Ever since its release as part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud in in 2012, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) has grown to become one of the largest content management solutions in the world. But despite being the most well-known web content management system, AEM may have gotten too big for its own good. Not only is the platform wildly expensive, but it has also earned the reputation of being overly complex and difficult to learn.
If you’re in the market for a new CMS and you’re considering AEM, it’s important to be aware of the pain points associated with Adobe’s solution in order to make the most informed decision possible. Below we’ve outlined the top five challenges customers encounter when working with AEM.
AEM Is Difficult to Learn
While AEM has a reputation for being highly flexible, it’s also known to be extremely complicated. This complexity comes with a very high learning curve, making it difficult for new, non-technical users to pick up. After a 9 to 18-month rollout, significant training is needed to advance beyond the base functionality. Expect it to take your team weeks to learn the basics and months to become productive. These difficulties ultimately delay publishing, costing your organization more time and adding to AEM’s already hefty price tag.
AEM Has a Very Inconsistent UI
Remember when Adobe bought Marketo earlier this year? Adobe has a history of acquiring different companies and absorbing their technologies into the AEM platform. Unfortunately, while these acquisitions enhance the CMS’ capabilities, they have also led to a disjointed, inconsistent UI experience for users.
And this isn’t the only UI obstacle to overcome. Within AEM, it is impossible to accomplish all tasks with just one of their UI styles. There are currently two different ways to publish: the Classic UI and the Touch UI, designed for mobile. Each UI has its own set of pros and cons, but it’s important to know that you need to learn both in order to create and publish the full breadth of content you want. In addition, different sign-ins are often needed to access different areas of the system.
AEM Requires Heavy IT Involvement
First and foremost, your engineers can expect a complicated installation and setup for Adobe AEM. They will be required to build everything—from text boxes and templates to submit buttons and edit screens for users. The “Frankensteined” AEM system is often buggy and will be difficult to upgrade; simply put, it is not a product that you can deploy and then hand over the bulk of the responsibility to your editorial team. Expect the need for frequent maintenance and a large checklist of settings to remember. Throughout this process, Adobe does not provide adequate documentation or a developer edition on which to test.
IT involvement is also required on a day-to-day basis when making content tweaks or changes to the look and feel of the website. The AEM platform can be very hard to grasp for those without advanced HTML skills. Because the system is difficult to learn and not designed for editors, the responsibility of creating, developing, and managing the system will fall primarily in the hands of your IT team.
Bottom line: If your organization does not have a well-established, senior development team or you want your editorial team to be the main stakeholders of the platform, you should consider a different option.
AEM Has a Rigid Structure
Adding to the need for heavy IT involvement is AEM’s rigid structure. When working in the platform, you are forced to publish within the confines of the Adobe publishing paradigm. Can you customize the system to follow your business processes? Yes, but configuring your system to be customized in this way comes at a steep cost.
Not only does the rigidity of the platform make building and launching new experiences difficult, but the folder-based structure can be challenging to navigate. Unless you know exactly where you saved something, searching for a particular item is time-consuming. Also, it’s important to note that Adobe comes with fewer than a dozen integrations out of the box, so anticipate some challenges with integrating the system into your current tech stack.
AEM Is Integrator Dependent
To deploy AEM, a third-party implementation partner is needed. These implementation partners have no direct access to Adobe, and the implementation process and setup of your system will be heavily dependent on the quality of the vendor you choose. Ultimately, you’ll never be able to go to the source of your software to address bugs and other issues. This increases the maintenance cost and makes you reliant on a single, third-party partner, making it difficult to switch if problems arise.
The Brightspot Difference
Unlike AEM, Brightspot was built to delight editors and empower developers. With best-in-class editorial tools and robust admin features, Brightspot allows your editorial team to create and publish timely, relevant content faster and more easily than ever before. Here are some of the highlights of the Brightspot platform:
- An incredibly flexible, lightweight foundation that can be tailored to the way you publish, enabling creators to quickly distribute content to every channel without the need for IT
- A highly personalized dashboard and streamlined user interface that make it possible to publish with less than 10 minutes of training
- Robust federated search, core to the Brightspot platform, which increases the discoverability of your content and makes it easy to locate any asset
- An API-first approach to CMS architecture, with more than 200 integrations out of the box
- Customizable drag-and-drop workflows that can be tailored to the way you do business
- A large in-house services department, with direct access to Brightspot’s developers and implementation teams
We’ve replatformed countless clients off of Adobe AEM, including Amazon and Sotheby’s. Request a demo today and find out how you can replatform quickly and drastically improve your overall content management experience with the Brightspot CMS.