How to Choose the Optimum Kentico License

Kentico is one of the best marketing solutions available in the market. You can build complex online marketing systems, customer portals, or self-service websites using this platform. However, before you decide to purchase a license, you should check which one will be appropriate in the context of your organization’s business needs.


In this article, we will outline the key features and limitations in Kentico licenses. We will mainly have look at two: CMS Ultimate and EMS. We will focus on when you should opt for the higher version. We base the following conclusions on a number of different implementations of Kentico. Among other things, we have built a national news website for a global corporation: PPG. We have implemented a lead generation system for Multimedia Polska, and our project was given the top 10 sites of the month award. We launched an advanced corporate website for Nest Bank (also shortlisted) and We also created a customer self-service portal solution for a nationwide property developer – Archicom.


Kentico – Introduction

Kentico is a comprehensive solution containing three key elements: an advanced CMS, an e-commerce system, and an online marketing module. The client gets a single environment for the effective management of their customer experience in the online channel. Kentico enables you to handle the full scope of the customer journey from first interactions on the website, through the creation and running of marketing campaigns, as well as content personalization, all the way to purchasing a product or launching a service. With these opportunities, Kentico has recently become popular in many industries, including the finance industry, where companies want to provide their customers with an E-BOK solution. 

The Kentico license used determines the range of features you can use. For advanced projects, we recommend one of the two licenses: CMS Ultimate or EMS. The Base license is recommended for projects with a low level of sophistication – typical informative websites (called brochures).

The producer describes the licenses in the following way:

  • Kentico CMS Base – Ideal for website page management and multisite functionality 
  • Kentico CMS Ultimate – CMS and E-commerce functionality with Online Communities 
  • Kentico EMS – All-in-one CMS, E-commerce, and Online Marketing platform 

In the following paragraphs, we will outline the elements that are key in recommending the optimal license. We specialize in advanced projects, hence we only use higher licenses and will focus on them. As the e-commerce feature is fully available starting from the base level, with the only limitation being the number of SKUs (Stock Keeping Units), we will not analyze it in detail.

Web Content Management – What Is the Content Publishing Process Like?

The selected basic features available starting with the Base license include: 

  • Forms 
  • Booking system 
  • Taxonomy 
  • Content locking 
  • Web parts 
  • Multilingual support 
  • SEO 

The most important licensing differences within this module relate to text publishing. If a single team is responsible for website publishing and they do not use external partners, then Kentico Base is the best choice. This is an optimum solution for companies that run their own small teams of editors. A good example are manufacturing companies publishing product descriptions on their websites.

If, as part of your business, you provide a lot of content and it is variable, with several people responsible for its preparation, a basic license will not be sufficient. Similarly, if multilingual support is important in your portal and translation and localization of content requires a separate workflow, then Kentico EMS license will be a good choice. This will allow you to track and manage content at every stage of the publishing and translation cycle. This solution will work well for companies operating in multiple markets with more than one team.

The key feature available only in the highest license is workflow. This allows administrators to design the process of creating a publication. The tool allows you to reflect the method of work organization and the structure of the marketing department. With its help, the CMS monitors the process of approving texts before publication or assigning editors to specific projects.

The second important factor here is building multilingual websites or publishing content on national websites. The module allows you to make the process available to an external partner: a translation or marketing agency managing a given market. The EMS license also includes automatic integration with automatic text translation solutions – such as Google Translate, whose effectiveness is steadily increasing.

Online Marketing – Full Use of the Features or Just E-mailing?

To get the most out of online marketing, it is essential to purchase the top license: Kentico EMS. It includes a full range of features. It combines marketing solutions with customer behavior analysis. It allows you to manage campaigns in different channels (CMS, landing page, social media, newsletters) and to dynamically adjust content to the customer’s actions.

Kentico EMS allows you to manage prospects and leads were acquired during a campaign. It uses lead scoring and identifies the most promising customers. Through marketing automation solutions, it increases the involvement of potential customers and increases the likelihood of a sale. These features are used to achieve specific marketing and sales goals, such as improving Customer Experience or increasing conversion rates. 

The Online Marketing module is fully integrated with the Content Management System and offers modules such as:

  • E-mail marketing 
  • Lead scoring 
  • Segmentation 
  • Personas 
  • Marketing automation 
  • Content personalization 
  • A/B tests 

These features allow you to build an advanced online marketing tool, where the user can manage both the CMS and the campaigns in one environment. By linking these two elements, a synergy is achieved. An example of this is dynamically adjusting the appearance of the page to the behavior of a customer who came to us as a result of a campaign.

We start our projects by defining an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), where we first replace an open-source CMS with an advanced solution selected in Gartner’s reports. Typically, it is only in the second phase of a project (after the system is up and running, as part of the development) that we launch the online marketing features. Licensing is very helpful here, as the producer offers a big discount if you upgrade your license to a higher version. Starting with an Ultimate license, which allows you to handle e-mail marketing and newsletters, you can handle basic online marketing needs. As your needs and the use of Kentico grow, you can upgrade your license to EMS. 

To answer the question of whether this is the right way for you, we need to answer a few questions, examples below: 

  • What are the business goals and how are you going to achieve them? How many customers do you plan to reach first?
  • What budget do you expect to assign to achieve your goals? 
  • What is important to your business in online marketing – which features are critical and needed first?

In most cases, we do not recommend the CMS Base license as it is very limited in terms of the number of recipients. The limitations of the CMS Ultimate license are listed below.

Scope of newsletter functionalities in the individual Kentico licenses
LICZBA KAMPANII – THE NUMER OF CAMPAIGNS
LICZBA ADRESATÓW – THE NUMBER OF RECIPIENTS
Nieograniczona liczba – Unlimited number

Let’s say you have a group of 6,000 customers and you send 4 newsletters per month. The Ultimate license will allow you to send 10 newsletters, but only to 5,000 recipients. If this number is sufficient for you at this stage of your business, you can opt for the Ultimate license. If you have more recipients or assume a higher frequency of mailing, you should consider implementing Kentico EMS.

Platform – A Broad Base and Enterprise Requirements

Kentico, as befits a solution selected by Gartner, has a number of features required of this class of tool. The platform allows for scalable and efficient development (open development interface, backend integrations, and authentication), which offers broad extension options. 

Starting with the Kentico Base license, the following features are available:

  • Support for cloud architecture – both Azure and AWS 
  • Google Maps, 
  • Open API 
  • Web portal development based on more than 450 ready-made webparts 
  • Reporting 
  • RSS / Atom / XML
  • Development using the MVC model

The key differences in the higher versions relate to projects more complex than simple websites. Starting with the Ultimate version, you get access to three key features for enterprise customers: Continuous Integration, Staging and Synchronization, and an Integration Bus.

The first two are applied in projects with several different environments, both at the supplier’s and customer’s sides. This is how 100% of our implementations are carried out.

Continuous Integration is a DevOps tool. It enables the automatic transfer of changes made during development or development from one environment to another. It handles all operations, from creating and updating objects to deleting them, and automatically synchronizes these changes locally before saving them to source control. This function is used both when building a portal and later during its further development.

Staging and Synchronization enables easy synchronization of content changes between various environments such as development, QA / test, preproduction, and the production environment.

The Integration Bus provides a ready-made solution to seamlessly integrate Kentico with any system such as existing CRM and ERP or any data bus. This enables bidirectional data synchronization with Kentico. The built-in Integration Bus module supplied with the platform enables easy integration with other systems – a number of ready-made connectors to the most popular solutions, such as SalesForce, are available.

The above three features, which make the difference in licensing, are critical especially for IT, security and compliance departments. In most cases, we recommend using the minimum CMS Ultimate license.

Summary

To sum up, analysis at the solution concept stage should play the key role in recommending Kentico license levels. Only after the organization’s needs are identified and understood can a decision be made. Both Kentico CMS Ultimate and Kentico EMS allow you to deliver complex and interesting solutions. The full range of features available in the EMS version is not always justified business-wise. Below is a brief summary to help you make the right choice.

Kluczowe funkcjonalności w poszczególnych licencjach Kentico – Key functionalities in Kentico licenses
Złożony process publikacji treści – Complex process of content publishing
Tłumaczenie – Translation
Zaawansowany marketing online – Advanced online marketing
Środowisko developerskie, testowe, preprod, prod – Advanced development, test, preprod, prod environment
Integracja z innymi systemami poprzez Integration Bus – Integration with other systems via Integration Bus

If you would like to find out more about licensing, the possibilities of using Kentico in your company, we invite you to read our DXP solution offering and get in touch with us: Bartosz Kolasa, bartosz.kolasa@unitygroup.com.


To check the current price list for individual licenses, visit the Kentico website.

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