Blog / Content Management

5 Questions Digital Agencies Might Get about Kentico EMS and Kentico Cloud


by Bryan Soltis

Oct 25, 2017

As the Headless CMS concept comes more prevalent in technology, so do the questions from the clients. On top of selling their services and skill, agencies often must educate their customers on why a Headless CMS makes sense for their project.

Without the proper know-how, this can be a tough situation for a consultant to be in. In this article, I’ll try to tackle 5 common questions you may get when pitching a Kentico Cloud solution.

Anyone that has worked for a digital agency has sat across the table and fielded questions from their clients on why they recommend a platform. Sometimes you can stick to the high level, citing price, support, and functionality. More often than not, agencies are required (with good reason) to provide a more in-depth explanation. With Kentico-related projects, this becomes a little more complicated with the introduction of Kentico Cloud into the picture. You may have already received questions about our new Headless CMS, what it can do, and how does it work with Kentico EMS. 

In this article, I’m going to cover some of the most common questions you may get around the two products. This is to help you be prepared, shed some light on some key points, and provide you a reference article you can pass along to your customers. So, let’s get to them!

Can I upgrade from Kentico EMS to Kentico Cloud?

There’s no easier sell than to a current (and hopefully satisfied) client. You’ve proven your worth to them, implemented a successful project, and maybe even sent them a gift basket or two. If your previous projects were of the Kentico-flavor, then you may get asked if they can just upgrade from Kentico EMS to Kentico Cloud? 

Your quick answer:

“No, Kentico Cloud is a completely new product and is used for different types of applications.”

What’s important in this scenario is to explain the differences in the platforms. Comparing EMS to Cloud is certainly not apples to apples, so educating on when each platform is appropriate is a big part of the discussion. For your large, fully integrated solutions that require e-commerce, online marketing, and sixteen different authentication schemes, EMS is still your best bet. For smaller, more agile projects that need to manage content for multiple channels, Kentico Cloud is your go-to tool. 

By getting the client to understand how the products differ, you should be able to explain why there isn’t a clear upgrade path from EMS to Cloud. Data, and more importantly, content is much more “agnostic” with a Headless CMS, with the intent of delivering it to nearly any device. And in the end, you probably wouldn’t WANT to upgrade, because of how their data storage and presentation options differ.

I have a Kentico EMS license. Can I use Kentico Cloud for free?

Like in the previous scenario, you will often encounter this question when you’re talking to your existing Kentico clients. Again, the problem boils down to a lack of understanding about what Kentico Cloud is (and isn’t).

Your quick answer:

“No, Kentico Cloud is a separate tool and has its own pricing model.”

From their standpoint, they may see Kentico Cloud as just add-on or enhancement to their Kentico EMS installation. While the two can certainly complement each (more on that later), it’s important to clarify that they are separate products, with their own pricing. Kentico EMS follows the traditional license model, with the client purchasing a license for their version and continuing maintenance renewals moving forward. With Kentico Cloud, it’s a pay-as-you-go model, with costs being determined by how much of the platform is in use. Because of this, billing is completely different between the two.

How does pricing differ between Kentico EMS and Kentico Cloud?

Speaking of pricing, agencies will often be asked to explain how Kentico EMS and Kentico Cloud differ. This is commonly driven by the need to forecast costs and reduce unnecessary expenses. 

Your quick answer:
“Kentico EMS follows a traditional license-based pricing model, whereas Kentico Cloud is a pay-as-you-go model.”

With Kentico EMS being around for 13+ years, its pricing model is a well-established one. Purchasing a license upfront for the platform allows companies to work it into their project budgets easily. This means there is a fixed cost, and one that makes for a nice line item on a proposal. You are (hopefully) also adding another line for on-going maintenance renewals. This yearly fee ensures their installation is eligible for important updates and upgrades, as well as access to our fantastic support channels.

With the evolution of the cloud and commoditized hardware, pricing structures are changing rapidly. Because cloud resources are often charged on a per-month (or even per-hour) basis, the same model often cascades down to cloud-hosted services. With Kentico Cloud being a completely cloud-hosted solution, this pricing structure is a good fit. Because clients can use as much or as little of the services as they need, the ability to change their monthly costs can allow them to align their budgets with their activities. They can forecast out their costs by incorporating them into their planning, which helps eliminate wasteful spending and lost revenue. 

Can I use Kentico Cloud with Kentico EMS?

One of the best parts of Kentico Cloud is its flexibility. As a platform, it allows developers and editors to manage and consume data in ways that were never possible. Also part of that flexibility is the ability to integrate it with existing systems, such as Kentico EMS.

Your quick answer:

“Absolutely! You can use Kentico Cloud's APIs to easily display content within your Kentico site.”

When we first released Kentico Cloud, we knew our existing user base would be the most likely to adopt it for their projects (again with the current customer being the easiest path). Originally designed to be a tool to help you develop content faster, Kentico Draft was a great way to have your editors get to work on their content long before the project was completed. Once the site was ready, agencies could use the Kentico Migration API to pull the replicate the data in their Kentico EMS installation.

As the product has evolved, more agencies have started making Kentico Cloud the “master” data for their applications. This allows them to leverage the cloud-based interface for managing their content, and pull it into Kentico EMS using the powerful Delivery API to display it. Some even set up automatic workflows to replicate the cloud-hosted content into Kentico EMS installation as it changes, thanks to the new webhook support.

Bonus answer:

“Kentico Cloud is about to release a new Content Management API, which will allow us to easily migrate content from Kentico EMS to Kentico Cloud.”

With the soon-to-be-released Content Management API, agencies will be able to update content in their Kentico EMS installation and have it automagically updated within Kentico Cloud. This new capability will allow for some unique implementations, catering to nearly any business and process requirements from your clients. 

Does Kentico Cloud replace Kentico EMS?

As I’ve stated previously, the differences between the two products are a key part of the discussion. The main goal is to get them to understand that these are two separate products, with different goals. 

Your quick answer:

“No, Kentico EMS is a still a great tool for your large, full-scale applications where you need e-commerce, deep integration with business systems, and other complex functionality. Kentico Cloud is geared for omnichannel delivery of content and having full control over the presentation.”

Because of the differences in the products and what they provide, there will be a need for both for quite a while. Because a Headless CMS allows you to create any presentation experience needed, it’s a great fit for content destined for multiple devices, platforms, and systems. Another great benefit is the ability to program in nearly every language, which helps companies integrate their development teams, and with other vendors on a project. 

When it comes to full-blown e-commerce and marketing sites, Kentico EMS is a great fit with its extensive out-of-the-box capabilities. Providing customizable shopping cart experiences, integration with CRMs and other platforms, as well as a slew of great content editing features, Kentico EMS is still an enterprise-class CMS for any project. And best of all, it’s got a great development community with tons of experience behind it. 

Because the focus of the projects (and their implementation) differ so much, one doesn’t replace the other. They both are great options for their respective areas. 

Moving forward

The goal of any agency should be to fit the tool to the job. Understanding the strengths of each platform will allow you to choose the right product to meet the customer’s needs. In the end, providing them with a scalable, flexible solution to their business problems is what’s important. Hopefully, this blog gave you some ideas on how to handle these (and other) questions you may get in your Kentico engagements. Good luck!