Wind the clock back a few years and it was easy to understand the appeal of having your website built in Ektron. It was top of its class when it came to .net based content management systems, with widgets and modules for pretty much anything, and so you could forgive its clunkiness and its high license price. We loved it too! Headland were Ektron Gold Partners, talking at events and evangelising the CMS. Our developers loved that it had a full set of APIs that didn’t restrict them. The future at that time seemed very clearly to be Ektron. At least it was, until a company known as Episerver bought the CMS in a high profile 'merger'.
Since then there has been a new version of Ektron (version 9) but it’s unlikely to get another, as Episerver is no longer offering feature updates. So if you want to future-proof your website, you’ll need to look away from Ektron.
So, what are your options? Well, we believe there are 3 distinct options available to you:
Option 1 - Do nothing
Your site works, doesn’t it? So why not keep the site you know and love in Ektron and be done with it? Well, firstly there is a yearly cost associated with this. The cost is dependent on your original license cost and without paying the fee, you won’t be able to do any major administration tasks or development. Secondly, even if you have paid for that annual license, technology moves on. There have been so many advances in responsive frameworks, mobile and tablet devices that Ektron Pagebuilder may not know about and will never know about, because the product is no longer being updated for features. This means that one day, you won’t be able to update your site on anything other than a desktop computer; that’s not great, but even worse is that potentially there will be new devices and browsers that the CMS doesn’t know how to display your website on because it doesn’t have the correct widgets or frameworks built in.
Imagine trying to run a Flash-based website on an iPad nowadays; it’s not possible. That’s similar to what could happen without migrating. If you did decide to go down this route then you don’t really need Headland's help, unless you wanted to spruce up your HTML or CSS templates of course. But it’s a ticking timebomb, and one that you have to keep feeding money into regardless. It’s time you migrated.
Option 2 - Rebuild your site in Episerver
Episerver is an amazingly capable enterprise CMS product, but it comes at a cost. CMS Connected, a leading content management news and review website states that you are generally looking at over $100K (£77K) per year depending on the size and scope of the site. On top of these costs, you will have to redevelop your site in Episerver. How long with that take? Obviously it depends completely on the size and complexity of your site, but Episerver themselves say the average site will take 2-4 months of development to migrate, so that would also need to be added to your first year's cost.
If you are considering going down this route, then talk to us. Given our history and credentials with Ektron we are the perfect team for this type of work and we would be happy to advise you based on the site you currently have. But given the high costs involved, we think that you should seriously consider option 3.
Option 3 - Make your site great with Umbraco
If you look back a few years ago to when Ektron was king of the content management systems, it was easy to see why. There simply wasn't another .net CMS capable of doing what it could do. Nothing could match its enterprise capabilities of handling masses of pages, documents and media while having users and workflow permissions, great search capabilities and easy to use web-centric editing. However, that was then, and this is now… enter Umbraco, an open source content management system that is the fastest growing in the market. Market research has shown that it's one of the easiest to use systems around, and the number of active installs online is approaching half a million.
Umbraco is used by multinational companies such as Microsoft, Peugeot and Heinz, many council and government sites and even Headland's own website (now there’s an accolade for it!). We firmly believe that Umbraco is more than capable of running 99% of sites that previously would have needed an enterprise level content management system such as Ektron or Episerver.
From a cost point of view, the core system has no licensing fee whatsoever. Headland can take your site and use our expertise with both Ektron and Umbraco to seamlessly give you a content management system that is more streamlined, less clunky, much friendlier to use and that will be supported by the development community for years to come.
The best thing is, because there are no licensing costs, the only outlay associated with an Umbraco site is the initial site migration development and hosting. We will train your editors to content manage your site in an afternoon; it’s that easy to use. You’ll get a better CMS at a fraction of the cost.
If you're interested in learning more about migrating your site from Ektron to Umbraco, contact Headland for more information.
Craig Pickles - Technical Director, Headland