What costs can I aspect in the CMS sector?

When the functions of the content management system used are no longer sufficient, many companies think about a change. But what are the actual project costs for a CMS? In addition to the software costs, the implementation costs should also be considered. Often external service providers are on board. We have compiled for you, with which costs for the planning of the CMS implementation they should calculate. At the end of the article, you can download an overview of the pricing of service providers in comparison.

Everything is quite static, performance leaves a lot to be desired and the whole thing is almost bursting at the seams. Clear signs that the existing CMS no longer meets the increasing demands of the company and its customers. In many cases, it simply hasn’t grown with them. So the marketing team – usually together with the IT department – looks around for a new solution. Features, scalability and the ability to fit into the rest of the marketing technology stack play a decisive role in the selection process. Here we recommend our market overview of enterprise CMS solutions. Nevertheless, the budget question also comes up. What does a change actually cost?

Different cost factors for a new CMS

When planning the costs of a CMS change, we can basically distinguish between three types of expenditure. The software costs, the expenses for internal resources and costs for external implementation partners.

Software costs

Here you should look at what cost models the various solutions offer. Is it a subscription model where you pay monthly fees per user? Or do you receive the software for a one-time payment? What are the costs for regular updates and, if applicable, training for your employees?

Internal expenses

How time-consuming is the onboarding process until your employees have familiarized themselves with the new tool? Is there an opportunity for your employees to get certified and train other colleagues? These are important questions, but these efforts are not really avoidable.

Where you do have a lot of design freedom, however, is in the technical implementation of the CMS. Here, you should definitely get your IT department on board. Will your software simply fit into the rest of the tool setup, or will interfaces have to be built? Ultimately, you should always weigh up which tasks you want to and can take on internally. However, the basis for this weighing should not only be the pure costs. Rather, it is important to consider whether you have the necessary skillset and experience internally. As a rule, a CMS change does not take place too often. The likelihood that your colleagues can draw on a wide range of experience is rather low. Rather, some time will pass where the colleagues have to familiarize themselves with the material. This is possible, but it costs time and nerves, because many mistakes are made that are based on a lack of experience.  If you engage an external implementation partner and manage this together with the IT colleagues, the likelihood of these first-time mistakes is reduced.

External implementation partners

In our “Market Overview of CMS Implementers” (Here’s the link), we compared more than 30 service providers in great detail. There is no one right partner for all companies and all tasks. But depending on ambition and individual requirements, a selection can be made, which can then be shortlisted or checked and selected in personal contact according to one’s own preferences. For many decision-makers, three factors in particular play a decisive role here, in addition to the range of services offered by the service providers:

  1. Team fit: does not fit into any hard requirement catalog of the purchasing department, but: the chemistry must be right. Can you work well with the service provider’s acting players for the duration of the project (and, depending on the maintenance effort or continuous support, perhaps beyond)?
  2. References: Has the service provider already implemented similar projects? Or ones that could be considered as a target image of my ambitions?
  3. Costs: What cost model does the service provider offer? Does he charge 1:1 according to working time incurred or are there package prices?

Overview of cost types for download

We also compared pricing in our market overview of CMS implementers. We defined the following criteria:

Is there a minimum order volume? If so, how high is it? There are big differences here: From 0 – 300,000 EUR, everything is included.

  • What are the minimum monthly costs for maintenance/continuous support? Most providers see no or quite manageable costs here (approx. 500 EUR). However, one service provider is at 1,500 and another at 10,000 EUR per month.
  • Does the service provider charge by man-days? Almost all providers offer this mode.
  • What is the average daily rate for the service provider? There are almost no outliers here: the range is from EUR 750-1,120.
  • What is the average project volume? This important key figure provides you with a good guideline for making a price estimate. The range here is very wide, from EUR 4,000 to EUR 1,000,000. The average across all service providers is 195,300 EUR. But don’t be put off by this, because – as mentioned above – the range is wide.
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