25 content management systems for enterprise companiesA guide intended to help large organizations choose the most appropriate CMS for their needs
The question many enterprise companies ask themselves is if they should build their own Content Management System, or CMS, or buy a ready-made one. The short answer is, “it depends.” At the same time, larger companies often find a middle ground by buying an off-the-shelf system and custom-tailoring it to meet their needs.
In this post, we’ll talk about 25 content management systems suitable for enterprise companies. But first, let’s see how the needs of a typical big org are aligned with various CMS offerings out there.
Types of content management systems
A typical enterprise has some internal data used inside the organization and some external content that its clients interact with.
Back-office data: paper-based and digital documents, records, reports, statistics, etc. It is normally managed using ECM (enterprise content management) software that serves to digitize physical documents, share and collaborate with others, search for information, etc.
Client-facing content: website pages, product descriptions, ebooks and whitepapers, the corporate blog, etc. Client-facing content is usually managed through a CMS (content management system) that lets the company manage its website, corporate blog, online store, and other internet properties.
That said, the biggest difficulty companies face is integrating internal content with external content and allowing data to flow freely in both directions.
If we try to visualize types of internal and external systems, we’ll end up with the following scheme:
As you can see, front-office (client-facing) content management systems can be further divided into CMSes proper and site builders. What is the difference between these two?
|Access to source code||No access to source code|
|You can host it on your own server(s)||The website is hosted on vendor servers|
|A steeper learning curve||Drag-and-drop functionality|
|Examples: WordPress, Drupal, Magento||Examples: Squarespace, Wix, Shopify|
A CMS is a “raw” instrument that allows you to create a web property, and it still requires web design knowledge. A site-builder is normally a rookie-friendly drag-and-drop tool that allows you to do the same.
25 enterprise-grade content management systems
Recent research by Gartner registered a “shift from page-based content paradigm to atomic and composable content.” The ability to manage content in a modular fashion is particularly important in the enterprise world.
Hence, we tried to include in this roundup CMSes that can be integrated with other services. We paid attention to API options and solutions’ system characteristics (for example, whether they support headless mode).
General-purpose enterprise CMSes
Price: Business - from $999/mo; Premium - from $1,999/mo; Enterprise - by quote.
Kentico Kontent is a cloud-based headless CMS that allows companies to deliver content by API to multiple digital channels. It integrates easily with business apps like ERP as well as PIM systems, allows developers to use their technology of choice, and provides advanced content collaboration and content grouping features to marketers.
Price: a free Community Edition; quote-based price for Magnolia Cloud.
Magnolia CMS is an open-source headless CMS written in Java. It offers a Community Edition that developers can download for free, plus there is a PaaS version available – Magnolia Cloud. There are a bunch of (mostly paid) connector packs available for Magnolia that let developers seamlessly integrate commerce, marketing automation, analytics, and DAM tools with the system.
Price: undisclosed; 30-day free trial.
dotCMS is a Java-based hybrid CMS that combines the benefits of a headless setup with those of traditional content creation tools. It can be integrated with third-party apps like Magento, HubSpot, Elastic Search, and Google Analytics via API and allows one to manage content across intranets, extranets, apps, and other places.
Price: a free open-source version; Umbraco Cloud from $39/mo with a 14-day trial.
Umbraco CMS is an open-source content management system built with C+. It boasts a community of 200,000 active contributors. There is a paid version available, Umbraco Cloud. Plus there is Umbraco Heartcore, a headless version that starts from $49/month, and Umbraco Uno, a solution for creative agencies.
Price: a Community edition; Crafter Enterprise (self-managed) from $380/mo; Crafter Cloud (SaaS) from $880/mo.
Crafter CMS is described as a “Git-based headless CMS for the enterprise.” It seems to be targeted at developers with an API-first repository and Git-based versioning. At the same time, it helps out authors quite a bit, too: content creators can define content models in a drag-and-drop fashion, get an in-context preview of the piece, and push it to multiple channels with the click of a button.
Price: free; you may have to pay extra for themes, hosting, and/or plugins.
WordPress tops many best enterprise CMS lists, and rightly so. Many ask if WordPress is a good fit for the enterprise only to find out that it’s used by orgs like The White House, Wired, Walt Disney, and The New York Times.
WordPress is primarily a blogging platform, so you’ll need plugins to extend the core functionality. That said, WordPress can be expanded to meet enterprise needs, considering it now has REST API, a new sleek Gutenberg editor (although some fear it may break older self-hosted websites), and support for a multi-site and multi-language setup.
Price: from $2000/mo
Automattic was started by Matt Mullenweg, the same person who created WordPress. By adding lots of advanced features to the core system, Automattic arrived at WordPress VIP, its enterprise-grade solution that comes with a bunch of cherry-picked integrations like Getty Images, Optimizely, and Yoast, robust APIs, a Github-based developer workflow, enterprise-level security, and a managed CDN, among other features.
Price: (CMS) Solo - free, Pro - $299/project, Enterprise - undisclosed; (Store) Lite - $199/project, Pro - $999/project.
Craft is both a CMS and an eCommerce platform. On the CMS side, it offers flexible content modelling, an ability to develop custom templates with Twig, a headless mode, user roles and permission, GraphQL API, etc. On the store side, it lets you handle typical e-store activities like payments, sales, and taxes. Craft lists companies like Netflix and Citibank among its users and has a network of verified partner agencies who can work on your project.
Price: free; you may have to pay extra for hosting and related services.
Drupal is one of the world’s most popular open-source CMSes, alongside WordPress. It is sometimes considered more appropriate for the enterprise, though. Written in PHP, Drupal adopted some Symphony libraries in its core starting with Drupal 8, making it all the more powerful.
Price: by quote.
Acquia was founded by Dries Buytaert, the person who invented Drupal, as a commercial unit that was supposed to help the team maintain the CMS in the long run. Nowadays, Aquia’s top product is Acquia DX Platform, which consists of two components: Drupal Cloud and Marketing Cloud. Drupal Cloud is an enterprise-class CMS that offers seamless migration, Cloud IDE for developers, Site Studio for content creators, CI/CD tools, and other features.
Price: Community - free; Team - from $489/mo; Enterprise - undisclosed.
Contentful is an API-first content management platform that enables an omnichannel digital experience. It is very developer-friendly, with a microservices architecture, RESTful API, an SDK for popular languages, and other dev tools available out of the box. It also allows content writers to create custom content types by using just the fields they need, publishing in multiple languages, and more.
Price: from $995/mo.
With Contentstack, the name itself suggests developer-friendliness and flexibility. And it’s true: Contentstack is a front-end-agnostic, easy-to-integrate CMS that offers great tools for web designers as well as content writers. It also enables a company to align its content strategy with its business processes, collaborate on content, provide an omnichannel experience to customers, personalize the experience thanks to the headless setup, and more.
Price: Start-ups - $475/mo; Business - $3,500/mo; Enterprise - undisclosed.
Zesty is a feature-rich CMS solution that offers flexible content modelling, cross-device previews, support for internationalization and localization, granular roles and permissions, a multi-tenant publishing flow, and more. Developers will enjoy headless APIs, Zesty’s proprietary WebEngine that delivers pages fast and at 99.99% uptime, and a high-speed CDN (although you can use your own content delivery network, too).
General-purpose enterprise site builders
Price: by quote for enterprise users.
Wix is generally known as an extremely user-friendly site builder. There is also the Wix Platform that caters to the needs of enterprise companies and lists big names like DHL, Hilton, and Deloitte among its clients. The enterprise solution allows you to set up multiple web properties and manage them all under one roof so you can easily update content in multiple places with integrated databases, custom code, and hundreds of third-party APIs.
Squarespace is an eCommerce-friendly drag-and-drop site builder. It also offers Squarespace Select, a premium plan that combines Squarespace’s select features with dedicated support. Select users get a dedicated account manager, an SEO consultation and web design advice as part of the package. Moreover, it offers 99.9% uptime, top-grade security, and advanced collaboration tools.
eCommerce content management systems
Price: from $2000/mo.
When Shopify first appeared, it was welcomed by many (Magento-weary) SMBs as a push-button solution that allowed non-technical store owners to operate their businesses. But it wasn’t long before the company came up with an enterprise offering, Shopify Plus. It has a horde of cool features not found in smaller packages: built-in AR, video, and 3D media on product pages; an integrated tax automation solution from Avalara Avatax Plus; and many others.
Price: depends on business size and complexity.
BigCommerce is Shopify’s up-and-coming top competitor in the eCommerce space. Some say that BigCommerce has more features available out of the box than Shopify, which extends functionality through plugins. Another selling point of BigCommerce is its headless mode. It allows you to easily integrate with CMSes like WordPress and Drupal and use them for front-end content management, if you wish.
Price: either $1,999/mo or $0/mo with Shift4 payments.
Shift4Shop (former 3DCart) offers a SaaS eCommerce platform for businesses of different sizes, including the enterprise. It has all the key capabilities you would expect from an eCommerce platform and claims to be the only product of its kind with clear and transparent pricing. In January this year, Shift4Shop announced that it will “offer all of the platform’s premium features at no cost when Shift4’s payment solution is used.”
Price: free; you may have to pay extra for hosting, extensions, and development.
WooCommerce started as an extension that adds eCommerce functionality to WordPress. In 2015, it was acquired by Automattic (WordPress founder and key contributor) and has kept gaining market share ever since. The main advantage of WooCommerce is that it’s free and open-source, which makes it flexible and eliminates vendor lock-in. (Automattic has put together a list of pros of using WordPress VIP + WooCommerce in an enterprise setting.)
Marketing and DX (digital experience) systems
According to Gartner, while WCM (web content management) systems were previously used for literal content management, they are now expected to support sophisticated digital experience strategies that involve unheard-of personalization. So more and more vendors now position their products as comprehensive DX platforms.
Price: from $900/mo for enterprise users.
In the marketing world, HubSpot needs no introduction. CMS Hub™ is a full-featured content management system built on HubSpot’s CRM platform, which lets you create personalized experiences that drive conversions and sales. A strong component of the CMS are its SEO and marketing features added on top of the capabilities you’d expect from an enterprise system. If you want your CMS to function like a sales machine, CMS Hub™ is probably for you.
Price: by quote.
Bloomreach Experience Manager is an enterprise-grade CMS that allows you to provide targeted, on-brand digital experiences and drive revenue. The system offers robust tools for marketers who want to quickly create high-converting landing pages and microsites without developer help. It also gives maximum freedom to developers with an API-first approach, a headless capability, and an easy way to integrate the system with third-party tools.
Price: by quote.
Squiz offers a digital experience platform that helps “create and scale digital services that increase customer value with seamless, personalised customer experiences.” It brings together a set of tools to achieve this goal: Squiz Matrix (a headless API-first CMS), Squiz Funnelback (an AI-powered personalized search), Squiz Connect (a low-code integration solution), and Squiz Datastore (a customer data management solution).
Price: by quote.
Brandcast strives to revolutionize the way companies create digital content by offering (arguably) the first code-free web content management system for enterprise companies. It is like a marketing/DX toolbox where you can find instruments for web design, content creation, and brand asset management in one place.
Price: from 299/mo for the Premium plan.
Mailchimp is so much more than your email marketing solution these days. It bundles selected services into a comprehensive marketing platform, complete with a content studio, a marketing CRM, an email automation system, and analytics. The Premium plan includes a customer journey builder, advertising tools, and other instruments to help you build and serve high-converting pages to just the right audiences.
Price: by quote.
e-Spirit is the company behind FirstSpirit Digital Experience Platform, a solution that encompasses a hybrid (headless + CaaS) enterprise-class CMS, AI-driven personalization capabilities, in-context editing options, an eCommerce module, a microservices architecture, and much more.
It’s hard to tackle the enterprise CMS problem. One of the reasons is that no two large companies are exactly the same and their web content needs may differ enormously. It’s hard to come up with a one-size-fits-all, push-button solution. Therefore, most enterprise CMS providers try to offer as much flexibility, modularity, portability, and extendibility as possible – in case you need to integrate with another system, another CMS, another app, your intranet, etc., etc.
Here at ObjectStyle, we’ve worked with enterprise-grade CMSes for years, and we might be able to help you work out a CMS strategy, architecture, or even a custom-made solution. If you need something like that, please let us know.
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