- From a developer perspective, Ektron CMS400 is powerful and flexible. All the features and functionality of the system are accessible to the developer through a well documented API.
- The system has had great backwards compatibility through numerous upgrade cycles. Security patches have been problem-free.
- Ektron CMS400 is great for working with structured data. I feel this is a key strength. It is simple to build smart forms for authoring content with structured data. The data is then available in XML format as individual items or collections of items, and may be displayed or applied as desired.
- The evolution of the product has focused on architecture and functionality that is of value in large distributed installations, but less so for smaller 1 or 2 server implementations.
- Development of the back end authoring and administrative interface has lagged. It has received a cosmetic face lift over the years, but has received little attention in regards to ease-of-use and usability. To some degree, it has poor discoverability with many idiosyncratic UI conventions.
- Our authors complain about learning and retaining the knowledge for using the authoring interface. In Ektron's usage model, it is a skilled role. We would prefer the authoring be more intuitive. I don't feel Ektron necessarily lags behind the competition in this area, but there is lots of room for improvement and differentiation here if they chose to make this a priority.
- The main strength of the Ektron CMS is that yes indeed, after very expensive training, non-technical users will be able to add and update website content.
- Ektron makes it easy to manage users and content once you become an expert at it after extensive and costly training plus plenty of experience using it day to day.
- The CMS is built on the .NET Framework therefore easy to modify and extend by an experienced asp.net developer. After training of course. There is also plenty of free code contributed by other developers – some may actually be useful for your particular situation.
- The first and greatest weakness is the price. More accurately the over-price. Software that requires a hard sell by a sales person is universally expensive. Ektron doesn’t have prices published on its website. Everything is simply "contact us for more information".
- Unless you have monster servers even for a low traffic site, the bloated Ektron software will be obvious by the slow page loads.
- The only CMS worse than Ektron is SiteCore.
Ektron Review: "Allows marketing to publish updates continuously throughout the day, especially during the busy ski season."
- Ektron CMS is reliable and performs well. Outages are extremely rare, and the site is fast.
- The Ektron CMS content editor is easy to use, and updates can be made by non-technical people. The Ektron site synchronization process allows us to automatically publish updates every 30 minutes. This is very important to the resort's marketing efforts during the busy ski season.
- This is straight from the marketing department: 'Ektron CMS is user friendly for non-technical people, and it allows us to be more effective in our marketing efforts.
- It is difficult to apply custom css styles to Ektron server controls.
- The product documentation can be confusing.
- The annual licensing fee is reasonable, but the start up cost is high, and some of the other resorts balk at the high price tag.
- Ektron smart orm is a very powerful and easy to use tool which can be updated by content editors and leveraged by developers using XSLT or code behind classes
- Ektron Framework API provides developers with the right tools to extend and enrich the website's functionality.
- Publishing workflow Ektron's publishing and approval workflows allow multiple content editors to easily collaborate on updating a single content item in tandem. Site administrator to create approval workflows which integrate with the organization's business logic and hierarchy.
- eSync Tool Ektron's eSync tool allows for synchronization of content and application files of multiple environments, making migration of changes a seamless process.
- Subdomains - Native support for multiple subdomains under one Ektron site
- The system has been very stable and dependable - up-time has been nearly 100%.
- Content editing is relatively simple and flexible, and it's easy to include images and video in page layouts.
- In user management, security and permissions are flexible and easy to administer. Content approval chains are simple to set up.
- The system includes advanced features such as manual or rule-based content aliasing, widget-based page layout, blogging, content rating, and integrated analytics.
- Ektron support staff are prompt and helpful when we encounter problems. Unlimited support is offered to licensees.
- The system integrates seamlessly with our organization's customer management system for e-commerce.
- Content editing has become challenging as new browser versions are released. Some operations of the content editor in v8.6 are unstable with recent versions of IE, Firefox and Chrome, and can cause loss of work if the user is not careful. We hope this will be addressed in the next upgrade. Only other option would be to lock down browser upgrades in our shop, but that doesn't seem safe.
- The upgrade process has become more difficult with each new version. We used to perform upgrades and any needed cleanup in-house, but Ektron now recommends having this work done by a partner re-seller, adding significant cost.
- Site search was based on index-server until v8.0. It was simple to set up, very reliable and met all our needs. Newer versions are much more complex to setup and require more resources.
- Translation Services - Ektron was one of the early adopters that understood the importance of the global community and the need to provide localized translations for a multinational audience. As such, Ektron has had a way to export content in standard XLIFF format that would allow different translations providers to review your word count and provide competitive pricing for your translation needs. Over time, Ektron has worked with software providers to make widgets available that will allow the exports to integrate with translation management systems to help provide near real-time view of the work being done.
- eSync - Early on in their software development road-map, Ektron identified the need for an easy file transfer system between servers so that the IT department would not need to be involved; and, ultimately give more control back to the CMS author/administrator. Ektron’s eSync allows users to synchronize content, assets, HTML pages and other website components (whether they are managed by Ektron or not) from server-to-server in real-time or on a predetermined schedule.
- Page Builder - When Ektron introduced PageBuilder, it was viewed as a game changer in that it provided more usability to the authors; and, reduced the need for IT staff to be involved with the website from a management perspective. Once a template has been created, any CMS author than can assign it for use and manipulate what/where on the page the content will reside using drop zones with drag-and-drop widgets.
- Pricing - My concern around pricing is not limited to Ektron; but, is a symptomatic problem with the majority of the products in this space. Overtime, the pricing model has changed; and, has created a barrier to entry for smaller/mid market customers.
- Modules - Similar to pricing (and definitely not limited to Ektron), the optional add-on modules are attractive; but, have created a barrier to entry. During the sales process, varies modules/functionality are shown to entice the buyers decision making process; however, it becomes sticker shock when they learn that the modules are not part of the base model.
- eCommerce - I've been working with the Ektron product for close to 8 years; and, during this time, I have heard that there are only a handful (10 or less) eCommerce implementations running in a production environment today.
1. How many CMS Authors will need to have access?
2. What is your planned server infrastructure (IE: DEV-->STG-->PROD)?
3. Will you be deploying to the Cloud (if so, Amazon or Azure)?
4. What are the business challenges you are trying to overcome?
5. What development technologies are you in-house development staff familiar with (IE: .NET, MVC, PHP, Drupal, etc)?
6. Do you need to integrate with other systems like SalesForce, HubSpot, SharePoint, etc?
7. What is your overall budget for (1) software and (2) services?
- Landing page creation. Marketing can quickly learn to create pages on the fly. Easy to do.
- Managing content and graphics. Clean interface and easy to navigate.
- URL aliasing. Marketing can quickly change the names of pages and assign SEO friendly URLs.
- Speed. The tool can be slow in certain browsers.
- Uploading graphics. Load balancer does not work well.
How much you can spend (Ektron is somewhat pricey).
- Displaying Call to Actions (CTAs)
- Creating Landing Pages
- Capturing Leads
- Personalizing the customer journey
- The eSync product is one of the best tools on the market for synchronizing both content and its associated assets between and authoring and production environment
- The Cloud Manager offers a streamlined process for hosting in the cloud
- The Taxonomy functionality allows you to create one piece of content and serve it up contextually throughout other areas of the website with ease.
- The user interface within the administration area feels very dated
- The Page Builder product produces a fair amount of extraneous html markup which can make some mobile implementations more complicated
- The Page Builder product can case somewhat of a maintenance complication for large scale websites
Typically, Ektron is brought in to:
1. Improve Content Authoring Capabilities
2. Increase flexibility for creating and maintaining a website
3. Integrate more powerful marketing and communications tools and capabilities and put more in the hands of the content authors without requiring IT or developer time
4. Improve change control and release management
5. Provide a Single Source for commerce, community and content and other web-facing functionality
- Content authoring is a strength of the CMS. The interface is relatively simple to understand and utilize and most users feel comfortable finding, editing and publishing content with just a short introduction or training session.
- The integrated community, marketing and commerce tools simplify the administration of more complex websites and provide a single place and unified methodology for managing all web-facing content and capabilities.
- Page Builder, as a platform, really provides a lot of flexibility for content authors to create the exact experience users want while not requiring developers to create new templates or layouts to support their initiatives. Embracing the Page Builder / Widget architecture yields considerable flexibility for content authors.
- The developer APIs have gone through various iterations over the years and we find we have to utilize both old and new methods to achieve the desired functionality. Ektron needs to complete the new Framework API's and make them usable for all use cases.
- The system requires considerable support to maintain and upgrade and developers and administrators need to plan updates and upgrades carefully.
- Smart Forms (xml-structured content) need to be modernized and more strategically integrated into the content authoring experience and more robust support through the APIs.
- The community tools need to be overhauled and updated to keep pace with the current market's requirements and capabilities.
1. Organizations with a marketing and content oriented set of requirements
2. Organizations with limited IT infrastructure and internal support capabilities
3. Organizations that need to integrate multiple web-facing components into a single managed solution
4. Organizations wanting to quickly embrace mobile
There are other additional factors that influence it's fit within an organization, but it's a capable tool with some appealing features, but as with all CMS' needs to be properly tailored and implemented to match the clients needs.
- Content Publishing. Control is intuitive and very distinct from a workflow perspective. Advanced features such as tagging & taxonomy may be introduced for more personalization
- Mobile. support for responsive design / adaptive sites is imperative and Ektron provides device based support to control the mobile experience relative to content, images, navigation, etc...
- eSync. the ability to replicate from multiple environments at both an app level and content as well as in a bi-directional manner is very powerful and a differentiator for the WCM to competitive platforms
- Need to expand on external system integration to where they are more automated. This ranges from the marketing Automation platforms to analytical / social platforms.
- Document Repository could be improved to be a complete Digital Asset Management tool that includes in depth usage data/analytics.
- Basic page creation
- Simple Workflows
- Aloha WYSIWYG editor has large UX gaps. Tech-savvy users can learn workarounds, but base users will have trouble.
- Sync'ing from one environment to another is a crap-shoot. (There are options for bi-directional sync's but Support has said never to use them because of stability issues)
- Ektron 9.0 is much more resource intensive than 8.5 was. We needed to double our allocated memory.
- Responsive web design (version 9.0)
- Design customization
- Content management (uploading, editing, approval process, etc.)
- Fabulous customer support
- Have the "Desktop" tab of the CMS function more like a dashboard than an information center, giving each user a customized and efficient user experience.
- The ability to delete multiple files or images at the same time versus individually.
- The ability to further organize or flag a file (such as with a color, icon, etc.) within folders, in order to make it simple for another use to locate.
The CMS's functionality offers everything you could possibly need. (And if it doesn't, Ektron is great about working with you to develop a solution.) In addition, Ektron consistently stays atop industry trends and technical advancements. So you can assured that purchasing their platform is an investment - not simply a purchase.
- Ease of use and integration - I'll caveat this with you need some experience with the concept of a template based solution where users are given a standard workspace but the design elements (colors, layout, etc) have already been provided by the organization via the templates. Its not a difficult concept but the system is not "built for you" out of the box but does have some templates to get you up and running. Most organizations are going to implement customization's however.
- Good fit with our technology - This is a .NET based system which fit with our current staff's expertise and experience. It allowed us to get the system up quickly and begin development above and beyond what is provided by Ektron out of the box.
- Administration - The system allows for adequate granular administration of the site(s). This was especially important to us as we have nearly 40 web sites each with administrators who are tasked with providing content.
- Modules - Given that we have not used the product recently this may have changed but I would like to see more out of the box modules that address typical use (i.e. media, industry specific modules especially ones geared towards education, etc).
- Social elements - The last version we used lacked any social integration so users were still forced to update their websites and then go out to Facebook, etc and make those same updates. Id like to see more integration between Ektron and various social platforms.
- More granular administration with an easier interface for assignment of user rights and the ability to fine tune user group rights.
- Forms are relatively easy to use and set up within Ektron, but by easier, I mean, easier than coding them by hand.
- Ektron's user interface could use a complete overhaul, beginning with the odd logical separation between "Library" items and "Content." From an end-user perspective these distinctions are completely irrelevant and only serve to confuse everyone.
- The way Ektron reads html in the code editor is unfathomable. White space is dealt with in a completely unconventional and error prone way and the text editor often inserts immense amounts of unnecessary markup that often causes problems and bugs.
- Ektron contains so many bugs its almost impossible to list them all. As the main editor of the website, my standard answer to any standard functionality requests is "no" because Ektron charges inordinate sums of money for those functions and even if we do custom manage our own solution, it would likely cause the entire system to crash.
- Ektron is very very slow.
- Ektron requires a seperate module for mobile/web-friendly websites. You can't just code it yourself. You have to buy their's.
I would still recommend looking at any other CMS over Ektron. It is by far the worst I have ever used and, unfortunately, continue to use. If you have a large team of well-trained content editors, each in charge of small portions of a website, I could see Ektron being useful. If you are a small business or don't have unlimited funds to waste on a poorly made product, use Wordpress, Drupal, or Concrete. If you would like something that works well and comes with few 'undocumented features,' use the aforementioned as well.
- The performance of the database as well as the cms itself has improved greatly.
- Not tied to the CMS in particular, but the dev community on Ektron sites as well as Twitter is great.
- The editor is great, but its still missing some of the functionality of the previous WYSIWYG editor.
- I'd like to see some expanded html forms or custom content types used as forms. As is, you can do basic surveys and forms but anything beyond that essentially requires a custom page / app.
- Easily create and manage content
- Analyze and optimize site and campaign performance to drive desired results
- Content Targeting: Personalize content to site visitors
- Deliver a unified, optimized customer experience
- A better integration of the Page Builder pages with MVC
- It's an all in one solution that can be built to suit your needs. From the simple job of managing content and resources like images and documents, to social components like activity boards, messaging services, and eCommerce.
- The interface provides a solid structure to configure components of the application to allow quick and easy content entry and management. Smart Forms, for example, provide a nice way to structure content entry for marketers and non-technical users so they are limited to the scope a developer needs, but are allowed flexibility to the degree the author might need.
- Page Builder allows a developer to set up various templates for the website to be flexible enough for a marketer to be able to add content and create "pages" on the website that suite the needs of the department or user. Ektron's "widgets" are similar enough to standard .NET user controls that a developer familiar with them can create custom ones for Page Builder pages pretty successfully.
- Recent updates have added support for SOLR as a search engine allowing you the freedom to move away from the strong licensing structure of Microsoft Search Server and FAST if your organization is more familiar with the APACHE offering.
- The Document Management System (DMS) built-in provides the ability to add typical office documents into the system complete with search, versioning, and permission and privacy control.
- The API is pretty powerful and flexible when you become familiar with all the levels and features available through it.
- Some users feel the management interface (Workarea) feels a little dated or confusing with a typical Windows-like folder tree on the left and a right pane that changes based on the section of the Workarea you are in. Visual cues for buttons and components are not always obvious.
- While the interface enables you to structure the site and add content with faster and easier setup than some other competing products on the market, as with many the competition, the implementation is only as good as the administrator configures it, and over the years I have found this to be one of the biggest complaints and problems with the system.
- The CMS has many features packed in for marketers, developers, administrators, and users, and it has a great deal of potential to be a powerful system because of them. But many of them feel half-baked into the system more to serve as keywords for a sales pitch or a checklist as opposed to being a solid and usable addition to the system. That's not to say that many of these features are not usable, but they are not as usable or great as they could be. For example, the eCommerce component tends to feel clunky or confusing for users managing products in it. The intranet components, like activity boards or messaging, are difficult to manage in the Workarea because of the interface and lack of access to features that exist and are otherwise hidden from the Workarea or are available only through a front-end widget.
- The API can be very powerful, and I find most of the time I leverage that to build custom components and controls, but the documentation, though much better now than it has been in past years, is still struggling to provide the level of detail to the various methods and libraries available through the product. This is one area where some of the competition outshines. With someone who has many years of professional experience with the product this is not as big an issue as the API is fairly easy to remember, but for new developers this can be a challenge.
- Support used to be more of a hit-or-miss roller-coaster ride, and while it has improved in the past years, it's still bumpy for some people. The positive side of this is they have a solid group of community users that are willing to help answer questions and provide samples or demo code where they can to enable new and existing users and developers.
- While the community is very helpful and willing through various social spheres, like Stack Overflow, Twitter, and Ektron's Developer Forums, Ektron's own Developer Forums are a bit rough to use, making that piece more challenging than it should be. As mentioned, however, they have very helpful and active community members that patrol, and a few internal users that are fairly "hell-bent" on making sure that questions are seen by anyone who might be able to assist. I always recommend Tweeting about something after posting it, for optimal exposure.
- Ektron's support for MVC is probably it's biggest, obvious weakness currently. While the competition has moved on to solid support for MVC, Ektron's strength is still with Webforms. The three-tier architecture Ektron has built provides a similar approach, but it still cannot compete with true MVC support. If your organization is dedicated to an MVC implementation, a different solution might suit you better.
- How quick do you need a deployment? With proper guidance, an Ektron site can be deployed fairly quickly depending on the needs and complexity of the application it's being used for.
- What kind of flexibility do you need for the management of content? Ektron's Smart Forms provide a nice structured content entry method, but the built in system-types are not as flexible as some competitors interface.
- What's your tech stack and preferred application approach? Ektron's structure is built with standard .NET webforms in mind. If your preference is for MVC, a different product will probably serve you better.
- Are you planning to deploy using your own developers or through an agency? Most Ektron partners, or agencies with solid experience will provide a more positive experience and final solution as they tend to have the experience and expertise to work past some of the shortcomings. If building yourself, allow time for learning challenges and proper training.
Review: "William Shatner screaming "Ektrooooohhhhnnn" instead of Khan sums up our experience with Ektron"
- Ektron does provide the ability for developers to program additional features, widgets, and apps utilizing both .NET components and Ektron components.
- It allows an organization to use their LDAP/AD system to automatically create user accounts and permissions.
- By utilizing the pagebuilder module, non-developers can create new pages with a unique content structure by dragging widgets onto a page and selecting content for each widget. Some of the prebuilt widgets allow for the addition of content from YouTube, Brightcove, news feeder, calendar, blogs, flickr, etc
- The work area is not very user friendly and is based on a file folder system similar to a Windows based system which can cause some user problems with people who use a Mac.
- Ektron's support system works as a ticket-based system. Your ticket may sit in a queue for a day before you hear from someone.
- The Ektron system doesn't lend itself well to responsive design.
- Manage user security and roles
- Manage content and rollback
- .Net inetgration
For most implementations, it should work well.
The system is typically used throughout an organization as it is user friendly and intuitive. The business problem it addresses is disseminating content online in an efficient and effective manner.
Membership, products, events or information
Ektron's CMS products are great for website management and have components that user base organizations will like: Sliders, Smartforms (ease level of effort for event creation or forms). The reports in the Admin are helpful and the revamped search in version 8.7 and 9 features faceted search.
- Allows user control management and publishing flow in a seamless way
- Content versioning
- Multiple content access (i.e. native control, API, Web Services)
- Content Manager interface - UI and performance
- Web Services
- Better MVC integration
- Good reliability. When implemented correctly, extremely rarely have timeouts or crashes
- User-friendly. I've worked in CMSs before that were so complicated you might as well have been writing everything by hand in HTML. Not so here.
- That being said, the code view is easy to use, as well, for those (like me) who actually are quite comfortable using HTML.
- No major complaints. My impression is that it is rather flexible, and that it's not particularly difficult for devs to build what producers and managers need on top of the existing code.
Ektron Scorecard Summary
Feature Scorecard Summary
a Web Content Management System from Ektron+EPisersver (Ektron is retained as a
brand following the merger). It has been focused on mid-market accounts but is
now starting to attract more enterprise customers. The product has a very
comprehensive set of connectors to CRMs (e.g. Salesforce) and web analytics
products (e.g.Google, Webtrends). It is built on a .NET platform. Its WYSIWYG,
drag and drop content editor favors a less technical approach; the system
supports the creation of lists, content, forms and multimedia in pages via its
simplified interface. Extron has multichannel delivery, so content is
mobile-accessible and viewable on many device types. Ektron
is offered via a perpetual or a subscription model, and can be deployed on
premises or from the Ektron Managed Cloud. Cost of implementation will vary.
Ektron Technical Details