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A Fair Review of the Top Mid-Market CMS for 2020 — CoreMedia

Gary Eisenstein

By Gary Eisenstein

January 16, 2020


 
Corporate Name: CoreMedia Corporation Web: www.coremedia.com
Founded: 1996 — Private Get in Touch: +1.703.945.1079
Corporate Office: Hamburg, Germany Worldwide Locations: 5
CEO: Sören Stamer — 1996–2009, 2015–present Worldwide Employees: 164
Platform Type: Java Current Version: 10.2004.2
Licensing Model: Subscription-based Licensing Cost: By Request
Support: Service Level Agreement GitHub Account: www.github.com/coremedia
Trial (Sandbox) Version: Not Available Online Demo: By Request
North American Service Partners: 28-plus certified Global Service Partners: 72-plus certified

CoreMedia, a developer of the content management and digital experience platform, CoreMedia Content Cloud, is committed to forging high-touch collaborations with category leaders across all industries. CoreMedia Content Cloud is a Composable DXP and Agile CMS. It is designed for business flexibility, openness and fast time to value. They empower companies to collaboratively create, preview, and optimize digital brand experiences – across multiple countries, languages and touchpoints. Powered by a hybrid headless CMS, fully-integrated DAM and multiexperience orchestration engine, CoreMedia Content Cloud supports the full range of enterprise business models from B2C and B2B to B2E.

HISTORY

CoreMedia was founded in 1996 at the University of Hamburg by a team of students and instructors in the computer science program. They were looking to develop a modular and object-oriented content management platform that could meet the needs of the emerging online environment. CoreMedia’s first two customers were Deutsche Presse Agentur and Axel Springer Verlag.

"Right from the get-go we started to work with media companies with the understanding that you need to be able to treat contents as an asset, not as a page online," said Doug Heise, Vice President of Global Marketing for CoreMedia. "From the very beginning we were working with this concept of reusable content assets that could be deployed in really smart ways."

The company opened its first North American office in 2005. In 2012, CoreMedia introduced Elastic Social, an enhanced version of its social toolset with new social interaction capabilities, content moderation tools, user management, and a scalable NoSQL data store. Two years later, its IBM WebSphere Commerce connector was launched. Since then, CoreMedia has steadily grown with a focus on the integration of commerce, forming tight partnerships and integrations around the content commerce space.

"The platform is very versatile," Doug added. "We've managed video platforms and DRM solutions on the platform. That's been part of our history as a company. Our current focus is on the integration of content and commerce. We've formed a lot of tight partnerships and integrations around the commerce space where we saw a tremendous need for advanced content management. CoreMedia has been steadily growing since then. We still have a strong presence in the central European market, but are becoming increasingly well known in the U.S., and that's been our main area of growth."

KEY CAPABILITIES

CoreMedia has two essential tools for delivering content to the end-user; their content application engine — which is not fully headless but rather a decoupled solution — and their headless content as a service offering. Another key feature is CoreMedia Studio, which is their business user interface It has a single web-based UI used to cover all use cases, whether you’re a casual or power user. CoreMedia Studio also has preview functionality with a comprehensive multichannel preview, allowing integrated content from third-party systems to be displayed dynamically at the same time as the CoreMedia hosted and stored content.

"A huge differentiator for us is our suite of deep product integration, prototypes, integrations, meaning e-commerce systems, and marketing platforms. I don't think anyone else has that kind of out-of-the-box integrations that we have, and that's been critical for us. All of the integrated content from third-party systems are displayed dynamically at the same time as the CoreMedia hosted content stored content. And you can change that a preview on the fly to see what that experience will look like on any platform and any device at any time. Our personalization tool are uniquely powerful. We've received kudos from analysts on that. The way that the product is architected is very powerful and very fast. We are natively Omnichannel and have a lot of new features that we're developing around omnichannel capabilities, including a whole new set of sort of tools that we're starting to develop around digital signage. A new thing that we've recently enhanced is our new hub framework for integration. It's not just that we have these out-of-the-box connectors, which are really powerful, but our integration framework as a whole is a unique differentiator with the product. And we've recently enhanced that in version a released version 10." 

Key features and functionalities include:

  • Built for Omnichannel
  • Headless Content Management
  • Personalization Tools
  • Generic API Covering All Channels
  • Deep eCommerce Integrations  
  • Translation Workflows
  • Multi-language Multisite Publishing
  • Single Web-based UI
  • GDPR-friendly
  • Accessiblility Enhancements
 

ECOMMERCE CAPABILITIES

CoreMedia blends content with commerce and shares it across all digital channels using their Content Cloud’s Commerce Hub, which offers pre-built integrations for all major eCommerce platforms. CoreMedia’s eCommerce APIs also enable seamless, real-time integration with in-house product catalogs, pricing systems, and existing homegrown eCommerce sites.

"One key feature is our suite of deep product integration, prototypes, and our integrations with eCommerce systems and marketing platforms. I don't think anyone else has that kind of out-of-box integrations that CoreMedia has, which has been critical for us in gaining ground in the marketplace,” said Doug.

Pre-built integrations include:

  • SalesForce Commerce Cloud
  • SAP Commerce Cloud
  • Elastic Path
  • Spryker Commerce OS
  • HCL Commerce
  • commercetools
 

DIGITAL EXPERIENCE CAPABILITIES

CoreMedia positions itself as an open, Best-of-Breed digital experience platform, which makes it well suited for augmenting existing DX stacks or to lay the foundation of new DXP initiatives designed for innovation and growth. CoreMedia provides a deep list of connectors to multiple marketing automation and eCommerce platforms, AI systems, and content optimization tools, as part of CoreMedia’s Experience Optimization Hubs.

Key DXP features and functionalities include:

  • Pre-built eCommerce Connectors
  • Centralized Asset Management Across Marketing Tools
  • Developer-friendly Connector APIs
  • Integrations with Content Optimization and Analytics Tools
  • Dynamics CRM Connect
 

TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS

CoreMedia's technology partners include:

  • Salesforce (Scalable CRM)
  • IBM (Information Technology)
  • Cloudinary (Image & Video Management)
  • HCL Technologies (IT Services)
  • Microsoft (Information Technology)
  • Mobify (Front end Platform-as-a-Service)
  • Siteimprove (Cloud-based Governance tools)
  • Translations.com (Multilingual Content)
  • Acrolinx (Real-time Feedback)
  • Amazon Web Services (Cloud Computing Services)
 

STRENGTHS

CoreMedia’s Point of View

As a company, CoreMedia is very flexible. They want their customers to succeed by working with them on various levels, in terms of project timelines and technical expertise. Their approach to content delivery or headless provides a big advantage for developers by providing clean APIs and easy access to content for all sorts of native apps, browser-based single page apps, or progressive webapps.


CoreMedia’s hybrid headless approach makes it easy for developers to create powerful, platform-agnostic apps, while also giving marketers and merchandisers fine-grained control over all of their products and brand assets. By combining the best of Headless CMS with their intuitive CoreMedia Studio UI, marketers are empowered to preview all changes and edits 'in-place' and 'in-context'. Their hybrid headless architecture also enables true in-place visual editing of your React or Vue.JS Single Page Applications (SPA) or Progressive Web Applications (PWA) - along with the ability to quickly create landing pages or other HTML-based outputs. Plus, you can re-use your content and assets easily for your existing website and mobile site as well as any campaigns in marketing tools.

Also, CoreMedia deeply integrates with other eCommerce solutions or your very own homegrown solution, whatever feeds your needs. They seamlessly blend content with commerce and share it across all digital channels using their Content Cloud’s Commerce Hub, which offers pre-built integrations for all major eCommerce platforms.

Implementation Partners' Point of View

"CoreMedia provides out-of-the-box, real-time integrations into leading eCommerce systems, including the product catalog, pricing, inventory, and the underlying personalization engine. CoreMedia is content-centric, which means that content is never duplicated – this is important for creating an efficient Digital Experience Platform. It allows for unique scenarios such as personalizing content and product information in a consistent, measurable manner, reduces overall TCO, and speeds up time-to-market. Their solution covers all eCommerce and Marketing integration scenarios from small augmentation of existing online stores to hybrid and content-driven experiences — all from a single deployment."

WEAKNESSES

CoreMedia’s Point of View

One apparent weakness is that we are not designed to help someone if they're looking for a small-to-medium type [of] solution. We're not on the lower-end of the market; rather, [we're a] mid-tier enterprise. So, if you're looking for simple use cases, we're not a good fit. We are much more focused on complex-use cases. In addition, we don't have as much visibility and awareness in North America as some of our competitors, but we're working on that by making significant investments, which I'm hoping to be able to announce a few very soon.

Implementation Partners' Point of View

"Although CoreMedia excels at complex scenarios, it’s really overkill for smaller or more basic marketing or publishing requirements. It’s also not a good match if you’re looking for a single, all-in-one suite of tools from a single vendor."

KEY DIFFERENTIATOR

CoreMedia’s Point of View

Speed and agility of the platform is [a] key differentiator. Not only the speed at which we can get our customers implemented and launched but also how quickly they can update and publish their content. Our platform is designed to be very fast and efficient. Although CoreMedia comes with out-of-box tools, it's highly customizable to better reflect your business mode and incorporate your existing tools and best-in-breed legacy software. CoreMedia’s business logic layer is very powerful and allows you to shape the way your content is presented.

Implementation Partners' Point of View

"We really do believe that CoreMedia is one of the best CMS’s on the market for global eCommerce, but it also provides unique capabilities for B2B brands and media companies. Few companies have such a deep history of CMS excellence in so many industries - from media to telco to luxury fashion. We also very expected about their new headless delivery capabilities and API-driven integration hub framework."

TRAINING & SUPPORT

The on-site or at Hamburg training center courses are tailored to the roles and responsibilities customers will face in a Web CMS project. The CoreMedia Training Center provides you with courses throughout the different phases of your project. During the training sessions, CoreMedia delivers the expertise required to successfully implement your project. Each course addresses practical scenarios and topics encountered by implementation professionals, whether trainers, developers, project managers, or editors. Training programs are tailored to meet the needs of particular profiles and the skills they require to successfully deliver.

CoreMedia’s support team is staffed with professionals able to handle your most urgent requests. Enterprise customers can contact us 24/7. CoreMedia’s HelpCenter has their User Orientation section with useful links for customers and partners and a Knowledge Base with helpful hints from experts for developing with CoreMedia. 

IMPLEMENTATION PARTNER PROCESS

CoreMedia has 72 trained and certified implementation partners globally and more than 28 North American partners. CoreMedia’s implementation partner process provides multiple paths for partners to advance and confirm their suitability for implementation projects. Their formal partner certification process is an advanced step for more mature partners but is not a requirement to work on CoreMedia projects. Certification encompasses three roles: Architect, Management Developer, and Delivery Developer. Each role requires participation in the corresponding training sessions and successful completion of the certification test within each discipline. Partners can also leverage their project experience to qualify as a Platinum, Gold, or Silver Partner.

CUSTOMERS

Worldwide Deployments: 302

Top Market Sectors: 

  • Retail
  • Media
  • Finance
  • Manufacturing 
  • Public Services  
  • Telecommunications 
  • Healthcare 
  • Logistics
  • B2C
  • B2B


Notable CoreMedia Brand-Name Customers:

  • Deckers Brands
  • Emerson Electric
  • Office Depot
  • Pandora Jewelery 
  • Calvin Klein
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • T-Mobile
  • TDK
  • Under Armour
  • Men's Warehouse 

Customer Comments:

Bettina Fischer, Head of Corporate Online Communications at Henkel
"CoreMedia quickly won us over. It was clear that the system was not the result of a bunch of acquisitions, but was developed organically from a single source. I think that helped the implementation of the solution to go so smoothly. Thanks to the professional support from CoreMedia during the technical design phase, we always felt well looked after." 
 
Brian Fortier, Senior Digital Product Manager at Deckers 
"We picked CoreMedia after researching multiple content management systems for a couple of years. What stood out about CoreMedia was how easy it was for merchandisers to drag and drop both content and products from different repositories to quickly provide new customer experiences. The learning curve for a non-technical user was really easy."

 
Cathy Ash, Director, Emerson Electric 
“CoreMedia LiveContext’s ability to enhance the experience across all levels of pages and its ability to support critical B2B functions were factors in our decision. We were also impressed that the solution provided a single seamless user interface that could support both content and catalog-driven publishing workflows.”
 

 Customer comments and testimonials are all third-party verified

Featured Case Study

Footwear Innovator Fits Perfectly into a Content Cloud Solution

FUTURE ROADMAP

One area where CoreMedia is going to focus a lot within the next couple iterations is artificial intelligence (AI) integration. This further development with some of the leading AI engines will help not only the marketers, merchandisers, and editors but also the customers. CoreMedia is also putting a lot of effort into their in-store and digital signage capabilities so that people can use the tools, not just to design the online experience, but also the in-store experiences as they would be displayed on interactive screens within a store. 

B2B commerce is a significant area for CoreMedia as well, with integration and support for additional B2B-optimized commerce systems. CoreMedia is going to continue enhancing capabilities so that customers can do a lot more customization of their implementation on the cloud, working towards a fully self-serviced cloud offering.

In addition to CoreMedia’s longstanding workflow capabilities — which has been part of the product for many years — they recently came out with a whole new collaboration framework. The future plan is to make it even more powerful of a team collaboration tool for customer’s campaign management needs.

PERFORMANCE GUIDE

CMS-Connected's performance guide is based on our interviews with the vendor, their implementation and technical partners, customers, and leading industry analysts.

Category Scoring: 5 = Excellent | 4 = Very Good | 3 = Good | 2 = Satisfactory | 1 = Unsatisfactory

Overall Performance Scoring: 57–70 = Excellent | 43–56 = Very Good | 29–42 = Good | 15–28 = Satisfactory | 1–14 = Unsatisfactory

Performance Category Scoring
Strong North American Footprint with a Global Presence 3
Leadership and Positive Industry Recognition 4
Wide Selection of Features and Functionalities 4
Well-defined Differentiators 4
Offers Headless and/or Decoupled Architectures 4
eCommerce Offering 5
Cloud Capabilities 4
Digital Experience Platform (DXP) Offerings 3
Ability to Integrate with Pairing Technologies 4
Stable Platform with an Active Number of Deployments 3
Strong Customer References 4
Presales and Post-sales Support 2
Trained, Certified, and Experienced Implementation Partners 2
Clear and Well-defined Future Roadmap 3
Overall Performance Score — Very Good 49

ANNUAL HOSTED EVENTS

CoreMedia’s three annual events, Customer Summit, Developer Conference, and the Partner Kickoff. These conferences provide the perfect opportunity to network with experts from CoreMedia, overview of the past and upcoming months activities, and of course, to get a glimpse of what to expect in the upcoming CoreMedia version releases.

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Gary Eisenstein

Gary Eisenstein

Gary has been working in the IT industry for over 26-years and is a Principal Analyst at CMS-Connected Media Corp. and is the Founder and CEO of Falcon-Software Company. If you would like to receive additional advice or consultation on how to evolve your digital transformation journey, Gary can be reached at gary.eisenstein@cmscmedia.com.