Storyblok Raises $80M Series C - Read News

Skip to main content

How To Choose an Enterprise CMS (2024)

Marketing
Gillian Mays

An enterprise CMS is the heart of any successful large-scale business. Picking the right option is essential. Unfortunately, it’s a process that many still struggle with: 22.5% of users believe their current CMS workflows are difficult to navigate.

So how do you avoid the same fate? Choosing the best enterprise CMS for your organization can help.

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of selecting an enterprise CMS, give you our top 5 picks, and walk you through how to choose one. Let’s get started!

What is enterprise CMS?

Let’s begin with the definition of a CMS, or a content management system. A CMS is software that allows you to create, organize, and publish content. It’s the core of any successful content-oriented organization.

By the same token, an enterprise CMS is a content management system that is designed to work on a mass scale. It can organize large volumes of content, handle countless daily visitors, and generally cater to the needs of larger organizations including (but not limited to):

  • Higher-stakes security needs
  • Publishing content to multiple channels without silos
  • Language, localization, and personalization features

Why choosing the best enterprise CMS matters

There are tons of options when it comes to an enterprise CMS. However, they’re not all going to be the perfect solution for your unique business needs. Zeroing in on the option that best fits your requirements is essential.

One reason is simple size. With enterprise organizations, the sheer amount of content being managed and audiences being reached far exceeds a typical organization. Any issues that occur thus affect far more people and have a greater impact on your bottom line.

On the other hand, being big already doesn’t mean there isn’t room to grow. As the heart of your content operations, an enterprise CMS is going to be an essential part of any expansion plans you have. If it isn’t prepared to grow alongside you, you could be looking at serious roadblocks like poor performance or skyrocketing costs.

Overall, an enterprise CMS is an investment in your future success. And like any other investment, you want to make sure it’s going to be a long-lasting decision that pays off.

3 Features to look for when choosing an enterprise CMS

There are three main categories of features to focus on during your search: Ease of use, scalability, and performance.

Enterprise CMS - 3 Most Important Features

1. Ease of use

Even the best system is going to be worthless if your team can’t figure out how to use it properly. Choose an enterprise CMS that’s intuitive and easy to use. Marketers, content creators, and other non-technical users should have the freedom to make frequent content changes without having to rely on tech teams.

Ease of use applies to developers, too. Pick an enterprise CMS that gives them the freedom to use whatever technology they need. Integration-friendly systems can also reduce friction on the backend: look for future-proof technology that can quickly and seamlessly integrate new programs.

2. Scalability

Large organizations are usually covering multiple different channels and/or languages – and are still looking to grow. Look for a solution that enables omnichannel delivery. This will allow you to publish content once on the backend and push it to an endless number of frontends - websites, mobile apps, AR/VR, smartwatches, and more.

Similarly, localization features are also essential if you’re reaching a wide variety of users. Seek out an enterprise CMS that will enable you to choose between field and folder translations to organize your content by market. Ideally, all content and asset types should be localizable. A platform that offers dedicated apps for this task can be a huge help.

Another scaling issue to note is the content management and publishing capabilities. In addition to the basic features, investigate how easy it is to collaborate when publishing. Features like customizable workflows, in-engine commenting, and scheduling are all important to streamlining content production on a large scale with multiple users.

Finally, you’ll also want to take a look at an enterprise CMS’s pricing structure before you commit. Make sure that the charges are transparent and as predictable as possible. Costs will fluctuate with your size and performance, but knowing the bill to expect at the end of the month is essential.

3. Performance

The more traffic you have, the more crucial it is to ensure you have consistent, reliable uptime. It’s also important to take a look at the customer support available to you should an issue occur. On a similar note, a strong community can also be a benefit if you have any questions.

On the other end of performance, it’s essential to pick an enterprise CMS that takes security seriously. As a large-scale organization, you’re likely to have large volumes of sensitive information, especially if you work with payment details. Keeping it safe is key to maintaining your reputation, gaining your customers’ trust, and avoiding the huge costs associated with a security breach.

hint:

Storyblok is an enterprise CMS that is dedicated to security and ISO 27001 certified. Learn more about what that means in our trust center.

Start here: Enterprise headless CMS

Finding a system that satisfies the requirements of being easy to use, scalable, and high-performing can be tricky. Fortunately, there’s a shortcut you can take that will check those boxes: choosing a headless enterprise CMS.

Traditional CMSs tightly couple the back and front ends. This makes it simple and easy to use, however, you lose out on technical flexibility and a lot of customization. By contrast, a headless CMS separates the backend from the frontend. Free from the constraints, your team can incorporate new technologies seamlessly, reach audiences wherever they’re at, and innovate like never before.

A flow chart illustrating how APIs connect the backend of a headless CMS to multiple frontends.

The basic structure of a headless enterprise CMS.

Smaller organizations might not need the power of a headless CMS. However, if you want to guarantee you’re getting the maximum power and potential to craft the perfect approach for your business, headless CMS is your go-to option.

learn:

Want to learn more about enterprise headless CMS? Read our article, headless CMS explained.

Top 5 Enterprise CMS Solutions

Here are our picks for the top 5 enterprise CMS solutions for 2024.

1. Storyblok

An image of the Storyblok (an enterprise CMS) visual editor, with a large picture of earth on the left and input fields on the right,

Storyblok's powerful Visual Editor makes content management easy for all team members – no matter how technical they are.

Storyblok is an enterprise CMS that empowers all teams to create and scale their content across any digital channel. Whether you’re looking for technical flexibility that will allow your developers to create mind-blowing digital experiences or an intuitive interface that eliminates the learning curve for non-technical users, Storyblok has you covered.

Storyblok has developed a variety of features that make it a top pick for developers seeking an enterprise CMS, including:

  • A cloud-native headless approach that prioritizes flexibility and seamless growth
  • Personalization capabilities including internationalization, customizable content experiences, and a growing list of 3rd-party extensions
  • Component-based data structures that can be integrated and repurposed across an endless number of digital channels

However, Storyblok is unique in that it also empowers non-developers to use the enterprise CMS features to their fullest advantage:

  • An intuitive Visual Editor that non-technical users can work with independently
  • Google Docs-style commenting and tagging features directly in the app
  • Customizable publishing workflows and user roles to simplify collaboration among many users

Ready to try the leading enterprise CMS?

Start using Storyblok for free today

2. Amplience

The Amplience homepage, an enterprise CMS option.

An API-first, headless content management platform, Amplience is designed for enterprise retail. It’s a secure, fully GDPR-compliant solution with real-time content visualization that’s known for its easy setup and AR/VR capabilities. While it’s a good fit for enterprise projects, it might not be the right choice if you’re starting from a smaller size first.

3. Adobe Experience Manager

Adobe Experience Manager's homepage

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is a comprehensive content management solution. As an established name in the CMS world, AEM offers helpful features such as an internal asset management system and definable workflow models. The Adobe ecosystem also gives you easy access to tools such as Adobe SPA Editor and AEM Forms for an additional price. However, keep in mind that this same ecosystem setup means moving away from that tech can be tricky if you decide to migrate.

4. Sitecore

Sitecore, an enterprise CMS option

As an established name in the market, Sitecore is an enterprise CMS that offers a simple WYSIWYG page editor and complex workflow options. It also offers user, role, and access management as well as flexible navigation structures. While popular among developers, it occasionally causes non-technical users some issues.

5. Hubspot CMS

HubSpot's CMS, CMS Hub.

Hubspot CMS is another enterprise CMS option. Users tend to enjoy its content staging features and simple drag-and-drop editor. Personalization options that tailor content are also popular. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind that some users also find Hubspot CMS to not be as flexible or customizable as other solutions, so it may be wise to ensure it’ll fit long-term expansion ambitions before committing.

How to choose an enterprise CMS in 3 steps

Let’s take a look at the actual selection process. Here are three steps you can take to help guide your decision.

Step 1: Figure out what your needs are

We’ve generalized the traits that large organizations might want to look for in an enterprise CMS, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. You probably have unique needs or priorities between features. So the first step is to figure out what you need.

A good approach is to break it down into three categories: Must-have, Nice-to-have, and Optional. For example, you might already have a digital asset manager. In that case, you could put a powerful DAM in the “optional” category and focus more on other features. This can help you sort through options based on your requirements in order of priority.

hint:

When making this list, be sure to consult every department that will be using the CMS. This ensures that nobody’s needs are ignored.

Step 2: Shop your options – and get hands-on

After you’ve used your needs list to find a few competitors, it’s time to get involved. Many providers offer hands-on experiences like demos and free trials. Take full advantage of these opportunities – interacting with the product is the best way to get a feel for the real experience.

Again, it’s essential that you’re not just involving one department in this decision. Even if the final choice comes down to one or two people, get input from every team that will be using it. This can help avoid issues down the road or flag potential struggles from the start.

Step 3: Work with your enterprise CMS provider for the rollout

After you’ve made your choice, talk to the provider about what to expect. Some systems will naturally come with a steeper learning curve than others. Knowing what to expect and having a customer success manager on deck to step in when you need them can be the difference between a giant headache and a seamless rollout.

During this process, it’s also wise to keep that needs list in mind. Consult it frequently as you’re getting started to make sure all the features are performing as expected.

Finally, it’s essential to train your team on the new enterprise CMS. Even the best tool will be powerless if it isn’t used right. Training team members as soon and as thoroughly as possible will not only help them take full advantage of the features but will also prevent messy and unnecessary workarounds.

Key takeaways

Choosing an enterprise CMS isn’t a small decision. It can impact your entire organization – for better or for worse. By understanding what traits will be your best match and following a few pieces of advice, you can make sure that your organization is making the right call when it comes to launching a brand-new enterprise CMS.

Enterprise CMS FAQs

What is enterprise-level CMS vs normal CMS?

In a word: size. Enterprise-level CMSs are designed to meet the needs of large organizations. This includes things like being easily scalable, having high security standards, offering omnichannel publishing, and being able to handle large amounts of traffic.

How much does enterprise CMS cost?

The answer is dependent on your needs. Generally speaking, bigger and more complex organizations will pay more than their smaller, simpler counterparts. When investigating costs, be sure to include any that may not be on the initial bill, such as any paid add-ons or extra developers needed to use it to its full potential.

Do I need an enterprise CMS?

There are no hard numbers or standards, but generally, it depends on scale, complexity, and specific requirements. Try asking yourself a few questions:

  • Do you have a large amount of content and struggle to efficiently deliver it to your growing audience?
  • Do you have complex needs that basic CMSs like WordPress can’t satisfy without significant workarounds?
  • Do you have plans to significantly expand your operations or incorporate new technology regularly?

If you said “yes” to any of the above, you might be feeling growing pains and it might be time to consider an enterprise CMS.

What is the best enterprise CMS?

The best enterprise CMS will be one that most effectively meets your unique needs. Thus, the only way to find it is to carefully consider your requirements, research your options, and take a hands-on approach to testing them out.