Total cost of CMS ownership whitepaper cover

Infographic: Guide to the total cost of CMS ownership

The cost landscape of content management systems (CMS) varies depending on the architecture or type you adopt. Ultimately, the total cost of ownership is a balance of predictable expenses, managed services and investment in innovation. In this infographic, we pulled out key data from our complete CMS guide, commissioned by Winterberry Group, to help you understand the drivers and evolving nature of these costs.*

Let’s dive in.

* Source: 150 U.S. decision makers surveyed via commissioned Winterberry Group Survey (2023)
Total cost of CMS ownership datapoint: Current annual CMS costs
Current annual CMS costs
Survey respondents were asked about their current annual CMS costs. Of those willing to disclose their costs, 41% spend over $100k per year and 55% spend between $50–100k per year.
Regardless of current CMS costs, the large majority of decision makers are anticipating content-related spend to increase in the next year.
Total cost of CMS ownership datapoint: Budget increases
Total cost of CMS ownership datapoint: Top CMS costs
Top 3 CMS costs
Across the board, organizations identify data security and compliance, development and maintenance as the primary cost categories associated with their chosen CMS (regardless of CMS type).

Most significant CMS costs

Below is a breakdown of how respondents ranked all CMS cost categories (including the top three mentioned above).
Total cost of CMS ownership datapoint: Most significant CMS costs

Costs by architecture type

While several cost considerations remain consistent across all CMS platforms—like development, maintenance and implementation—others assume a more prominent role based on the platform or architecture type chosen.
Total cost of CMS ownership datapoint: Costs by architecture type

Primary CMS cost drivers change over time

While certain costs remain relatively stable throughout the CMS lifecycle, some cost drivers are prone to change over time. You’ll want to evaluate both the technical infrastructure demands and the resource prerequisites of your business when choosing a CMS, since these factors have substantial influence on your associated costs.
Total cost of CMS ownership datapoint: Primary CMS cost drivers in first 6 months
First 6 months
During the initial stage of implementing a CMS, a significant portion of the budget is allocated to setting up and configuring the system according to the organization's requirements. This cost drops significantly with time.

Total cost of CMS ownership datapoint: Primary CMS cost drivers in year one
6 months to 1 year
As the CMS settles into the organization's workflow, the focus shifts towards further development and customization. This includes hiring developers or agencies to create custom features, functionality or integrations tailored to the organization's specific needs.

Following initial implementation, organizations also start allocating more resources towards marketing efforts related to the CMS, such as creating content or campaigns and optimizing SEO.

Total cost of CMS ownership datapoint: Primary CMS cost drivers over 1-3 years
1 to 3 years
Ensuring data security and compliance continues to be a priority as regulations evolve and cyber threats persist. Organizations invest in maintaining a secure CMS environment and adapting to any new compliance requirements.

Total cost of CMS ownership datapoint: Primary CMS cost drivers after first 3 years
3+ years
As the CMS continues to be used over an extended period, ongoing maintenance and support become even more critical to ensure the system remains stable, secure and compatible with evolving technologies.
Dive into the rest of our complete CMS guide to learn what it takes to choose a content management system that future-proofs your business. Get real-life examples and insights from industry experts around the importance of omnichannel content support, AI-powered content creation and data-driven personalization.

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