Kentico EMS & Kentico Kontent - a match made in content heaven?

Written by Ilesh Mistry
April 8th 2020

8 minute read

As many of you will be aware, Kentico released a new pricing model at the start of this year, restructuring their long-standing pricing model for the modern age. Alongside the traditional perpetual licence, this new pricing model introduces the concept of a Kentico EMS/DXP subscription. The subscription offers an intriguing new element – as well as Kentico EMS, you also get a subscription to Kentico Kontent (CaaS).

These are two very different products and you might be thinking how can both products work together? And why would you want to use them together? 

It’s an interesting question and trust me there are use cases for this scenario. In this blog post, I’m going to explain how they could work seamlessly together.  

Two separate products
Before we dive into how these products can work together, let’s first remind ourselves of what these products are.

Kentico EMS/DXP

This is what we would typically term a “traditional web content management system” (or in the new world, a digital experience platform). It's the all-in-one DXP solution providing a complete digital experience which offers marketing capabilities (A/B Testing, Personalisation, Conversions etc) alongside the content management facilities, ecommerce modules and forms.

Kentico Kontent

This is the Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) Headless CMS from Kentico. It's an API first CMS that focuses on the creation, management and delivery of content. It’s designed to work in the modern, fluid, flexible architectures alongside other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications which are becoming increasingly prevalent. 

While these are two discrete products, there is a connection between the two. You can see in this article that Kentico Kontent have already created a method for passing content from EMS/DXP to Kontent. It is possible (although it needs work) to pass content back the other way. 


So, the technology is there to connect the two products but there’s still the lingering question of why you would choose to do it.

It’s very difficult to assign each product to a specific kind of digital project. There are so many factors to consider that the lines become blurred. What is clear is that Kontent is specifically designed for omni-channel experiences whereas EMS/DXP is still primarily geared towards web. This in itself offers a hint at the potential use case. 

The way I see it, is that Kontent is essentially used to for adding and managing content. It doesn't have the ability to manage user accounts, forms functionality, site search, etc as its main purpose is to serve and manage content. Should you require any non-content functionality, you would most likely need to look into third party platforms. And as you can imagine, there are features Kontent lacks that Kentico EMS have out of the box.

Think first

Our starting point is to take a step back. Technology is an enabler and not the driver. If you’re going to get the best out of EMS/DXP and Kontent working in partnership, you need to think about your users. 
I boil it down to three questions:

  • What are your customer touchpoints currently?
  • How do your customers want to interact with you?
  • What content are you using on each channel?

Assuming that you have the answers to the above, you should be able to articulate your user experience through an experience map and my guess is that you will see that you’re no longer living in a world where customers deal with you on one channel. In addition, external influences are forcing you to be more efficient in how you utilise resources. The likelihood is that you are duplicating efforts on content and delivering content to different channels (website, email, social, app, etc.) ad-hoc with potential for content to be out of sync. Content friction is likely to be a big factor, which is where Kentico Kontent comes in to help resolve it.  

The content hub

That thought process should highlight the need for a “content hub”. You need to interact with users on multiple channels and this necessitates a specific pattern. 

Kentico Kontent becomes your content hub. Build out your content irrespective of channel or medium knowing full well that content can be surfaced out in different configurations. 

The traditional website
This leaves you free to use EMS/DXP to power your main website. Necessary content can be drawn in from Kontent to populate content types in the tree, rearrange items in the tree how you wish and you can then leverage the features of EMS that enable you to engage your users – whether that be through content, online marketing, email marketing, etc. 

Depending on your architecture, you can leverage the user functionality within EMS/DXP to allow you to set up user membership on a website to store user account information, notification area and preferences. 

In parallel, you can use the forms functionality within EMS/DXP to capture data, perhaps to capture micro-consents or provide access to a gated resource. Once the data is captured you can incorporate a third-party email client like SendGrid and then be able to send the emails from EMS/DXP.

All the while, you can track user activities across your website, assigning points and segmenting based on behaviours and interests, before serving your pièce de résistance, personalised and targeted content.
As you can see, we can deliver the basics from Kontent and then maximise the potential of EMS/DXP to deliver a stunning website.

The main enterprise website was, for many years, the sole channel for most companies, but that has long since changed. With Kentico Kontent acting as your content hub, you are primed to deliver content out to a wide range of channels. 

For smart phone applications, chat bots, voice assistants, smart watch applications and many more, you can avoid reliance on a weighty and unnecessary traditional CMS and instead use the languages and software that are perfect for them. But at the same time, the same content (albeit in different forms and structures) is being pushed out to these channels, removing content friction and giving you a consistent voice across your touch points. 

And, we don’t just have to rely on EMS/DXP to serve up our websites. There are always use cases where you have smaller marketing sites or microsites that are stuffed full of content but require little in the way of features. Why use an enterprise web content management system when you can leverage the awesome GatsbyJS, a little framework you know I have a soft spot for, to deliver blazing fast websites, consuming the content that’s needed from your trusty content hub. 

(On a side note, if you're looking to get started with Gatsby and Kentico Kontent, you can check out some of the blog posts I've written from the MMT Tech Meet-ups in London.) 

Final thoughts
Following a pricing model change from Kentico, we can see some of the benefits of their dual rail strategy and how Kontent and EMS/DXP benefit each other. I've provided a potential scenario of how Kentico Kontent and Kentico EMS could work together, making sure that the one true source of content is Kentico Kontent. 

It's important to note that the suggestions I've provided do not overrule a client who may have agreements and plans in place with third-party specialist platforms, where the architecture would need to be expanded to fully satisfy the client requirements. It's important to treat each client and their requirements individually and make the appropriate technical and business decisions according to their specifications.

As Kentico’s leading European gold partner and the UK’s number 1 Kentico Kontent premium partner, we can help you in your decision-making process. If you’d like to discuss things with myself or one of our team of experts, email hello@mmtdigital.co.uk and we can set up a call. 

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