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A Fair Review of the Top Web CMS Platforms - e-Spirit

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e-Spirit CMS

eSpirit

e-Spirit AG (Parent Company: adesso Group) Founded: 1999
Head Office: Dortmund, Germany URLwww.e-spirit.com 
CEO & Tenure: Jörn Bodemann, Since October 1999 Platform Type: Java using XML formats to store data

License Model: Subscription model for the licensing rights to the most current version of FirstSpirit. You determine the features included in the subscription based on your business needs, such as number of sites/users, or FirstSpirit modules. Managed Hosting Services are available offering standard installation for rapid project implementation or a platform individually configured according to your needs. They also offer an Application Services option where we handle the admin services for you, such as release updates and user management—no extra work for your IT dept. 

FirstSpirit CaaS extends content reach to channels with greater agility, on demand. There’s no need to integrate your CMS with anything. Simply create content using FirstSpirit, and it goes wherever needed via our REST API—instantly.

Starting Price: $7,000 per month for FirstSpirit Cloud enterprise CMS Current Version: 5.2
Online Demo: Yes Trial Version: No
Customer Training: Yes Certification Training: Yes
Integration Partners: USA – 27, Canada – 3 Professional Services: Yes
License Renewals: Maintenance and technical support from e-Spirit are included.
Support: Technical support desk is staffed 24/7. e-Spirit also provides a ticketing system and support portal. The FirstSpirit Community offers the option of sharing and discussing experiences or best practices with other users.

Introduction

e-Spirit’s FirstSpirit Digital Experience Platform, offered through a SaaS or on-premises model, helps businesses engage customers and increase revenue with personalized, content-rich digital experiences anytime, anywhere. Savvy digital marketers across all industry sectors rely on the FirstSpirit platform for individualized and synchronized content delivery across all channels to differentiate their companies and compel their users to action. e-Spirit, is part of the Adesso Group and has offices in 16-locations in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, Austria, and the United Kingdom. Customers include international brands and corporations such as L’Oréal, Lancôme, Commerzbank, BASF, Bosch, Belk, Urban Decay, Olympus, Santander Bank, Sterling Jewelers and many others.

FirstSpirit’s native content management was built to manage complex, global websites for any channel or language and it’s Headless Optional. That means you get advanced content management capabilities coupled with the agility you need to succeed in an increasingly complex digital world. FirstSpirit is simple and intuitive so you can focus your creative energy on digital experiences. You’ll be as productive as possible with helpful tutorials, how-to wizards and tools such as drag and drop and in-context editing.

Executive Interview

Top 10 Features

  • AI-Powered Personalization
  • FirstSpirit Cloud & CaaS
  • Globalization and Localization
  • Omnichannel Marketing
  • AppCenter
  • Global User Experience
  • Enterprise Portals
  • ContentCreator
  • Digital Experience Platform
  • SmartDynamics
Complete List of Features

Key Modules & Connectors

  • Demandware and Hybris Connectors
  • .NET SDK (Developed by Falcon-Software)
  • IBM WebSphere Portal
  • Liferay & SAP NetWeaver Portal
  • SharePoint Server
  • Red Hat JBoss Portal Platform

Strengths

  • Microservices-based architecture vs. a monolithic approach.
  • Easy interfacing with existing databases for rapid deployment and implementation.
  • e-Spirit has strong capabilities across multiple verticals with good references in manufacturing, branded sites and retail.
  • e-Spirit was one of the first CMS’s to truly adopt a headless approach to content management. They have made it easy to integrate their solution into other digital channels, so that content can be separated and applied by business users without disrupting the entire eco-system. This allows people who manage content not have to worry about other channels, and worry about what is important, content.
  • Due to e-Spirits ease of use, and for the ability to integrate well with other technologies, marketers can put a larger focus on using e-Spirit’s Digital Experience Suite (DXP). There has been some interesting and compelling reasons to use this tool as task based personalization features can be automated and predictive, leaving more to identify and create a deeper marketing strategy.  This will lead to more e-Spirit projects using DXP’s features more than other CMS’s.

Weaknesses

  • While e-Spirit has made strides in North America, largely via partnerships, market awareness among its end customers remains low relative to other providers.
  • Although e-Spirit does currently offer delivery capabilities such as "production" website management capability and presentation layer as part of its overall offering, these areas require improvement.
  • e-Spirit is one of the most powerful and flexible CMS’s to work with if the need is to integrate into other powerful solutions, it is not meant for most organizations as a standalone product. e-Spirit is made to integrate into large complex infrastructures where organizations already have other ERP, Commerce, and Enterprise software in place they cannot change. With that said, as a standalone product it does not come with the same feature-sets as other CMS’s, and comes with a hefty price tag which makes it difficult for smaller organizations to understand the benefits, and true ROI.
  • Even though the user experience is brilliant for content editors, creators, and marketers, and the very well documented API’s allow for deep integration and control, it takes a level of sophistication to understand why, and how to deploy the software. It is this reason that e-Spirit has not made a larger dent in the North American market as the ideology of the product is to make content creators have more power, but it takes IT to realize the strength of the system, and be able to deploy it. So if companies have diversified Marketing and IT teams that don’t work well together, than this product is hard to bring.

Differentiators

  • Powerful AI-driven personalization solution in a SaaS model.
  • Salesforce e-Commerce platform connector to enable customers to get up and running fairly quickly.
  • FirstSpirit integrates almost any Web application quickly and easily.
  • e-Spirit has the fastest time to market for applying and delivering content through global complex channels. If your organization has a very large and mature infrastructure that utilizes different software to manage processes through global channels, and you need a reliable content management tool to slip into the seams to allow marketers to manage that content environment easily, then this is your tool. This tool allows for a more realistic governance approach to separating content and data, specifically when a global workforce is involved.

GDPR Initiatives

With most of their customers being multi-billion dollar and multi-national organizations, as well as many of them being based in Europe, compliance with GDPR is of the utmost priority for e-Spirit’s solution development. In addition, they claim to be actively engaged with their customers to ensure they’re ready for GDPR compliance. e-Spirit has published the following blog post and eBook with this information: The Ultimate List for GDPR Readiness.

Roadmap

e-Spirit’s plans for the future are heavily focused on the need they understand businesses have to impress and inspire their customers with outstanding experience, both online and off with the importance of this only growing. e-Spirit has made it their mission to continue enabling their customers to more easily tap into the power of content across countries, languages and channels to create and deliver these digital experiences that will compel their users’ audience into action.

The FirstSpirit platform is already well-positioned to enable marketers, e-Commerce and IT professionals to leverage the power of content across their DX ecosystem for greater engagement and revenue but, in keeping up with trend, they have already deployed the use of artificial intelligence through advanced machine learning across the platform. This will continue into the future as they will be looking to enable their customers to tap into the power of AI-driven technology and enable better experiences throughout the entire customer journey for a digital experience age.

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

FirstSpirit enables us to create and publish new website projects faster and more stringently than before.
— Manfred Schurer, MAN Truck & Bus

We realized we needed to modernize our technology stack to get a unified view of the customer so we could make product content more engaging, and e-commerce experiences more relevant.
— Carlos Carvalho, GROHE

By consolidating our global websites and our intranet onto the FirstSpirit platform, we were able to reduce our hardware operating overheads by about 40 percent and our software maintenance costs by about 50 percent.
— Jork Feeken, Hamburg Süd

Integration Partner Comments

BlueSky Technology Partners built a strategic partnership with e-Spirit to help fill a gap within the e-commerce space. We’re extremely pleased that our collaboration has helped companies realize the benefit of an integrated solution with IBM’s WebSphere Commerce and e-Spirit’s world-class content management solution.
— Todd Irwin, BlueSky
 

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Gary Eisenstein

Gary Eisenstein

Gary has been working in the IT industry for over 24-years and is a Principle Analyst at CMS-Connected. If you would like to receive additional advice or consultation on selecting a “best-fit” Web Content Management solution, Gary can be reached at gary.eisenstein@cms-connected.com.