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Many businesses are choosing to focus on content as their golden strategy. Specifically, making sure the content speaks to the right audience, with the right message, and scheduled to release at the right time. 

Businesses make the content process as smooth as possible by utilising a content management system (CMS).

However, it's a busy space, and choosing a CMS can be impossible. 

Industry benchmarker, Scott Brinker, has seen the Martech 5000, a list of marketing software including CMS, grow substantially: 

  • The marketing technology landscape is now 50X the size it started.
  • A pre-pandemic report from April 2020 found that 1 in 5 of the solution platforms out there on last year's Martech landscape wasn't there in the year previous. That's close to the equivalent of the entirety of 2015's marketing technology landscape! 
  • From 2011-2020, there was a 5,233% growth in the landscape.

There's a sea of options to suit every niche need, but what's the best fit for you?

What specific functions are you looking for your CMS to provide to aid your marketing? 


Introducing the Best-of-breed and Suite CMS

If you've ever delved into choosing a CMS, you've probably come across the two terms: Best-of-breed and Suite.

There are different attributes to each, which make them better suited to some teams more than others. 

We've broken down the differences and definitions for each so you can make the right decision for your team. 

Best-of-Breed CMS is an approach that means choosing the best tool to perform for one specific function. These tools are developed by a highly skilled team and built to a high standard for a particular use case. This highly adapted purpose means you can expect more specialised features from a best-of-breed than you can from the same style product in a suite offering. 

The process of integrating data might take additional development time, but overall it's the most efficient and cost-effective method.

The CMS suite is a classic all in one place management platform. Multiple segments or modules characterise this version, so you can mix and match what suits you best, but you buy them all from the same vendor. A suite is an excellent tool for those looking for a convenient and quick solution. 


Features and compromises of Best-of-Breed and Suites.

There are differences between the two that could sway which fits your needs better as a user. It depends on what's important to you and what you deem to be a top priority. 

Let's run through the features and how each service differs when:

  • Integrating
  • Scaling
  • Upgrading
  • Adopting


Integrating: How will it fit into your overall architecture?

How will it fit with the systems you already have in place?

best-of-breed will fit a wide range of existing solutions for which it has a pre-existing integration. But integrating into other systems or sharing data across platforms might require extra development time. 

With CMS suites, the architecture can be inflexible, but it's a forgivable trade-off for the level of consistency it provides.


Scaling: How will your chosen CMS grow with you as a business?

If you're working with an enterprise client, you'll be wondering if the vendor can support your needs? 

With best-of-breed software, vendors are usually small companies. So this might not be able to cover the needs of an enterprise-level client fully but are inherently built to be used in conjunction with other software. 

Suite systems are built by the provider with enterprise-level clients in mind, and therefore, there would be no issue in covering larger orders. However, large volume purchases like this might mean you have to pay for products you never use because they came in the bundle. 


Upgrading: How will they keep you up to speed?

How often do you need to be worrying about updating the product? 

As a limited focus, best-of-breed doesn't take long to update, and it's able to adapt to changes in the fast-paced, competitive market quickly. Open source products can be updated and customised at your leisure; development does not depend on the vendor. 

With Suites, features and updates are provided by the vendors and might take a long time to implement; even minor bugs might have to wait for a suite-wide update.


Adopting: Short-term success or a long-term drain?

As a long-term investment, you should weigh up the value a solution adds over time and which is the most worthwhile in this respect. 

Best-of-breed products can have a significant impact on the business in a short space of time. Thanks to faster development cycles, best-of

-breed providers can roll out any updates or bug fixes immediately. However, over time, it might be that it proves unable to scale with the company's needs and may need replacing with an enterprise solution. 

There is often a steep adoption curve when using suites. But once the solution is implemented and fully understood, it can make up for the long onboarding process. In terms of cost, it provides much greater efficiency and growth potential.


The two final deciding factors

While the above criteria may influence your decision, we've found in any conversation there are always two deciding factors that brands cannot risk ignoring: 

1. Cost: whether it's the upfront fee or compounding costs over time, budgets often define a project.

Security: How many opportunities for vulnerability are there, and how much maintenance will be required to keep your customers safe.


1. Cost

To many, the most significant determinant is the cost and return on investment. Is it worth it, and which CMS is the best value for money? 

Best-of-breed is usually a lower initial investment, and you also get to choose a product that matches all of your specific requirements. But there is usually a higher switching cost. 

With the cost of suites, you might need to make sure your boss is sitting down before you start arguing your case. However, thanks to volume purchasing and enterprise plans, you can lower your costs or get a discount over time.

The switching price for a suite can also be high, which means even licence free, open-source options are a significant investment. 

These solutions and prices are entirely subjective to your budget strings but can ultimately be the deciding factor for many.


2. Security

Our second deciding factor is how secure the cms solution is.

Working with a best-of-breed CMS, security updates can be deployed outside regular development cycles and without affecting other systems. 

Best-of-breed is more likely to have a fast response time due to a smaller code base, while suite CMS is usually solving breaches around the clock. However, a security fault found in any part of your software runs the possibility of running access to the entire suite system. 


In summary...

Each company is different, and these solutions will fit differently depending on your digital strategy already in place. Circumstances can change, and businesses have to grow and roll with the punches, but there will always be a need for a robust content management system to be in place. 

Picking a CMS will have to sway in favour of your developer needs, content editors, and others who use it frequently.

If you're still not so clear on what to pick, here's our last go at summing them up for you. (Or you can get in touch with us here).



If you need a solution that will solve a specific business problem, has a low startup and switching cost, you're on the right track with a best-of-breed solution. Best-of-breed also fits in with your current architecture and has quick onboarding and a quickly understandable user interface.


Suite solution:

Suites are for you if you need a comprehensive solution that will become the base of your digital strategy over time. With suites, you also have a wide array of tools included in your solution that share data and processes seamlessly with a united look and feel.


What next...

We're partners to some of the leading CMS platforms on the market including Umbraco. Ready to evaluate your CMS?

Tell us about your requirements, and we'll let you know how we can help.

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