dotCMS: Powered Solutions & Use Cases

Stefan Schinkel

dotCMS has been available since 2006 and available as a Platform-as-a-Service offering on AWS infrastructure since 2009. Working for almost two decades with enterprises has allowed our solution to support a variety of solutions and use cases for companies seeking ambitious technology to keep them ahead of the competition and address their CMS pain points. Resolving pain points and working with cutting-edge technology allows for innovation, the creation of new products and services, and expanding revenue streams. Nothing beats structured content

This article addresses dotCMS' most critical solutions and supported use cases, enabling existing dotCMS customers to get more value out of their platform, as well as attract prospective customers actively engaged in a re-platforming process with a great Editor Experience in mind.

A Content Management System (CMS) is a long-term commitment, and an average tenure of five to ten years is not uncommon. This means it’s best to get the most value out of the platform and impact critical business outcomes, such as Total Cost of ownership (TCO), Return on Investment (ROI), Time-to-Value, Time-to-Market, conversion, net retention, and profit.


Public-facing websites

It started in the mid-90's, and public-facing websites are still the most often built application with a CMS. There are many ways to categorize public-facing websites, and it’s usually not that black-and-white. Having an informative or educational function or a transactional nature has overlapped in specific industries. Popular sub-sets of public-facing websites are micro-sites and landing pages for targeted audiences with a specific call-to-action. Documentation websites or a public knowledge base are popular solutions in this category. dotCMS allows enterprises to build all of these and more. Being a content-centric and API-first CMS empowers the re-usability of content and artifacts and drives Time-to-Market and Time-to-Value.

Mobile Apps

With the ongoing rise of mobile devices, it’s no surprise that content-driven mobile applications are part of any omnichannel strategy. To avoid creating content siloes, it’s best to manage mobile apps from the same CMS used for all the other applications. In recent years, this is where enterprises have tended to use a popular JavaScript framework and a headless CMS. An enterprise-grade hybrid-headless CMS, like dotCMS, allows managing mobile apps seamlessly from the same instance of dotCMS used for any other application, with the same Great Editor Experience.

Single Page Apps (SPA) / Progressive Web Apps (PWA) / Static Site Generation (SSG)

Various content-driven web applications are now available with the rise of JavaScript frameworks. Each application type has pros and cons; their fit depends on the use case(s) and underlying requirements. Any enterprise-grade and modern CMS, like dotCMS, supports this category of web applications. dotCMS does not restrict development teams, whether you build a SPA/PWA or SSG

Internal Applications

The most common internal application is the intranet. Content is content, whether you expose it publicly or to an internal audience only. dotCMS fuels the digital workspace, where key integrations of business function-specific applications and information siloes can be removed and internal collaboration significantly enhanced. Check out how dotCMS compares to Sharepoint.

Customer Portals / Extranet

Where public-facing applications are more focused on creating awareness and acquiring new customers, there is an opportunity to extend the customer journey and subsequent digital experiences. dotCMS allows enterprises to extend great digital experiences with hyper-personalized customer portals that allow your customers to engage with your brand meaningfully by enhancing their digital touch-points with self-service tooling and relevant content.


Managing the customer journey

Internet of Things, Digital Signage

The Internet of Things has been on the radar for several years, but it hasn’t come to full fruition yet. Relevant prerequisites (like fast mobile networks) are still rolled out globally. However, once a device is connected and has a display, it can create a digital touchpoint with end-users. Being an omnichannel and API-first CMS, dotCMS already sees customers powering this type of solution with dotCMS. Similarly, this applies to in-store Point-of-Sale, Kiosks, and other Digital Signage.    

Solution Capability Matrix

The table below lists the relevant dotCMS capabilities for each solution. This overview shares the most common capabilities leveraged for the specific solution our customers built with dotCMS.


Capabilities vs CMS-powered Solutions

Limitless Content Management

Unlike many other CMS vendors, dotCMS wants enterprises to get the most value out of their implementation. That never coincides with restrictions around, for example, content types, custom workflows, CMS users, etc. We believe in limitless content management to help you deliver unlimited possibilities.

Solutions by dotCMS customers

The charts below provide an overview of what applications customers have built with dotCMS.


Public-facing application distribution


Internal application distribution

Use Cases

dotCMS supports a variety of use cases in the content management realm. There are more use cases, but the most common are shared here.

Omnichannel Content Delivery

In this day and age, enterprises are not just managing a single website. With the rise of social networks and mobile devices, consumers have many more digital touchpoints with brands. Being a decoupled and API-first platform, dotCMS supports enterprises in delivering their omnichannel strategy with a preview for device types, hybrid-headless deployment, APIs & API Tooling, and much more.

Multi-site / Multi-Tenancy

Executing an omnichannel strategy means a multi-site usage of dotCMS, where content and content assets (widgets, plugins, etc.) can be shared (or not) across the sites/applications on the dotCMS instance. In a multi-site/tenancy construct, key capabilities are roles & permissions to govern access to sites in the editorial team (including external editors), integration with SSO solutions, and workflow management. For high content velocity and time-to-market, side-by-side version compare, copy content type, and copy site will support the editorial team.

Multi-lingual & Localization

Deploying multilingual content across channels ensures that your customer experience is borderless and engaging. With dotCMS, you can publish content in different languages, configure the language of your content based on the user's geolocation, and allow end users to switch between languages quickly. The back end of dotCMS is offered in nine languages; additional languages are added upon request. There are no restrictions concerning the supported character sets for the applications built with dotCMS. The key capabilities to support multi-lingual content and localization are content translation, SEO, localized personalization, and a Great Editor Experience.

Personalization and Content Targeting

With the rise of social networks, mobile devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT), digital devices are constantly increasing. Demand is growing for enterprises to produce relevant content quickly and at scale. With dotCMS, content targeting is not just creating massive amounts of content. It’s about creating relevant content that resonates with the targeted audiences throughout a customer's various lifecycles with your brand. An intuitive rules engine allows digital marketing teams to create personas and business logic to drive hyper-personalization at scale.

Digital Asset Management & Image Processing

Creating digital impressions and experiences takes more than plain text. Rich assets such as images, videos, and PDFs are required to keep customers engaged with your online applications. dotCMS has no limitations when it comes to handling rich assets. With dotCMS, you can even include Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint assets without an issue. Key dotCMS capabilities in this context include image processing (including focal points), full-text indexation, image optimization & compression, tagging & categories, Content Delivery Network (CDN), caching, bulk upload & tagging of assets, and drag & drop assets into dotCMS. Many enterprise customers integrate dotCMS with their external Digital Asset Management systems, like Widen, Bynder, or MediaBeacon.

Customer and Employee Self-Services

Implementing self-service scenarios help to streamline the internal processes and external-facing touchpoints, such as customer service and support. Personalizing customer experiences and exposing content helps visitors quickly find what they need. Structured content, faceted site search, personalization, and tagging & categories will help support this use case in this context.

Knowledge Base

A solid knowledge base should go beyond merely aggregating documents. It should be easy to navigate, search, and access across devices. A knowledge base should also answer questions for internal staff and external users, reducing the strain on HR and customer support departments. A knowledge base can be a great enabler for creating communities where stakeholders (customers, partners, vendors, etc.) can start conversations and connect more deeply with your brand. Exposing knowledge internally and externally helps to reduce the demands on customer service and support. Key capabilities to power your knowledge base are structured content, search, multi-lingual support, and personalization.


Building a sentimental bond with (prospective) customers is foundational to driving business outcomes like conversion, customer loyalty, and upselling. dotCMS offers many tools for editors to create and deliver engaging blog posts. Key product capabilities to support blogging include the block editor, personalization, social sharing, liking, commenting, and following specific authors.

Integrating External Systems

A CMS never walks alone. Building an omnichannel platform means integrating the CMS with adjacent technologies to support your digital marketing team. dotCMS offers several developer tools to support secure, scalable integrations: API & API Tooling, webhooks, and dotAPPS.

Hybrid-Headless CMS & Traditional CMS

dotCMS is a hybrid-headless CMS, meaning enterprises have three ways to deploy dotCMS to their liking, which can change over time. Unlike pure headless CMS vendors, the key advantage is that you can start any way and don’t lock yourself in for the future. Key headless dotCMS capabilities are the APIs & API Tooling, Command Line Interface, Headless Personalization, and webhooks for developers. Content editors still enjoy the Great Editor Experience.

When pure headless CMS vendors fail, hybrid-headless steps in to offer:

  • Reduced developer dependence - NoCode Page Building

  • Full Service Offering - Enterprise SPA hosting to include your App

  • High Performance - No API rate-limiting

  • Infrastructure control - Self-hosting of dotCMS on your cloud stack

  • High Extensibility - Custom OSGi Plugins (and optionally supported)

  • Limitless Content Management - No content management restrictions

  • Personalization & Content Targeting - Native personalization

dotCMS customers Use Cases

The chart below provides an overview of what applications customers have built using dotCMS.


Use cases distribution dotCMS customers.

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