Trying to figure out which new content management system is right for your website can be incredibly daunting. After all, these days your website isn’t just your main communication point with the world. It’s an integral part of your overall business process.
A well-planned and implemented CMS is also going to maximise your marketing campaign reach by automating content for website users based on any number of factors. It’s going to integrate with your back office functions such as your sales ledger and your warehouse when customers make purchases. And it can link in with HR records via your intranet to implement organisation-wide video training.
And that’s just for starters. Maybe your business needs all of those things and much more right now. Or maybe you need some features now, and want to plan for growth over the next few years. Which CMS is right for you?
At Quba, we field a lot of inquiries from clients who are trying to get to grips with which options best suit their business needs. From budget solutions that offer the quickest return on investment to the all-singing, all-dancing, feature-filled choice. This article is a brief overview of the platforms we use most frequently and the circumstances in which we might deploy one product over another. We hope it gives you some insight of how these CMS platforms can work best for your company.
Kentico – The hot contender
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The .NET platform Quba employs the most frequently to build new CMS sites from scratch for clients is Kentico. As we’ve gotten to know Kentico over the years (and become a Kentico Gold Partner), it’s really become our go-to solution for almost all our projects. But it’s not us playing favourites. It really is one of the best options for our customers as an all-rounder.
Kentico is a bit like Quba’s hometown of Sheffield, punching above their weight, in terms of industry power and value for money. They may not yet have the name recognition as some of the CMS heavyweights, such as Adobe or Episerver, and their pay-to-play price point tends to reflect that. But they are absolutely delivering a product that is on par with the big brands in terms of fantastic features and well-designed user interface.
For the last three years, Kentico has featured as a Challenger on the Gartner Magic Quadrant, a position that should make the Leaders on the Quadrant sweat a bit. It says that Kentico doesn’t just make great a product—one they are always improving and growing—but also that the business behind it is strong. In other words, Kentico’s support for your website is reliable. And in today’s business environment, reliable is revolutionary.
But what do you actually get for your money with Kentico? Well, the short answer is: a lot. Kentico—currently in Version 12—comes quite reasonably priced, but is crammed with the top-shelf automation and integration functions that most enterprise-level businesses demand.
From a developer’s perspective, the interface is very streamlined, with modular development that makes basic site creation quick and painless. For example, if a FAQ module is required, the code files are already created in Kentico. That allows for developers to focus on integration with a client’s bespoke application needs. Such as linking up with SharePoint or Sales Force or other established enterprise level ecosystems that need to be working symbiotically. Which is really what an ‘Enterprise CMS’ is all about.
And in that vein, one of Kentico’s key strengths is in marketing automation. CMS is fundamentally a communications tool, and ensuring timely, consistent, on-brand messaging and follow-up is key to keeping up with the competition. Gently nudging customers through their purchasing journeys, following up with interested webpage registrees, scheduling email campaigns, and more can all be automated through Kentico, which saves your poor intern from trying to keep track of who, what, and when on a manual database.
Jokes aside, even before your business outgrows startup size, this style of database management becomes unwieldy. Integrating it into CMS early on is a smart investment.
Show nice device image with Texthelp screens here
A great example of Kentico’s marketing automation at work is Quba’s Texthelp project. With multiple products targeting a linguistically diverse market and ambitious sales targets, Texthelp needed assistance in getting their web offer into some kind of order. Kentico’s combination of marketing automation and database integration created a clear picture of sales activity and interest for Texthelp’s sales team. And it made it easier for customers to access products they needed from any page on the website. Sorted.
Sitefinity - Kentico’s top rival
In the past, Quba has used Sitefinity for many of the projects that we now deploy Kentico for. We still build in Sitefinity, and we work frequently with clients who have Sitefinity architecture already in place to help integrate their other systems. But it’s probably fair to say that we are more inclined these days to reach for Kentico off the shelf.
A few years ago, Sitefinity’s partner support model changed shortly after its parent company Telerik was acquired by Progress Software. As a result, response to developers has slowed. For that reason, and because both Sitefinity and Kentico offer similar scale solutions, we find ourselves recommending Kentico more and more often for projects that are starting from scratch.
Sitecore - The heavyweight solution
Sitecore has been not just a Leader on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for nine years, but near the top of the Leaders, the winner’s circle of the CMS .NET market. And they’re unlikely to move down a place anytime soon.
The fact is, Sitecore’s integration model is capable of delivering database analysis on an incredibly deep and detailed level. This isn’t just sales lead generation and automated follow-up. It’s market intelligence, Freakonomics-style data correlation, and purchasing prediction. It’s incredibly powerful. And it’s got a hefty price tag to match.
Which means you really need to think carefully before you step into the Sitecore world. Firstly, your company has to be making some serious bank already and have some very ambitious plans for the future for Sitecore to be worth the investment. Secondly, the Sitecore integration model—it’s pretty much all in—has to be a leap you’re ready to take. It may mean almost a completely new way of doing business depending on how you currently work. Those kinds of huge shifts can be tough on a company’s internal culture. But Quba can help you through the process when you’re ready.
Umbraco - A crowd favorite
At the other end of the budget spectrum are the open-source CMS options. As primarily .NET developers, Quba tend to work in Umbraco for these types of projects, as opposed to PHP platforms such as WordPress or Joomla. And many of our clients prefer the assurance of Umbraco’s Microsoft framework.
Because it’s open-source, Umbraco is a very budget-friendly CMS option, a kind of entry to mid-level choice. It doesn’t have the advanced features of Kentico or Sitecore. But it does have solid architecture and some quality plugins to link together some of your business applications. It’s a great option for companies that don’t need the kind of enterprise level back office integration that the others offer.
Like other open source CMS platforms, such as WordPress, Umbraco clients rely on community support for the most part. In other words, Umbraco CMS doesn’t come with its own dedicated support package as part of the product. Although there are bolt-on options that can be purchased directly from Umbraco.
The fact is, as with any business software decision, there are advantages and disadvantages to choosing any CMS package. Luckily though, buying a CMS isn’t like buying off-the-rack software. It can be made to do whatever you want it to do—within the limitations of your budget, at least. Whatever it is that your business does, from retail to infrastructure to manufacturing and more.
For most of Quba’s clients right now, the best solution means Kentico. It doesn’t skimp on features, it integrates beautifully with just about everything you could want, and it’s reasonably priced. But what’s the best solution for you?
If you know what you’re after, give us a ring, and let’s get to work!
And if you’re still not sure which one is right for you, give us a bell, and we’d be happy to talk through exactly what your company’s needs are. That way we can assess which type of CMS is the best overall fit, and which particular features might benefit your project. Quba doesn’t just build websites. We provide a comprehensive service to ensure your CMS fully integrates with your business the way you want it. We can’t wait to hear from you!
To enquire about any of the above Content Management Systems, please call or email Greg Matthews on 0114 279 7779 or [email protected]