8 CMS Platforms You May Not Know But Merit Consideration
In January 2020, CMS-Connected Media released A Fair Review of the Top Mid-Market CMS — an in-depth analysis of the leading mid-market content management platform solutions. Some of the early feedback we received was not around who was included; rather, it was about the platforms that were excluded. As an analyst, I recognize that any list which claims to feature the ‘top of’ or ‘best of’ will provoke healthy debate, and that there are always suitable alternatives that warrant acknowledgment.
It’s important to point out that my focus has mainly revolved around mid-market platforms. This is because I feel that the small business platform market is supersaturated with a proliferation of unknown players. Conversely, the enterprise platforms, though fewer in number, are far more widely known, have been thoroughly scrutinized and critiqued, and retain solid foot-holds in their high-level marketplace sectors.
With that in mind, I have compiled a selection of mid-market vendors whose platforms did not make it into this year’s Fair Review of the Top Mid-Market CMS, but are certainly worthy of mention. One of these CMS options may well be the best-fit web content management solution you’ve been searching for.
Bridgeline Digital (BLIN – NASDAQ) helps customers maximize the performance of their full digital experience — from websites and intranets to online stores and campaigns. Bridgeline’s Unbound platform is a digital experience platform (DXP) that deeply integrates web content management (WCM), eCommerce, marketing automation, site search, authenticated portals, social media management, translation, and web analytics. Collectively, this assists marketers in organizations to deliver digital experiences that attract, engage, nurture, and convert their customers across all channels and streamline business operations. Bridgeline has customers that range from small and medium-sized organizations to Fortune 1,000 companies.
Headquartered: Burlington, Massachusetts, with locations in Chicago and New York
Current CEO: Bridgeline’s Board of Directors appointed Ari Kahn as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2016.
Core Products: Web Content Management, B2B & B2C eCommerce, Community Portals & Intranets, Marketing Automation
Top Add-On Connectors: BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe’s Magento, Shopify, and SAP Hybris
Certified Integration Partners: 28
Training & Support: Product training is available for marketers, site administrators, and developers in addition to value-added customer service initiatives, which include customer onboarding, a community support site, help desk, and ticketing system.
Featured Customer Case Study: Bridgeline Empowers The UPS Store to Manage Commerce and Content at Scale.
Customer Testimonial: “The Bridgeline team truly delivered on their promise of an interactive technology solution. They engaged with us at the beginning of the process to identify, in the context of the website, the best opportunities for growth in terms of new customer acquisition, customer retention, and cross-selling activities. Their ability to integrate our four divisions on the Bridgeline platform gives us a new tool-set to easily and more effectively promote targeted products and services across divisions. By taking our website to the next level, we can better communicate and engage with our online customers and community members.” — Fedelina Madrid, Vice President of Marketing at Berkshire Bank.
Trial Bridgeline: Request a Demo
Contentstack is a headless content management system. Its technology delivers a digital experience platform (DXP) that enables personalized customer journeys through omnichannel content and offers brands an opportunity to operate with more agility than they could with a traditional CMS. Marquee customers include Amway, Best Buy, Chase, Cisco, Dell, Ellie Mae, Express, J.D. Power, Miami HEAT, Shell, and Walmart. Contentstack sits at the heart of an award-winning (DXP) and is the exclusive API-first CMS for the SAP Cloud.
Headquartered: San Francisco, California, with locations in India and Amsterdam
Current CEO: Neha Sampat is the current CEO at Contentstack since 2018, and the founder of Built.io
Core Product: Headless SaaS Web Content Management in the cloud with integrations into leading digital marketing and API first eCommerce platforms.
Top Add-On Connectors: Google Analytics, Optimizely, IBM Watson, Shopify, Marketo, and Brightcove.
Certified Integration Partners: Information not available.
Training & Support: Contentstack provides direct access to the technical and engineering team with unrestricted development and test accounts. The Contentstack partner program offers exclusive incentives, expert training, and certification options, as well as enhanced support only available to Contentstack partners. Partners are also able to tap into Contentstack’s marketing investment and benefit from participating in go-to-market activities, including joint webinars, content production, events, and demand generation campaigns. Contentstack provides 24x7 in product chat support. Additionally, they also offer premium support models with dedicated account reps for enterprise plans.
Featured Customer Case Study: Miami HEAT Delivers Real-time Personalized Digital Experiences with a Headless CMS
Customer Testimonial: “I don’t have to depend on the developers to do everything. I can go in and make the changes instead of them having to do all the work. Simplicity in the U.I., both for content editors and technically savvy people, has helped us.” — Hallur Þór Halldórsson, UX Writer and Content Designer, Icelandair
Trial Contentstack: Request a Demo
The open-source Crafter CMS project was first conceived in 2007 by its founders, who were implementation experts building custom content management solutions for major enterprises such as Harvard Business Publishing, JP Morgan Chase, The Washington Post, and NFL.com. Between 2007 and 2012, more than $5M of development was invested in the Crafter CMS project to fill a gaping hole in the enterprise Web CMS marketplace. Crafter CMS enables the creation of robust and engaging websites, mobile applications, and multi-channel digital experiences. Available for both on-premise and in the cloud as a pure SaaS.
Headquartered: Reston, Virginia
Current CEO: Mike Vertal is the current CEO at Crafter Software since 2013
Core Products: Crafter CMS, Crafter Video, and Crafter Cloud
Top Add-On Connectors: Box, Marketo, AWS Elemental, Amazon AWS, GitLab, and commercetools
Certified Integration Partners: 17
Training & Support: Crafter offers developer and content author training courses, where attendees learn how to build and manage engaging sites, content as a service, and other types of digital experiences with Crafter CMS. Through a combination of instructor-led sessions, demonstrations and labs, attendees learn how Crafter can be used to manage web content and deliver engaging site visitor experiences. Crafter also offers a DevContentOps process. Crafter is provided with a range of SLA options, guaranteed availability, call-tracking, and bug prioritization.
Featured Customer Case Study: How Marriott International Employs a Content-Driven Global Extranet to Deliver Great Customer Experiences
Customer Testimonial: “We are very impressed with the Crafter products and are excited to be a channel partner. Our clients have long sought a full WCM solution that provides both a great experience for business users combined with robust enterprise-class content management on the back end.” — Jeff Philipp, CEO of Blue Fish Development Group.
Trial Crafter: Free Version Available
DNN provides a suite of solutions for creating rich online experiences with products and technology that are the foundation for 750,000-plus websites worldwide. In addition to the commercial CMS, Evoq, they are also the steward of the DotNetNuke Open Source Project. DNN provides software that helps organizations create, manage and measure content, enabling it to surface when and where it’s needed, such as Bank of America, Aetna, True Value Hardware, Whirlpool, the U.S. Department of Defense, and Sports Direct.
Headquartered: Austin, Texas
Current CEO: Andy Tryba is the current CEO at DNN since 2017
Core Products: Evoq Content and Evoq Engage
Top Add-On Connectors: The DNN Store is an e-commerce marketplace that aims to make it incredibly easy for users to locate, purchase, and download third-party add-ons for DNN.
Certified Integration Partners: 53
Training & Support: DNN provides training through their certified partners who specialize in delivering DNN Training. DNN Training options come in two flavors: online video training or instructor-led training. Whether it’s content management, module development, or theme creation, the DNN Training Partners have it covered. DNN Support Packages are available for both DNN Platform and Evoq customers. DNN offers DNN Support Packages to maintain a customer’s DNN site to make sure it is updated and secure with a direct support line and ongoing customer success initiatives.
Featured Customer Case Study: Website Redesign with Texas Hospital Association
Customer Testimonial: “In this economic environment, we had to be very cognizant of what things cost. I don’t think there’s any other content management system that touches DNN in terms of low cost and rich features.” — Robin Parker, Web, and Database Programming Manager Johnson School of Management, Cornell University.
Trial DNN: Request a Demo
dotCMS is a leading, open-source content and customer experience management platform for companies that want innovation and performance driving their websites and other content-driven applications. Extensible and massively scalable, both small and large organizations can rapidly deliver personalized and engaging content across browsers, mobile devices, channels, second screens, and endpoints -- all from a single system. Founded in 2003, with a global network of certified development partners and an active open source community, dotCMS has generated more than a half-million downloads and thousands of implementations and integration projects worldwide. Notable dotCMS customers include Telus, Standard & Poors, Hospital Corporation of America, Royal Bank of Canada, DirecTV, Thomson Reuters, China Mobile, Aon, and DriveTest Ontario.
Headquartered: Miami, Florida with an office in Boston, San Jose, and Costa Rica
Current CEO: Tim Prince Brigham is the current Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer at dotCMS since 2009.
Core Products: Hybrid CMS, Content Management, Workflows & Approval, Personalization & Content Targeting
Top Add-On Connectors: Akamai, AWS, Azul Systems Technology, Bynder, Cloud Foundry Foundation, commercetools, HubSpot, and Salesforce
Certified Integration Partners: 23
Training & Support: dotCMS offers a complete range of on-demand and instructor-led training courses that can help customers get their projects started on the right foot. dotCMS training programs are designed to empower everyone involved, from content contributors and web developers to system administrators and Java developers. Courses are offered on-site or remotely. Designed to provide ongoing hands-on guidance and assistance, dotCMS Professional Support delivers the knowledge and experience to address any challenge that might arise with 24/7 critical care, including off-hours maintenance.
Featured Customer Case Study: How a Century-Old Burger Brand Serves Up Cutting Edge Customer Experiences
Customer Testimonial: “dotCMS is so flexible and easy to use from a business perspective – we don’t need to undertake complex I.T. projects to create new content or programs in dotCMS. We can go in and do it ourselves. It’s fantastic.” — Kris Livingstone, Senior Developer Analyst at TELUS.
Trial dotCMS: Request a Demo
eZ Systems was founded in 1999 in Norway as a global content management platform provider that is dedicated to helping businesses maximize the value of their content and deliver digital experiences that foster growth. The eZ ecosystem contains 80+ business partners and a community of 45,000+ members with more than 85 employees in 8 offices throughout Europe, North America, and Asia. In 2011, eZ extended the eZ brand and the eZ Systems company into the eZ Systems Group. The eZ Systems Group was created to develop new, innovative solutions that can be combined with eZ software to maximize its effectiveness and can also serve as stand-alone services. Yoochoose, a Software-as-a-Service provider of content personalization and recommendation technology, is the first company to become part of the eZ Systems Group.
Headquartered: Offices in Cologne, Katowice, Kraków, New York, Oslo, Paris, Skien, and Tokyo
Current CEO: Morten Ingebrigtsen is the current CEO at eZ Systems since 2018
Core Products: eZ Platform, eZ Commerce, eZ Platform Cloud, and eZ Personalization
Top Add-On Connectors: Cloudinary, Net-Results, Siteimprove, Blackfire.io, Slack, Google Analytics, MailChimp, and Contentbird.
Certified Integration Partners: 69
Training & Support: eZ’s training curriculum is tailored to help customers master the eZ Platform. With classes for developers, marketers, editors, and SysAdmins. Training is offered on-site, remotely, and there is regional public training. Product support is the core service of the eZ Enterprise Subscription. With a subscription, an eZ software powered site or app is quality assured and fully supported for maintenance, including bug fixes and security patches. All eZ Platform Enterprise Edition subscribers have access to professional support service, which provides three tiers of support and escalation processes. Depending on the subscription level, customers can also benefit from phone support and online 24/7 support. Support services are provided online via our Service Portal.
Featured Customer Case Study: Complex content architectures and rich media was a strong advantage in the realization of CarandDriver.com
Customer Testimonial: “eZ’s platform gives us the freedom and flexibility to stay ahead of the competition.” — David Görges, Head of New Media/CRM at Borussia Dortmund.
Trial eZ Systems: Request a Demo
Jahia Solutions is a leading provider of open-source content management and digital experience applications that snap-in to a customer’s existing stack to make their organization stand out. Beginning with content management, expanding to personalize, optimization, and scaling all digital experiences with unified customer data everywhere. More than 150 mid-to-large sized, regional and global companies and government agencies are Jahia customers. These customers range from great brands like Ben & Jerry’s to Sodexo, one of the world’s largest multinational corporations, to top financial services including Nationwide, and government institutions like the European Parliament.
Headquartered: North American headquarters are in Boston, and worldwide headquarters are in Geneva, with office locations in Paris, Austria, Toronto, and London.
Current CEO: Michael Tupanjanin is the current CEO at Jahia since 2017
Core Products: JContent, JCustomer, JExperience, and Jahia Cloud
Top Add-On Connectors: Jahia offers 300+ customizable modules and components from Jahia’s app store. Customers can also store the modules they’ve developed in their private app store for easy reuse.
Certified Integration Partners: 33
Training & Support: Jahia’s video tutorials, online, and on-site training options are available to developers, system administrators, and content editors. In addition to technical support with guaranteed SLAs, all customers with enterprise and cloud subscriptions are entitled to unlimited software updates, hotfixes, and service packs. Deployments can be sped up with Jahia Studio, an integrated developer toolkit to create private app stores to reuse the modules developed easily. A subscription also includes access to a dedicated Customer Success Manager who will check in regularly to help make the most of a customer’s Jahia implementation and direct customers to the best resources.
Featured Customer Case Study: Discover Why Ben & Jerry’s Continues to Choose Jahia as their Global DXP
Customer Testimonial: “We are a bank dealing with regulations that change often and borrowing rates that fluctuate all the time. Every two weeks, we had to handle production rollouts in order to keep our sites up to date. It had become clear that we needed a real CMS.” – Franck Hugot, Head of the Web & Digital Platforms team at Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance.
Trial Jahia Solutions: Request a Demo
Umbraco is a fully-featured open source CMS used on more than 500,000 websites around the world and a fully-featured open source content management system with the flexibility to run anything from small campaign or brochure sites right through to complex applications for Fortune 500’s and some of the largest media sites in the world. Umbraco stays cutting edge and, at the same time, stays professional, secure, and relevant. It’s this balance that makes Umbraco one of the fastest-growing platforms for building websites, whether it’s the official web presence of a Fortune 500 company or your uncle’s website on model trains.
Headquarters: Odense, Denmark, with office locations in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Current CEO: Niels Hartvig is the current CEO at Umbraco since 2002
Core Products: Umbraco Cloud, Umbraco CMS, Umbraco Heartcore, Umbraco Forms, and Umbraco Courier.
Top Add-On Connectors: Newsletter Studio, Cludo, Storm Commerce, Raptor, Ucommerce, Uintra, Struct PIM, The Dashboard, and Vorto.
Certified Integration Partners: 114
Training & Support: Umbraco offers certification courses with an Umbraco trainer delivered to a customer’s door or online training provided globally, with classes that fit North American and European time zones. Umbraco also offers video tutorials. For Umbraco support services (Umbraco Support & Umbraco Gold Support), the first subscription period runs one year from the order date. Our.umbraco.com is the central hub for the Umbraco community. Search for documentation, get help and guidance from seasoned experts, download and collaborate on plugins and extensions.
Featured Customer Case Study: J.P. Morgan Asset Management: A Story About Trusts
Customer Testimonial: “Umbraco was an invaluable help for the good outcome of the project. Many challenges were solved “gratis” just by using Umbraco, and for the ones that were not directly addressed, the openness and easiness of extendibility of Umbraco allowed the development of many custom solutions to address our challenges.” – Simone Chiaretta, Team Lead, and Web Architect, The Council of European Union
Trial Umbraco: Request a Demo
Things to Consider
The importance of selecting the ‘best-fit’ web content management platform cannot be underestimated if you desire to obtain a solid return on investment. It’s critical that you follow the correct steps to avoid increasing the odds of a failed project. The A Fair Review of the Top Mid-Market CMS is a great place to start your evaluation and RFI/RFP process. I also highly recommend hiring a knowledgeable I.T. consultant that can help you through the RFI/RFP stage. The money you spend on a consultant upfront will save you thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars and the inevitable sleepless nights you will have during the project lifecycle as a result of a poorly written RFP. Feel free to contact us for a list of experienced I.T. consultants in your region.
Finally, it’s critical that you pay very close attention to the integration factor. As I’ve always said, “No matter how exceptional the software might be, selecting an inexperienced implementation team dramatically increase the odds of a failed project.” Make sure the platform vendor and implementation partner are correctly aligned. The principal factor for success in any CMS deployment is the relationship you have with the implementation partner. Finding out that the integration team is a “bad-fit” well after the contracts have been signed and the work has begun is a costly misstep.
Gary has been working in the IT industry since 1993 and is the Principal Analyst at CMS-Connected, and the Founder and President of Falcon-Software. If you would like advice on how to evaluate a "best-fit" digital experience solution for your organization, Gary can be reached at email@example.com.