we build websites. All sites on that platform are mobile-friendly, and have the latest features that you are looking for.
When we set out to build the new platform, we aimed to build the best possible platform for local government websites that was powerful, easy to use, and loaded with features. We definitely achieved this, and we can now build websites in a fraction of the time that we used to.
But what about the many websites that we built on the old platform?
How do we take care of those customers? The customers that are on our older platform are the focus of this article.
When we build a website on our new CMS, it gets free inline application updates as it is hosted.
This makes the websites evolve in place. That is actually how we came up with our company name - we build websites that evolve (evo).
Having a website that is automatically upgraded in place with no downtime gives a tremendous amount of value to our customers, because our CMS does not require software plugins.
For example, during the month of July 2017, we rolled out over 120 software updates and new applications to the new platform, and all live websites were updated instantaneously.
But what about the legacy customers we have that are on our much older CMS?
Our new CMS platform is so fundamentally better, that we began to put our older platform on "end of life" status, and we offered massive pricing discounts to our customers to migrate their websites to our new platform. Many customers jumped on this opportunity, and yet many were also happy to let their websites stay on the old platform.
From 2014-2016, I decided to draw a line in the sand and not launch new websites on the old platform. This meant that all projects in production (quite a few projects) would be rebuilt on the new system. Essentially, we would build them twice, just so that our new customers got our latest software from us. As you might imagine, that decision was the right thing to do ethically, but it was also a huge drain on our production staff.
We noticed through our sales process that our main competitors are having the exact same struggle because they have a newer and an older platform. But instead of discounting their upgrades, our competitors charged even higher than full retail design fees to upgrade their existing customers. And those fees still remain much higher than our retail fees today. This continued to motivate us to take better care of our customers that require a major platform upgrade. Ultimately, the effort to keep those upgrades inexpensive and easy blew up in our faces.
We have always treated our customers as VIPs when it comes to upgrades and new services.
Now that we have close to 50 of these website platform upgrades under our belts, we have some really good data to look back on. Here is what we found…
Heavily discounted upgrades are no longer cost effective for us
It pains me to admit this, but most of the website upgrades from our old platform to our new platform took much more time than it would take to build a new website project from scratch.
And logically, that just should not happen. But it does.
It should be faster to upgrade the sites because the migration of the website content should be straightforward for us (and it is). The major issue it turns out, is that it is next to impossible to manage client expectations, timelines, and the customer's perception of value with the upgrades. And the upgrade projects still require time for; project management, design, training, and more.
No Sense of Customer Urgency
For one thing, the customer with an existing site that is running fine has no sense of urgency, so they are in NO RUSH. They also don't want to add content (news, events, meetings, pages) to two websites (the old and the new). So, then what happens is that the new site and the live site quickly become out of synch. This creates a scenario where we end up putting in way more content over a longer period of time than we do with a new site project. These factors slow down the entire upgrade process, which actually ends up costing us more time and money and resources than a brand new custom project.
Effective immediately, discounted upgrades from our legacy Team-Logic CMS system to our new Evo Cloud system have ended.
All websites on that platform are now old enough that they require a full website design effort from us.
If your website is on that older platform, we would love to help you upgrade it, but it will require the following; formal pricing, a formal proposal, a formal contract, and formal project management to succeed.
We want to make sure that all of our customers are running on our latest software.
To request a quote from for a major site upgrade, please use our quote form.