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Enterprise level solutions on a .Net open source CMS?

License fee or license free? The question crops up time and again as clients consider the future development of their website and their content management platform (CMS).

The assumption is that it’s a compromise. The result is either a reduced budget for design and build as the license fee has eaten into the pot, or your budget remains intact but the bells and whistles go out of the window. And all the time you feel you may just be taking the decision based on the voices in your head saying "I can’t get sacked for speccing enterprise".

Consultancy Support

Headland, as an agency that supports both enterprise solutions and .Net open source, know this is an important decision. But drop the open source versus enterprise argument - focus on the business requirements, and it may help make a difficult decision a little easier.

As with the design brief to your agency, your business requirements should provide the basis for identifying the most appropriate CMS for the job. You should consider the following:

  • The user experience you want to provide
  • The services you will be providing online
  • How will you propose to manage the services
  • How will you market to your target audience
  • Making your website scalable

Only then should you consider the tools you need to do the job.

In fact a decision about which CMS to move forward with need not be taken in advance of briefing the new website design. As long as both options are available from your chosen agency, this decision can form part of the discovery workshops phase of the project. In fact, deciding on your chosen CMS in advance could actually add unnecessary cost, or result in speccing an inappropriate platform.

We regularly provide technical and UX consultancy services to our clients, and discovery workshops are the start point to each of our client projects.

Stakeholder Insight

While the final CMS decision may not rest with the marketing team or customer services or even IT, the requirements of the website stakeholders are critical to informing the roadmap and therefore the decision as to which CMS to commit to.

Enterprise vs. Open Source, the decision!

In the final analysis it is the solution and its affordability that count, not the name on the box. As we know, there are various options in the market to achieve this. Enterprise solutions such as Ektron and Episerver are excellent products with heavyweight functionality out of the box, but at a cost; whereas .Net open source solutions such as Umbraco are at the very least a viable option. Umbraco, with a global developer network, the availability of service packages both from agencies and the Umbraco customer service team, and a huge library of 3rd party plugins, can be deployed with confidence by the largest of organisations, while the licence free nature appeals to all budget holders.

As previously mentioned, this isn’t always an easy decision given the range of stakeholder input, product options and in-house procurement processes. Headland are experienced in consulting with our clients in just this sort of key decision making and support them thereafter in the delivery of their chosen solution. If you think we can help we’re happy to chat through the options.

Graeme Wilson, Director, Headland

Published: 12 February 2016

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