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

Gary Eisenstein

By Gary Eisenstein

January 16, 2020

Corporate Name: Kentico Software Web: www.kentico.com 
Founded: 2004  Get in Touch: 1-866-328-8998
Corporate Office: Brno, Czech Republic Worldwide Locations: 6
CEO:  Petr Palas — Since 2004 Worldwide Employees: 250
Platform Type: ASP .NET  Current Version: Kentico EMS 12 SP
Licensing Model: Site and Server Licensing Licensing Cost: Available Online
Support: Service Level Agreement GitHub Account: www.github.com/kentico
Trial (Sandbox) Version:  By Request Online Demo: By Request
North America Service Partners: 296-plus Certified Global Service Partners: 846-plus Certified

Kentico’s products include Kentico EMS, the all-in-one CMS, eCommerce, and Online Marketing platform, and Kentico Kontent, the flexible Content-as-a-Service solution. Kentico EMS allows users to manage content, contacts, and campaigns, track customer journeys, provide global eCommerce functionality, and measure and analyze the results to create and manage customer experiences easily in a dynamic business environment. Kentico’s CaaS solution, Kentico Kontent, enables collaboration across the entire content lifecycle and integrates with any systems the customer has adopted. Flexible content models, collaboration, and workflow lead to faster content production and consistent experiences across channels.

HISTORY

Petr Palas founded Kentico in June 2004, and according to Petr, the company has been growing organically without any external funding or loans since then. Kentico Software helps clients create websites, online stores, community sites, and intranets using Kentico integrated marketing solutions. With offices in the United States, United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic and more than 1,000 partners in 80 countries, Kentico is one of the mid-market WCM leaders worldwide. 

“Originally, we built a web content management system,” shares Petr Palas, CEO of Kentico. “At the time, it was very much focused on helping IT departments make WCM more efficient and help them build websites. But later on, as companies invested more into digital marketing, we realized that they would need a more comprehensive solution. We continued to enhance our solution with additional elements, which included not only content management but also eCommerce, online marketing, as well as internet online community capabilities.”

KEY CMS CAPABILITIES

With a plethora of out-of-the-box functionality, Kentico’s .NET Web Content Management solution leverages features such as ready-to-use web parts, widgets, multiple language support, mobile previews, and device detection. Additionally, the WCM is fully integrated with Kentico’s Online Marketing solution, meaning you can automatically deliver experiences via multiple channels, on all devices.

“I would say in the core of our solution, it’s really content management connected with our multilingual content management and multisite management,”  says Petr. “Then, it’s the marketing automation functionality as well as content personalization and AI-based content recommendations. We also differentiate strongly in the market with our GDPR and data protection functionality. This was actually, very much, the first native support for GDPR or data privacy in a solution of this type, and I believe we still have the strongest offering in this area. We also have a very strong cloud support. Historically, we’ve been very early adopters of cloud technologies, and we have many customers running their websites on Microsoft Azure and AWS. Obviously, any WCM or DXP solution today needs to provide a strong interoperability. We provide powerful APIs for our Kentico EMS and also our system integrations advances, and also connecting into bidirectional synchronization with various systems, so there will be integration interoperability,” says Petr.

Key features and functionalities include:

  • Multi-site Management
  • Content Personalization
  • Smart Forms
  • Email Marketing
  • Full-text Search
  • Marketing Automation
  • GDPR & Data Protection
  • Headless Content Delivery
  • Azure & Amazon Cloud Support
  • System Integration Bus
 

ECOMMERCE CAPABILITIES

With full control over design, Kentico’s eCommerce solution gives you the power to sell globally for broader customer loyalty. Integration with third-party ERPs, CRMs, and payment gateways, and an easy-to-tailor checkout process give you the flexibility and extensibility to let your website grow while full integration with Online Marketing enables you to deliver real-time customer-centric marketing across all channels.

Petr states, “The biggest thing about our eCommerce solution is that it is natively integrated with our content management and digital marketing functionalities. So you can leverage, for example, marketing automation with eCommerce for things like abandoned shopping carts, and similarly, you can reuse content between our content management and our eCommerce solution. The fact that it is all fully integrated together is the biggest power of our eCommerce.”

Key eCommerce features and functionalities include:

  • Product Catalog 
  • Shopping Cart & Customizable Checkout
  • Discounts
  • Buy X, Get Y Discounts
  • Bundled Products
  • Electronic Products
  • Faceted Search
  • Multiple Currencies
  • Product Options & Variants
  • Shipping & Tax Calculation
 

DIGITAL EXPERIENCE CAPABILITIES

Kentico’s all-in-one digital experience platform, which they call Kentico EMS is built entirely in-house with a substantial list of out-of-the-box features, meaning you avoid having to deal with separate systems. 

As Petr explains, “Our digital experience platform is a combination of content management, digital marketing, and commerce. And then, if you want to dig deeper into digital marketing functionality, we provide out-of-the-box marketing automation workflows. We provide email marketing, online forms, landing pages, A/B testing, multi-grade testing, personalization, lead scoring, campaign management, social media integration, and GDPR and data protection support.”

Key DXP features and functionalities include:

  • Smart Forms
  • Contact Management
  • GDRP & Data Privacy
  • Marketing Automation
  • E-mail Marketing
  • A/B & Multivariate Testing
  • Content Personalization
  • Campaign Management
  • Social Media Integration
  • AI-based Content Recommendations
 

TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS

Kentico's technology partners include:

  • Salesforce Integration (CRM)
  • SharePoint (Connector)
  • Ucommerce (eCommerce)
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 (CRM)
  • Recombee (AI Recommendation)
  • Sage (Payment Gateway)
 

STRENGTHS

Kentico's Point of View

People choose Kentico EMS over other products for its ease-of-use, flexibility, and time-to-value. Petr expanded upon this, "Ease-of-use is about how easy it is for business users to adopt the solution and to actually become productive and highly independent of developers once the product is implemented and up-and-running. For flexibility, it’s primarily about the development, customization, and integration options that we provide, and how customers can build highly bespoke solutions on top of Kentico EMS. And for time-to-value, it’s about the fact that we offer lots of the functions out-of-the-box, and all of these functions are fully integrated. With Kentico EMS, it means they don’t have to combine multiple different products by themselves. Instead, they can use many of the out-of-the-box functionalities."

Implementation Partners' Point of View

"Ease of Use – The administration interface is clean and intuitive.  Most clients only require a few hours of training in order to be able to quickly and easily manage content."

"Support – Kentico provides comprehensive documentation and has a strong and active developer community.  When it is necessary to contact Kentico support directly, they are thorough and responsive." 

"Reliable, extensive and intuitive API and .NET SDK – For developers, the API and SDK are easy to utilize and leverage without requiring a steep learning curve." 

"Easy installation and maintenance – For clients using the perpetual license model, the installation is self-contained and doesn’t affect any other software on the server. Multiple installations with different versions per server are possible."

"Performance – Kentico scales well as the amount of content increases."

WEAKNESSES

Kentico's Point of View

"Our biggest weakness is with our brand awareness and our ability to make sure that customers learn about us," Petr says. "From the product perspective, I would say, in the past two years, we were going through a transition to a new MVC development model, which means that we had to rewrite a more significant piece of our solution. It was necessary so that we stay on top of Microsoft technologies. That is now pretty much over. With Kentico 12 SP, we released a complete MVC support for Kentico EMS, so this previous weakness has now been addressed."

Implementation Partners' Point of View

"The new MVC development model requires the client’s website to be a separate site from Kentico administration. This means features like security trimming have to be developed in the client’s website using the Kentico SDK."

"The staging module doesn’t allow for a granular deployment of any CMS artifacts and files."

"The development of widgets for a MVC Page Builder site allowing for custom properties is overly complicated. This issue is related to the Kentico MVC approach requiring the MVC website to be separate from the CMS."

"The out-of-the-box eCommerce features are not the strongest.  Many clients seek a more robust eCommerce solution."

KEY DIFFERENTIATORS

Kentico's Point of View

As far as Petr is concerned, Kentico's differentiator is about the value that Kentico brings to its customers. "We provide them with solutions that can be relatively easily implemented and deployed for their business so they can quickly realize the return on investment from Kentico EMS. I think that’s a considerable advantage of Kentico EMS compared to some high-end enterprise solutions that may take years to deploy, and you need a huge team to implement and then operate it. With Kentico EMS, we’ve always been focused on how to provide our customers with a highly practical solution that, once it is implemented, can be operated by marketers. The element of empowerment of our marketers has always been on top of our minds."

Implementation Partners' Point of View

"Extensive out-of-the-box features and modules at a good price point."

"Kentico’s price point is one of the largest differentiators and will be hard to beat for what you get out-of-the-box."

"One of the most intriguing aspects of Kentico is that a larger organization has not acquired it to this point. The architecture team is still intact, and they continue to produce a great and stable product, as well as new products such as Kentico Cloud and Kontent. While this might seem trivial, they have not had any disruption in their governance or roadmap strategy since their inception, which is why they are constantly able to move the product in a forward direction."

TRAINING & SUPPORT

Kentico offers online training for Developers & Tech-Leads, and Marketers & Content Editors, providing comprehensive, hands-on experience with best practices on using Kentico to help you achieve your goals. If the courses offered do not meet your needs, Kentico can provide custom-tailored training, delivered both online or onsite.

Standard technical support offers unlimited 24/7 phone and email support to all clients with a valid maintenance contract. You can email Kentico support engineers 24/7, attaching all necessary supporting materials such as screenshots, code files, etc., and they will reply within one business day. Premium Support is available for clients running mission-critical websites needing guaranteed response times. A Premium Support contract is valid for one year as an optional extension of the Standard Support.

IMPLEMENTATION PARTNER PROCESS

Kentico has 1,000+ registered, 705 certified implementation partners worldwide. Partners fall into three different categories; bronze, silver, and gold partners. Every new partner gets on-board training from Kentico, which includes business user training on how to use the platform and what are the best use cases for the platform. Once partners acquire their first project deployment, Kentico provides a dedicated customer success manager who helps them to deliver the project successfully.

“Kentico is our go-to partner when implementing a complete integrated marketing solution for our clients. Kentico drives more than 60% of our revenue each year and at least 95% of our content management and website development projects. Since becoming a Kentico partner, Bit-Wizards has grown as a company by 40% year over year.“ – Vincent W. Mayfield, CEO at Bit-Wizards.

CUSTOMERS

Worldwide Deployments: 30,000 websites actively on Kentico EMS

Top Market Sectors: 

  • Services
  • Finance
  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Non-profit
  • Tourism


Notable Kentico Brand-Name Customers:

  • PPG
  • Mazda
  • Kingspan
  • Allergan
  • Hyundai
  • Pan Macmillan
  • Ingram Micro
  • Twinings
  • Segway
  • Teradata
  • Canadian Red Cross
  • ABS-CBN News

Customer Comments:

Mark Prins, Development Manager at Datacom
We have been working with Kentico for a number of years now, beginning with version 2 of the product. Kentico has enabled us to deliver sites more quickly than with previous CMS frameworks—and with more functionality. This in turn frees us to explore new areas of business and add extra value to our clients. We are also finding benefit in making use of the portal model, which increases turnaround and reduces cost, for changes to sites that we support.

Sabrina Rodriguez, Global Head of Digital Marketing at Dentsu Aegis Network
Before Kentico, beyond the most basic content changes, everything would go through dev. So you'd be spending thousands on changing a piece on the page, whereas with Kentico Kontent it's easy to make content changes as you go. The real-time updates allow you to save time and money.”
 

 Customer comments and testimonials are all third-party verified

Featured Case Study



Regency Fireplace Products 

FUTURE ROADMAP

There is new generation of Kentico EMS called Kentico 2020. The first beta version was made available in September 2019. Kentico 2020 reintroduces linked pages functionality into MVC to cope with scenarios where a content editor needs to reuse content. The reusable content functionality will introduce solutions for menu building, home page modeling, and populating featured content. Create new marketing automation workflows with just a click from ready-made templates. You can also use templates to get inspiration for your automation built from scratch. Technologies like ASP.NET Core, ASP.NET Core MVC, MVC 5, and .NET Standard are all important parts of Kentico's technology future. In Kentico 2020, we want to provide .NET Standard assemblies as a NuGet package. Development teams can use these assemblies in their .NET Standard and .NET Core applications. They can also use them to create custom .NET Standard libraries or ASP.NET Core and ASP.NET Core MVC applications connected with Kentico.

In September 2019, Kentico also launched a new API integration called Kentico Kontent (previously Kentico Cloud), which is now available for Kentico EMS. This integration is great news for everybody who needs effortless content delivery to multiple channels and streamlined publishing to websites and applications utilizing modern front-end technologies.

The second beta version was made available in December 2019. The automatic or dynamic routing is one of the essential features that are missing in Kentico 12. Kentico 2020 will fill this gap with an automatic router module. This module will extend your custom routes with our dynamic behavior. Every page configured to use built-in dynamic routing will be granted with an automatically generated URL that adapts to every change in the content tree without any development effort. The customization model and multilingual support will be included. When you realize that it takes more than a new website to reach out to your audience, it's worth exploring other possibilities, such as marketing automation. 

Kentico understands that leveraging marketing automation can be time-consuming for those who know how to use the capabilities to expand their reach and confusing for those that do not. They want to help you with the process through a redesigned automation tool that guides beginners and provides sophisticated tools for experienced marketers at the same time. Kentico's internal search, as well as Azure search support, will be extended to automatically index all content from pages and not only the content from the content tab. This includes the widget's content or other content inside the sections. Explore the best components for your landing pages in our Marketplace — from simple components, such as a video widget, to sophisticated ones, such as the full-featured WYSIWYG editor.

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 4
Leadership and Positive Industry Recognition 3
Wide Selection of Features and Functionalities 3
Well-defined Differentiators 4
Offers Headless and/or Decoupled Architectures 2
eCommerce Offering 3
Cloud Capabilities 3
Digital Experience Platform (DXP) Offerings 3
Ability to Integrate with Pairing Technologies 4
Stable Platform with an Active Number of Deployments 4
Strong Customer References 3
Presales and Post-sales Support 4
Trained, Certified, and Experienced Implementation Partners 4
Clear and Well-defined Future Roadmap 3
Overall Performance Score — Very Good 47

ANNUAL HOSTED EVENTS

Every year, Kentico puts on a conference called Connection in several places around the world. Connection is an event that promotes the products that come from Kentico. The attendees are Kentico's partners, web development, and marketing agencies who leverage Kentico's products to build solutions for clients, and those using Kentico's products for their businesses.

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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.