Stefan Schinkel
Chief Revenue Officer

How to Choose an Enterprise CMS

Mar 16, 2020
By: Stefan Schinkel

With the digital landscape now in constant flux, many brands are considering their options when it comes to their enterprise CMS.

Typically, their existing solution is showing signs of age, or it’s getting expensive, or worse yet, it’s simply not built to handle omnichannel customer experiences, which is now fully expected by the customers and clients of enterprise companies.

If you’re considering the solutions within the enterprise web content management market, this article highlights the key features that you should look for before jumping on a sales call.

What is an Enterprise CMS?

Before we dive in, we need to familiarize ourselves with the fundamentals of an Enterprise CMS. One question commonly asked is, what makes an enterprise web content management system different from any other web content management system?

A non-enterprise CMS may be able to help you launch a website, or perhaps a mobile app. But it won’t take you any further. Moreover, it will likely lack features including content personalization, headless content management, and enterprise-grade support.

At enterprise-level, brands must take their content even further for them to effectively achieve their business objectives. Moreover, Enterprise CMS solutions can help these companies capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver their content to their clients, end-users, and internal colleagues. Here are the features and characteristics that enterprise-grade CMSs possess:

  • API-first: an enterprise CMS exposes its content and makes it accessible via APIs. Most platforms support REST APIs, while more advanced systems also support GraphQL.
  • Scalability: By leveraging cloud computing, an enterprise CMS allows its customers to scale up and down whenever necessary.
  • Omnichannel Customer Experience Management: A strong enterprise CMS will enable its customers to build and manage omnichannel experiences.
  • Global Content Marketing: Using headless architecture, an enterprise-grade CMS should facilitate content marketing across channels, devices, and regions.
  • LowCode & NoCode: To empower marketers, an enterprise CMS should offer low code (or NoCode) environments and interfaces, reducing their dependence on IT.
  • Interoperability: An enterprise CMS should offer frontend interoperability, data interoperability and content interoperability with third-party solutions
  • Multi-lingual: To enable brands to expand into new markets and deliver personalized and localized content, multi-lingual functionality is a must.
  • Multi-tenant: Multi-site management is one thing, but multi-tenancy allows a brand to support more sites and teams without adding new databases into the equation. This approach also allows for easier content and resource sharing.

An Enterprise CMS is designed to meet the surmounting requirements of large, multi-national companies, enabling them to deliver a trusted, connected and continuous customer experience

Enterprise CMS Features You Should Look Out For

Since there are so many enterprise web content management solutions to choose from, we have identified the following key features that you must look for when deciding to partner with an Enterprise CMS.

A Codeless Environment for Marketers

First and foremost, since many marketers from different backgrounds will be accessing the Enterprise CMS platform on a day-to-day basis, it is essential that the platform comes with a host of user-friendly features such as an easy-to-use frontend WYSIWYG editor with live previewing.

dotCMS goes a step further with its latest release, version 5.0. In their aim to become the most user-friendly Enterprise CMS on the marketplace, dotCMS has followed their ‘NoCode’ philosophy.

dotCMS 5.0 comes with a drag-and-drop page editor where marketers create their own custom templates and place various containers and widgets on the page without having to type a single line of code. These features enable marketers to build websites, microsites and landing without any technical assistance.

An Intuitive Workflow Builder for Collaboration and Content Governance

Since content creation in an enterprise involves several rounds of editorials and approvals from different stakeholders, having a workflow model that is built-in the CMS platform can enable centralize collaboration and prevents internal conflicts.

dotCMS provides a drag-and-drop workflow builder where you can create multi-step workflows per content type. It also has a “Four Eyes” approval feature, AI translations and third-party integrations. This allows for a powerful yet easy-to-manage content governance strategy.

What’s more, dotCMS also comes with content versioning capability if your team decides to revert to previous versions of your content.

Hybrid Headless Content Management

This is an essential feature, especially if you want your enterprise to thrive in the IoT-era. Headless content management allows you to distribute your content to a multitude of devices including Apple Watch, Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

dotCMS provides content as a service (CaaS) where all content is managed and stored via REST APIs. One of dotCMS' clients, Pennsylvania-based Gettysburg College, took advantage of dotCMS’ CaaS approach to deliver their students the latest information on the lunch menu, campus news and the staff directory via an Alexa device. See our case study of Gettysburg College below.

Learn More: CaaS and The Internet of Things: How to shift your content

The Ability to Personalize Content at Scale

With more people becoming connected, consumers now want to have personalized experiences. Consumers are more likely to buy after having a personalized experience with a brand. According to Segment’s 2017 State of Personalization Report, 44 percent of consumers say they will likely become repeat buyers after having a personalized shopping experience, and 49 percent say they have purchased a product they did not intend to buy thanks receiving a personalized experience.

dotCMS Enterprise edition enables personalization through the use of Visitor objects, Personas and Rules.

  • The Visitor object identifies each user that accesses your site and then keeps information about them in the user session.
  • Personas enable you to categorize visitors into different groups based on their interests in different content on your site.
  • Rules allow you to assign Personas and Tags to Visitors as they browse your site, recording the Tags and subjects they're interested in.

Learn how dotCMS facilitates personalization and content targeting in their recent white paper.

Security, Privacy, and Accessibility

For large organizations that handle massive amounts of data, security is taken very seriously. We have all seen what happens to an enterprise brand when they encountered a security breach. They suffer from a dent in their reputation and lose trust with their consumers.

Security to the team behind dotCMS is of utmost importance. The platform is regularly monitored and new updates, patches and fixes are released regularly. In regards to data privacy and GDPR, dotCMS provides guideline documentation that you can follow to ensure that your sites and other experiences are fully compliant.

Additionally, web accessibility is becoming a critical factor in delivering both content and experiences that can be consumed by visitors from all walks of life, including individuals who have a disability. dotCMS provides a Java implementation of AChecker, an open source web accessibility tool, in its WYSIWYG editor.

dotCMS, in a partnership with Myplanet, recently hosted a webinar on digital accessibility. See link below.

Learn More: Digital Accessibility Beyond Pure Compliance

Facilitate the Ability to Serve Multiple Brands at an International Level

Having a global presence through multiple brands and localization requires having to manage multiple instances, with each having their own tailored content that meets the needs of each market. However, when each site has its own independent repository, it leads to content duplication and inconsistent brand messaging.

Opting for an Enterprise CMS that provides multitenancy allows you to operate hundreds, even thousands of websites that all share the same resources, content, and functionalities cost-effectively. With dotCMS, not only does it provide multi-tenancy, it also offers multi-lingual support to serve international markets via granular locale settings

SEO Friendliness

In addition to managing multiple sites, you also need to cater to the requirements of search engine optimization (SEO). dotCMS provides you with full control on how you optimize headers, title tags and URLs. Plus, dotCMS can auto-generate tags for documents, assets and images, including Alt tags.

Learn more: How dotCMS facilitates search engine optimization at the enterprise level

Access to Detailed Analytics and Reporting Tools

To find out whether your experiences are performing to its requirements, you need access to in-depth analytics. With this information, you can assess and identify areas that are performing well, and any areas which require urgent review and improvement.

dotCMS supports Google Analytics out-of-the-box, and this can be integrated with dotCMS’ Rules engine to deliver automated personalized experiences at scale.

Trusted By Leading Brands

When looking for an Enterprise CMS, be sure to check out who is currently using the platform. Many platforms like to boast who their clientele is by sharing testimonials and other forms of social proofing.

dotCMS is trusted by many big name brand including Honda, Aon, Telus, Avery, GreenSky and Novartis.

Well Supported

If you ever came across an issue when using your Enterprise CMS, it is good to know that you are supported by a dedicated team that is available all year round to quickly resolve your issue so you can spend more on your business.

dotCMS Enterprise edition is monitored by engineering and support teams round-the-clock, 24/7 365 days a year.

Tiered User Permissions

To ensure your content is safe, you need to have measures in place to allow only those who are authorized to have access. And the best way to instill this is to have tiered user permissions and settings.

dotCMS allows you to set customizable roles and permissions to keep your content safe. The dotCMS Enterprise edition gives you access to the SAML plugin where you can enable single sign-on (SSO), improving your team’s productivity as a result. Finally, dotCMS also provides an OAuth plugin.

Plays Well With The Best Marketing Tools

Don’t look for an Enterprise CMS that labels themselves as an all-in-one solution. Instead, look for a solution that works with the best tools in marketing automation, CRM, eCommerce, AI platforms, and more.

dotCMS is a best of breed solution that supports enterprise-grade digital marketing activities. dotCMS users can easily plug in their favorite MarTech tools such as Marketo, HubSpot and Magento into its technology stack, and you can remove it whenever you see fit.

It Enables Developers to Innovate Freely

With conventional CMS platforms, developers are often limited to what they can do. As mentioned before, a modern-day Enterprise CMS should allow an organization to adapt to rapidly changing consumer demands and behaviors quickly. And for this to be achieved, developers need to room to innovate.

As an open source solution, dotCMS enables developers to access the core codebase and modify it to their requirements. Furthermore, dotCMS is composed of multiple microservices which can be scaled independently. And thanks to its robust plugin architecture, developers can deploy dynamic OSGI plugins across different environments to extend and customize the platform without making things overly complicated. Developers can also use static plugins to override and extend any file, class and feature of dotCMS.

Plus, since dotCMS is framework agnostic, developers can seamlessly work with their favorite development framework and programming language.

Choose dotCMS as Your Enterprise CMS solution

The enterprise CMS market is brimming with solutions, making it difficult to know where to start in finding the right solution for your organization. Abiding by this checklist, is a starting point for you, ensuring that you won’t have to worry about re-platforming your website—or indeed, your entire digital ecosystem—in a years time.

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