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A Fair Review of the Top Web CMS Platforms - Acquia

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Acquia CMS


Acquia Inc. Founded: 2007
Head Office: Boston, MA URL: www.acquia.com
CEO & Tenure: Michael Sullivan, Since December 2017 Platform Type: PHP Open Source
License Model: Acquia is a service that provides Platform as a Service (PaaS). Acquia Cloud Professional, a self-service Drupal hosting environment built for developing and deploying one or more production applications. Acquia Cloud Enterprise is fully managed by Acquia.
Starting Price: $296/ per month for the Acquia Cloud Professional with 500,000 typical monthly Drupal pageview capacity, 100 GB Storage Current Version: Drupal 8
Online Demo: Yes Trial Version: Yes
Customer Training: Yes Certification Training: Yes
Integration Partners: USA – 39, Canada – 4 Professional Services: Yes
License Renewals: Subscriptions automatically renew for successive renewal subscription terms equal in duration to the initial subscription term at the current subscription fees with automated backups, unless you elect not to renew.
Support: 24x7 Infrastructure and Drupal Application Support. Acquia Support involves assessment, diagnosis, and recommended resolution of application faults and performance issues.


Acquia is a software-as-a-service company co-founded by Dries Buytaert and Jay Batson to provide enterprise products, services, and technical support for the open-source web content management platform Drupal and is venture capital backed. Acquia provides a cloud platform and data-driven journey technology to build, manage and activate digital experiences at scale. Thousands of organizations rely on Acquia’s digital factory to power customer experiences at every channel and touchpoint.

Acquia Cloud is a Drupal-tuned application lifecycle management suite with a complete infrastructure to support Drupal deployment workflow processes from development and staging through to production. The platform is open and built to be API-first, which makes it easy to meet your organization's specific needs and environment. With Acquia, you’ll gain one foundation and native cloud platform that’s digital customer experience-ready to enable your IT, marketing and commerce teams to build and deliver the applications and content their customers require.

Thousands of organizations around the globe rely on the platform to power customer experiences across any channel including Twitter, Mercedes Benz, Warner Music Group, and Stanford University. More than 4,000 organizations are using Acquia’s solutions for content, community and commerce.

Executive Interview

Top 10 Features

  • Flexible Workflows
  • Data Driven Personalization
  • Customer Journey and Orchestration
  • Development Starter Kits
  • Saleable Site Management
  • Integrated Content and Commerce
  • End-to-end Solution for Drupal and Decoupled Drupal
  • Node.JS Runtime Support
  • Drag-and-Drop Functionality
  • Real Time Monitoring and Troubleshooting
Complete List of Features

Key Modules & Connectors

  • Digital Asset Management
  • OpenEDU for Higher Education
  • Drupal Lightning
  • Acquia Cloud Site Factory
  • Acquia Cloud
  • Acquia Lift
  • Acquia Commerce Manager
  • Acquia Journey


  • Built to be API-first really gives organizations the freedom to integrate with their other existing systems such as the marketing technology stack and commerce environments.
  • Beyond core content management, and through this ease of integration, Acquia enables organizations to drive personalization and to orchestrate customer journeys that span the site and all customer experience touchpoints
  • Acquia’s journey mapping and personalization capabilities reach across marketing technology systems to collect data to establish a powerful 360-degree view of each individual.
  • The platform is optimised for Drupal and it leaves the developer to concentrate on the website itself and its functionality.
  • Provides a dev, test, and live environment for deployment.


  • Account support is limited on the Cloud Professional plan and requires you to purchase support tickets for the smallest issues.
  • Acquia's pricing is sporadic across each product offering and for each industry vertical.
  • While documentation is robust, it can be difficult to find exactly what you need and forums are not monitored frequently, and tend not to be as useful as they could be. 


  • Acquia was one of the first to deploy machine learning and artificial intelligence within these capabilities. 
  • Acquia Cloud provides a multi-datacenter failover disaster recovery solution, and maintains a multi-region failover as well, which allows for a fully redundant environment.
  • Acquia Lift is personalization software that combines customer data and relevant content across all marketing tools to allow marketers to better serve customers, foster loyalty and reach business goals. 

GDPR Initiatives

Acquia took the stance of helping their customers and partners understand how GDPR affects data collection and marketing personalization. They positioned themselves for GDPR compliance by building on a few of their own pre-existing compliance certifications and then took that expertise and turned it into informational content and downloads for their community. One such document outlines their internal GDPR project, which could be used as a process for others looking for a reliable checklist:

  • Research areas of our product and our business impacted by GDPR
  • Develop strategy and plan to address product and data that will be impacted by GDPR
  • Rewrite privacy policy
  • Implement the necessary changes to website and products based on the requirements
  • Confirm processes and procedures required to achieve/maintain compliance with GDPR
  • Ensure third-party systems become GDPR compliant before May 2018
  • Continue staff training to ensure data handling in compliance with GDPR
  • Communicate full compliance when all steps are completed


Acquia’s focus will be on providing solutions that will be easier to use and more intuitive, solutions for content authors, editors, data-driven marketers, and just anyone who wants to be able to make better data-driven decisions and provide a better digital experience for their customers, honed through the use of personalization and not burdening their customers with a whole bunch of content.

This will all be done through a greater use of their machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, and in the future add in predictive analytics to give their customers even more tools to execute a full, rich digital experience however ambitious that may be.

Additional Video Interviews

Industry Recognition

Sitecore Gardner Magic Quadrant
Image above from Gartner 2017 WCM MQ Report.
Sitecore ForresterWave
Image above from Forrester Wave's Web CMS, 2017.

Customer Comments

The whole idea behind it is connecting with the exuberance of the fans, celebrating the joy before the game, during the game and after the game with us. We’re bringing these sports forward to our passionate fans with tens of thousands of hours of on-demand video.
–  Mark Kramer, Pac-12 Enterprises

The transition from an old-school design hosted on a proprietary CMS to a new, responsive design on an open-source platform has been a great journey.
–  Nikhil Deshpande, Georgia.gov Interactive

Since adopting Drupal and Acquia, we’ve experienced significant savings, both in developer time --which is now free to be spent working on custom application builds -- and in costs, which have been cut 85 percent year-over-year.
– Emily Kagan, Northwell Health

Integration Partner Comments

We are a firm based out of Chicago who specialize in design strategy, development and work primarily with Drupal but also with other open source technologies. We’ve worked with a wide variety of different technologies over the last 10 years or so we’ve done a lot of work with Drupal.

The customers that we work with are in the higher education, healthcare, media and publishing industry as well as larger non-profits. Really for us our mission is about improving humanity by helping people and to be able to create, share or discover knowledge.

One of the really cool things that Acquia has worked with us on is the module acceleration program that we were a part of.  We developed a series of a suite of modules a few years back called ‘Work Bench’ and it was really designed to help improve the experience of editing and maintaining content in Drupal. So with the support of the module acceleration program, we were able to get those modules in place to be ported to Drupal 8 and then even beyond that their now being considered for inclusion in Drupal core in the future versions so that is one of those really great success stories that I think is part of this whole culture of contribution.  More than any other version of Drupal I think it’s an incredible platform on which people are going to be able to innovate and build amazing products for years and years to come.
–  George DeMet, Palantir

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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 CMSC Media and 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.

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