In 2014 we rationalised our Content Management System portfolio down to one CMS on the Microsoft platform: Kentico. Why?
Time, cost and quality
The key factors were unsurprisingly: cost (both to us and our clients); time; and quality. No other CMS in our experience comes close to balancing all three aspects so well. Investment was key though. Last year we invested in our Kentico skills both from a developers’ and also from a technical users’ perspective. We also built our own suite of widgets and Web Parts that compliment what comes with a standard Kentico installation. From carousels to product showcases, our collection of components cuts our speed of deployment from wireframe to code significantly. Improving our speed of deployment means: we are cheaper and faster, the end product is of even better quality and, most importantly, we can rebalance our time toward developing an even better User Experience. Our Kentico developments are now quicker than our WordPress developments. With the benefits of being on a robust, mature, secure platform.
Absolutely Open Source CMS systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Umbraco and so on have convinced us as users – and more importantly clients – that a CMS does not have to cost significant amounts of money. With the wide range of capabilities they offer, investing in expensive systems isn’t necessarily the way to go. That all said, all these CMS have one big disadvantage: only to a limited extent do they suit the needs of big, internationally operating companies for product and service services – let alone an eCommerce platform. Also, Open Source systems frequently lack the potential for medium-sized companies that want to run an active lead management. Apart from a company’s technology strategy and fit, the usage and usability for clients is a substantial reason for using Open Source systems – despite the drawbacks touched on above.
Our preferred CMS used to be Umbraco. Gracefully upgrading from one version of Umbraco is a lot trickier than upgrading from one version of Kentico to the next. Often upgrades are made out of necessity and spending more money than a necessity is never pleasant.
Raising a support ticket is never a fun experience, but at least being able to 24/7 and getting a fix with in 24 hours makes it as bearable as possible.
In our experience asking a client for a one-off licence payment goes down much better than an annual one. Maybe it is because there’s the expectation that it will be an annual licence and when it is not it just feel better. Also the cost of £2,299 for a base licence doesn’t seem to be unreasonable given the features and the ease-of-use – especially as there’s a 30 day money back guarantee. Plus there’s the option of upgrading to the Marketing Automation version (EMS).
Because it is written in .NET we can customise the code base to work in a way that suits our clients, exactly. So if some of the features almost do the job, but not quite then we can tweak them so they do.
It also means that using the built-in integration bus we can integrate it with existing third-party applications and components, such as a CRM or ERP systems. In our case, we’ve hooked it up to Salesforce, SharePoint and Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
For a number of years, we’ve have been looking for a decent Marketing Automation (MA) system. Finally, we have found one. The EMS version has MA built in. Using your site as the central point, EMS lets you market across channels by setting up rules. Those rules are those customer journeys and personas that you developed at the start of the project that traditionally never get looked at again post the planning phase! It is a bit like IFTT on steroids for businesses. This video is a little cheesy, but it makes the point.