Article

CMS for Enterprise: the ultimate guide for your business

CMS for enterprise
What determines modern business success?

There are many factors, of course, but digital engagement with your customers is certainly among the most important. So obviously having a visually appealing and easy-to-use website is incredibly impactful. Of course, that begs the question: what’s the best way to make one?

Let’s talk about CMS platforms.

What is a CMS platform?

Any successful business creates content in order to attract an audience to its website and drive sales. So what is enterprise content management software and how does it fit into this effort?

A content management system (CMS) is a software application that lets your organization create, manage, and publish content on various digital platforms. It also operates as a central hub for marketing teams so that they have a single tool and process for publication as well as a shared space for supporting enterprise-wide engagement campaigns.

Essentially, a company’s CMS is a tool that enables your marketing department to execute an effective enterprise content management (ECM) strategy, which defines how you will manage and exploit published content to support your business goals. If the ECM is your vision for the content and how it will be utilized, then the CMS is the tool that enables you to realize that vision.

So if it’s clear why you need a CMS to drive a successful marketing plan, then it’s time to discuss why choosing the right option is a critical moment for your business.

How does using an enterprise CMS system benefit you?

There are a number of ways that a CMS platform can strengthen your website and your business. Here are a few of the potential benefits you can realize if you pick the best enterprise content management software for your needs.

Driving traffic to your website

If you want to make sure that your intended audience is actually seeing your content, it will take more than just publishing engaging material. Your web pages need to meet certain requirements in order to boost search engine preference.

Obviously, all of your pages have a title. But there’s so much more that search engines like Google draw upon when responding to a query. Have you included meta descriptions for every page? How about breadcrumb navigation or XML sitemaps?

An enterprise CMS helps to ensure that every piece of published content will contain information meant to support search engine optimization while maintaining a uniform structure throughout the entirety of your website.

Improving content impact through better collaboration

What do you do with your content once it’s live?

For most companies, effective marketing isn’t driven by the volume of content being published because, in all likelihood, you’re already publishing as much as you need. But without an enterprise CMS, all of those articles and blogs and announcements are probably not being managed as well as they could be.

With a CMS, you provide your marketing team with a common place to access, share, and publish content in an organized way while ensuring appropriate permissions are observed. That way, the various pages of your website can be accessed wherever and whenever they are needed by the appropriate team members.

Cybersecurity and information governance

A CMS does more than help draw attention to and manage your content. It can also make your business more secure.

It isn’t news that the drive towards online engagement and activity has expanded the potential for security breaches. In response, businesses are introducing updated regulations and compliance requirements to help protect their data and privacy.

An enterprise CMS helps with this by introducing easy-to-implement governance over information and access rights so that you can be sure that anyone taking your content live follows a common set of rules, which is even more important for enterprise companies that are spread out across the globe. This enables the company to have the same security governance in each country regardless of the competence level of local teams.

Scalability and flexibility

When planning for the present, it’s always important to take the future into consideration. Your company won’t remain the same size forever, so it’s better to plan for success now rather than having to adapt when you achieve it.

If you already have a CMS platform, it might belong to a different era of design and possess a structure from before the modern omnichannel and fully personalized experience became a common expectation. Modern web CMS platforms provide the functionality you need today, but are also prepared to expand or adapt so that you can predict or react to the changing needs of our modern and ever-evolving business environment.

Choosing the right enterprise CMS platform

But it’s not enough to just take the first CMS you find and apply it to your business. It’s essential to pick the right system, one that serves your particular needs and delivers the website that you envision. Here are a few things to consider about your options when reviewing enterprise CMS platforms.

Autonomy and flexibility

Whether your organization is big or small, spread out across multiple countries or more focused, your marketing teams are going to be publishing a variety of content and executing numerous campaigns at the same time. Rather than call on your developer team to create every page, your enterprise-level CMS platform should enable marketers to create and manage content themselves.

Different systems will alter who has ownership and what skill sets they require to be a part of managing your website.

Efficiency

Implementing a CMS across dozens of countries requires a completely different approach than launching a website in one country, even in a multi-language region. Verify with the CMS vendor how they approach global website launches to ensure coherent brand guidelines, scalability, system updates, and other processes.

Speed, flexibility, and repetition

Agility should be a primary delivery expectation for top cms platforms. You’re going to want to move quickly and be sure that you are ready to accommodate the needs of different content without having to worry about website pages straying from your established formats.

Look into the ways a CMS platform allows your team to update or create pages. Consider the kinds of template opportunities it offers and how much work it would take for your developers to make adjustments. Ask yourself this: how long do you want to wait to make changes, both large and small, to your website?

Website performance

It goes without saying that nothing matters more than the basic performance of your website. After all, customers will have a hard time finding your exceptional content if your site crashes and none of your customers can access it. And even when it’s up, you want the pages loading quickly to avoid testing the patience of your audience.

Make sure that your choice of an enterprise web CMS maintains the performance standards that you and your customers expect.

Security protections

Last, but certainly not least, you should consider how the best cms platforms secure your information and that of your customers. When comparing platforms, look into how each meets your standards for protection.

Also make sure to check the degree to which your hypothetical CMS platform uses third-party additions and plug-ins, each of which represent another potential security risk. If you can’t trust the third-party developers associated with these add-ons, then you can’t trust the platform and it’s time to move on to another option.

8 features to look for when choosing the best CMS platform for your organization

Now that we’ve covered the broad considerations that should factor into your choice of an enterprise web CMS platform, let’s discuss the essential functions that you need to get from your system.

brand compiance

Brand compliance by default

omnichannel support

Omnichannel support

mobile optimization

Mobile optimization

user-friendly

User-friendliness

customer support

Reliable customer support

multilingual communication

Multilingual communication

media gallery

Integrated media gallery

advanced settings

Advanced settings

Ensure brand compliance by default

One of the most important aspects of having an enterprise CMS is to ensure a consistent brand image. Taking into account that you have various teams across dozens of countries and their digital competence level might differ, the enterprise CMS you choose should guarantee brand coherence by default.

Omnichannel support

Leading CMS platforms are about more than publication. We’ve talked about content management and collaboration within your marketing team already, but your organization isn’t simply maintaining a website. You’re active on social media and you might have an app to help communicate with customers.

Whatever your outreach methods, a CMS platform needs to support omnichannel communication. By connecting your various marketing efforts through a single system, an effective CMS should make this kind of multi-format outreach seamless and simple.

Mobile optimization

More users than ever before are primarily using mobile devices for their searches rather than desktops. One way to lose those potential customers? Presenting them with a website or content that isn’t properly formatted for their devices. Any CMS selection needs to ensure the kind of flexibility you’ll need to optimize your content accordingly

User-friendliness

If you really want to avoid calling upon your developer team for every little publication or maintenance request, then you're going to need to make sure that your CMS makes enterprise web content management easy for users at a variety of skill levels. The simpler the publication and update process, the faster your marketing team can add new pages and keep existing content up-to-date.

Reliable customer support

Things are going to go wrong. No matter how well you prepare, no matter how carefully you make choices, something is going to hit a snag eventually. For the day that your CMS becomes that challenge, make sure that whichever CMS enterprise you select is ready with customer support to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Multilingual communication

Even for those companies that are largely or entirely located in a single region, you want to attract as diverse a customer base as possible. To do that, you need to reach people in their preferred language. And to do that, your enterprise web content management system needs to provide multi-language capabilities.

This can take many forms: from localized URLs to metadata translation support to a multilingual administration user interface. Ultimately, your marketing teams in various countries should operate easily in the languages that your potential customers prefer.

Integrated media gallery

As a global brand, you likely have some standards regarding your company and product presentation. You want to show them in the best spotlight. You want to have images of great quality. It's easy to ensure that if you think about one country but much more difficult if you are planning to implement local websites across all tier 2 markets.

An integrated media gallery ensures that no matter the country, there is one place to choose images from. This way you can ensure that the images are according to your brand guidelines.

Advanced content management and ownership settings

As we’ve covered multiple times, most global companies have diverse teams in various countries publishing content and supporting marketing campaigns. So a lot of different people with different levels of expertise and comfort will be working in your CMS.

Rather than allowing every team member to have complete freedom to work on each page and any section of the website, the best enterprise CMS for you will offer features that will allow management of access privileges and approval requirements so that you can maintain control without compromising key workflows.

What types of projects are CMS platforms best suited to handle?

We’ve covered many of the benefits and performance requirements that you should keep in mind when considering popular CMS platforms. While they certainly are powerful tools, they need to be applied to the correct kind of work. Here are some of the most optimal areas to apply a CMS:

  • Global brands building their local presence
  • Publishing platforms
  • Online communities
  • Ecommerce sites
  • Sites using personalization
  • Sites with gamification
  • Custom applications
  • Complex workflows

There’s one more project that we’d like to give special mention to: multilingual websites. Earlier, we mentioned the importance of this as an essential function of your CMS. It’s also one of the most effective ways for your platform to have a clear and massive impact on your website. With a mixture of automation and easy-to-use tools, the right enterprise content management system can make it much easier for you to reach a diverse audience.

CMS vs. website builder

All of this might make a CMS for enterprises sound very similar to a website builder. But there are some key differences that separate each and make them more or less effective depending on your situation.

First, let’s cover exactly what a website builder is and how it functions. These are essentially a collection of tools for creating and hosting a website. They enable your organization to buy a custom domain, personalize the appearance of the various pages, and even create multimedia content complete with complex and engaging material such as animations and scroll effects. And while you create the website of your dreams, the website builder will manage maintenance, security, backups, and other essential aspects of your online presence.

So what’s the trade-off?

Well, in exchange for not having to worry about many of the challenges of creating and managing a website, you’ll have to give up a lot of the complexity and flexibility that a CMS offers. With a website builder, you lose most of the advanced enterprise content management features and customization potential that you get with a CMS platform.

Moreover, a website builder is a good solution if you are planning to build one website in one country. However, if you are planning to build your presence all over the globe, you will need a more powerful and complex solution like a CMS for enterprise.

So, when it comes to the question of website builder or CMS, it comes down to a debate between ease-of-use and rapid start-up versus a more intricate, larger, and comprehensive website that is fully under your control.

Leading CMS platforms

Now we’d like to take the opportunity to walk you through some of the CMS companies out there and the solutions they provide so that it’s a bit easier to find your best content management system for enterprise.

1. Reffine Light DXP

Reffine Light DXP

Summary:

Reffine Light Digital Experience Platform (DXP) is a platform used to develop and maintain multiple websites within brand style guidelines at scale. As a headless CMS, it delivers a consistent digital experience across dozens of countries with reduced implementation time and costs.

Key strengths:

The combination of the Reffine Light DXP meaning CMS and Reffine Content Team as an implementation and maintenance partner enables fast and efficient website rollouts measured in weeks or months, not years. Reffine also takes over all hassle with infrastructure, security, and maintenance related to your website.

Keep in mind:

The implementation process starts with creating content blocks built by Reffine according to customer designs. Once they are ready, website rollouts are fast and efficient.

Ideal users:

Reffine Light DXP works best at scale, especially for Tier 2 markets. Reffine CMS is ideal for companies that want to build their global presence across local markets, ensure a coherent brand image, and give local teams the flexibility to use the platform and adjust it to fit their needs. It's the best solution if you would like to outsource the building and maintenance of local websites.

2. Adobe Experience Cloud

Adobe Experience Cloud

Source: Adobe Experience Cloud (00:58)

Summary:

Adobe’s enterprise content marketing platform emphasizes customization and flexibility across an omnichannel experience. AI-powered scalability and customer data tracking allow you to adjust and optimize the digital customer experience.

Key strengths:

With a wide variety of features, including web content management, cross-channel content, personalized experiences, and AI-powered scalability, the Adobe Experience Cloud offers a high degree of adaptability so that it can be fit to most businesses and projects.

Keep in mind:

This CMS platform requires regular updates and any customization will require more IT support than usual, so most companies will have to employ an out-of-the-box system and engage an implementation partner.

Ideal users:

While the Adobe Experience Cloud is designed with a broad swathe of potential users in mind, it is especially tailored towards businesses that are already running Adobe software, which makes the platform’s introduction and maintenance seamless. It is usually used for Tier 1 markets.

3. Contentful

Contentful

Source: Contenful

Summary:

Contentful is a cloud-based, enterprise headless CMS. It has placed its emphasis on tools for content customization and an application programming interface (API) to manage published material so that a business can push its marketing content across any channel with ease.

Key strengths:

The company behind this platform has gone all in on customization options. While both developers and marketers will need to create a new content model to begin the publication process, this allows for a whole new range for unique formats specifically tailored to your specific design and functional needs. This extends to the Contentful web application itself, which can be fully customized and integrated with either in-house apps or third-party cloud software.

Keep in mind:

The extensive customization offered by Contentful necessarily means that there is a steeper learning curve than usual. While the content management features are simple enough to use, this platform asks quite a bit of your developer team.

Ideal users:

This is a good cms enterprise for medium or large companies with substantial technical resources and a particular interest in customizing different website pages.

4. Contentstack

Contentstack

Source: Contentstack

Summary:

Another headless CMS platform, Contentstack has combined the best of content management and digital experience technology so that a business can push all of its publications across all desired digital channels easily.

Key strengths:

With developer-built content models determining the structure of a page or section and how it will be displayed on the front-end, Contentstack ensures that your website is optimized for any device. The headless nature of the system allows developers to use whatever programming language they are most comfortable with during the platform’s set up and the creation of the necessary models.

Keep in mind:

This time, the steeper learning curve is handed to the content managers, who must rely on developers to build the models, after which the editing experience will take some time to figure out. Contentstack is also more expensive than some of its competitors. Fortunately, the company behind this system is known for its high-quality customer support.

Ideal users:

Larger organizations with a mature developer team will find this platform well-suited to their needs as features like a risk text editor will outweigh the higher price point.

5. Kentico

Kentico

Source: Kentico

Summary:

Kentico is a bit of an oddity among the other platforms, as its format and templates function differently. However, those companies that put in the time to learn how to use it will benefit from a user-friendly and highly customizable CMS that supports multiple channels.

Key strengths:

If you put in the work with Kentico, the end result will be much greater control over your templates on a multi-detailed level. Its content management tools allow for smooth collaboration between your marketing and sales teams so that content has a clearer use and impact. Kentico is also aggressive with hotfixes so that new issues are addressed rapidly.

Keep in mind:

Kentico is expensive, and it is difficult to learn initially. But anyone who buys in will find a trove of educational material to help get over this early hump.

Ideal users:

The expensive buy-in makes this a platform mainly targeted at larger companies with expansive websites in need of substantial customization.

6. Magnolia

Magnolia

Source: Magnolia

Summary:

Magnolia is a headless CMS that offers specialization in multi-site, multi-language, and multi-channel digital experiences. The platform gives businesses two format options: a cloud-based service meant to launch projects quickly with little to no developer involvement and a client-hosted option that enables custom Java development and integration on a company’s existing infrastructure.

Key strengths:

The name of the game for Magnolia is flexibility, enabling CMS support both for businesses that lack experience and technical skill while still rewarding more knowledgeable organizations with extensive customization through interchangeable modules.

Keep in mind:

The interface of this CMS platform lacks the intuitiveness of others, though a large number of tutorials exist that will help you overcome this barrier.

Ideal users:

Magnolia can fit a wide variety of different businesses thanks to two models it offers, meaning that it fits almost any situation.

7. Optimizely

Optimizely

Source: Optimizely

Summary:

Unlike the other headless CMS platforms, Optimizely is relatively easy to use, as it allows the use of multiple programming languages and includes features such as “publish anywhere,” which minimizes the time needed to launch a new project.

Key strengths:

It only takes a few clicks to edit page elements, making content management incredibly easy, which Optimizely has achieved without sacrificing customization. Releases can be tailored to fit a company’s needs while advanced features allow for rapid rollout or removal of new elements.

Keep in mind:

While Optimizely is relatively simple to use, the platform comes with comparatively few tutorials, meaning that users must rely on the general intuitiveness of the system in order to get comfortable.

Ideal users:

Larger organizations who place a great deal of importance on the rapid creation and launch of new content.

8. Salesforce Experience Cloud

Salesforce Experience Cloud

Source: Salesforce Experience Cloud

Summary:

While many of the other platforms discussed have achieved substantial customization options, the Salesforce Experience Cloud is unique in doing so through its seamless integration with third-party add-ons and developer support.

Key strengths:

This system includes a large number of content creation tools that can help you publish diverse and engaging content. In addition, language translation tools will play a key role in ensuring that your website can be easily localized to engage a broader audience.

Keep in mind:

As with other customization-heavy CMS platforms, the Salesforce Experience Cloud requires some extra time early on to learn how to use its extensive tools and options. An adopter will need to secure extensive early and ongoing training to maximize its impact.

Ideal users:

Any organization looking to launch wide-reaching marketing campaigns in an omnichannel setting will get plenty of value out of this platform.

9. Sitecore Experience Platform

Source: Sitecore Experience Platform

Summary:

Here we have a CMS that is notably easy to use and relatively developer-agnostic. The Sitecore Experience Platform includes tools for asset management, content scheduling, and a user interface for editing content. This system gives you the ability to take care of most indexing and or publishing tasks without involving developers, increasing the speed and ease with which content is taken live.

Key strengths:

Sitecore grants a great degree of control to administrators. With its array of tools and features, users can easily create personalized customer journeys in real-time for different devices in support of a true omnichannel experience.

Keep in mind:

A relatively high licensing cost is probably the biggest barrier for interested companies. In addition, the large array of tools can be tricky to wrangle to make reality meet expectations.

Ideal users:

A business that is looking to deliver a dynamic experience across a variety of digital channels can take full advantage of Sitecore while enjoying its simplicity of use.

10. Umbraco

Umbraco

Source: Umbraco

Summary:

This CMS provides a go-to option for those businesses that want to start fast and get their websites up to speed quickly while having readily available customer support to get them going. Umbraco has created a highly customizable development platform that provides substantial out-of-the-box options while enabling further updates and adjustments later.

Key strengths:

Umbraco will have your business building web pages in no time, as it offers a large amount of base capabilities that will not need to be adapted to your specific needs, such as multilingual integration. However, you’ll still be able to customize the various pages and build a complex website to fit your vision.

Keep in mind:

With Umbraco, it can take some time to search for specific pieces of content, potentially encouraging the use of third-party add-ons to simplify and speed up this process.

Ideal users:

An organization with a plan but without the technical expertise or developer support that other systems require can benefit greatly from Umbraco.

11. Webflow

Webflow

Source: Webflow

Summary:

Using Webflow, a business can empower non-developers with extensive flexibility, making it easy to build an attractive and engaging web page without needing almost any developer or IT support. You can get started quickly with the CMS’ existing template library and then later customize using editing tools and third-party integrations.

Key strengths:

Similar to Umbraco, this platform gives you all the tools you need to get started with website creation right away. Everything is easy to use and intuitive so that marketing teams with limited developing capabilities can still create an attractive website.

Keep in mind:

The ease-of-use and lack of necessary developer support does come with a trade-off in flexibility. Limited collaboration options could also impose a limitation on ambitious teams down the line.

Ideal users:

If you’re looking to make your website now but you don’t have the developer support or availability for some of the more involved platforms, Webflow can get the ball rolling instantly.

12. WordPress

WordPress

Source: WordPress

Summary:

Simply put, the WordPress enterprise CMS is the most popular platform out there. It boasts a user-friendly interface and intuitive website themes that work particularly well for those businesses looking to focus their content on articles and blogs. At the same time, WordPress allows for a number of plug-in and personalization options to tailor the CMS to your particular needs.

Key strengths:

WordPress is one of the best CMS platforms for beginners, with new drag-and-drop functionalities enabling captivating page design without time- or learning-intensive processes. In addition, the platform boasts the most extensive array of plug-ins and add-ons for customization.

Keep in mind:

Site maintenance and customization can be challenging and require substantial developer support. So while the basic platform is easy to get started with, full customization will require a more robust developer team. It’s a good solution for a brand that is establishing its digital presence in one country. However, if you would like to implement this solution across dozens of countries, it will be a challenge to scale it efficiently.

Ideal users:

Small companies ready to use the out-of-the-box functionalities or large companies with more mature developer support. WordPress can fit almost any business out there.

Fulfill the vision of a personalized online experience

Online user expectations evolve constantly. Today, your customers are going to expect an impressive, engaging, and personalized experience on your website. You need to provide this while effectively preparing for changes that are difficult to foresee right now.

A high-quality enterprise CMS is the perfect tool to do this. It will empower your marketing teams to quickly create exceptional and impressive-looking content without needing to wait for developer support, all while offering the kind of agility any business is going to need. Choose the right one and see how quickly your website management experience transforms!