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Highspot is a cloud-based sales enablement platform catering to sales and marketing teams. It is suited for businesses of all sizes across a variety of industries. In Highspot, users can browse and search content by many different... Read More
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Founded in 2012, Qordoba is a cloud-based content management solution for midsize businesses and large enterprises. With this system, users can efficiently and deploy content without using professional engineers. Qordoba enables users... Read More
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Onehub is a cloud-based document management system tool that helps users securely store and share their business files. It can be customized to meet users' specific requirements and custom branding needs. Users can drag-and-drop documents... Read More
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Workfront (formerly AtTask) is a cloud-based project management solution that helps teams  to prioritize, route, manage and report on their work. It is suitable for businesses of any size and industry including IT, architecture and... Read More
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IntelligenceBank offers a comprehensive approach to Content Management suitable for many companies. These web-based solutions are designed to be easy to use, and a free trial allows users to test drive the system.
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FileHold Document Management

FileHold Enterprise is a document management solution that helps large organizations to transition to a paperless work environment. FileHold can be installed on premise or on a secure private or public cloud. Features include: multi... Read More
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PolicyTech is a policy and procedure management solution from NAVEX Global suitable for all industries including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, retail, government, energy and law enforcement. PolicyTech offers tools... Read More
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M-Files is a content management tool that helps users organize, manage and track documents and information. The solution is suitable for small and large businesses in multiple industries. On-premise, cloud-based and hybrid deployments... Read More
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Content Central by Ademero

Content Central is a document management software that helps companies to sort and store documents. The software has a multi- deployment option and is available as a Software-as-a Service (SaaS) model or can be hosted on premise. The... Read More
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Apparound CPQ

Apparound CPQ provides a CPQ (configure price quote) module that helps sales teams create quotes without errors, engage customers in the sales meetings and simplify sales management. Apparound solution is designed to improve the speed... Read More
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Contract Logix Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM)

Contract Logix Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software is a modular contract management solution. It offers features such as workflow automation tools, electronic document repository, advanced search options, contract creation... Read More
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Founded in 2001, eFileCabinet is an online document management software (DMS) that is used by companies of all sizes and in a wide range of industries such as accounting/financial services, manufacturing, and healthcare. The solution... Read More
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Document Locator

Document Locator is enterprise document management software that is uniquely integrated into Microsoft Windows. The platform is integrated with Microsoft Office and other business applications, and works directly inside of Windows... Read More
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Box is a cloud content management platform for companies of all sizes and industries. It offers security and controls for admins as well as sharing and collaboration capabilities for end users across the globe. The Box platform allows... Read More
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Asset Bank

Asset Bank is digital asset management software that can be deployed either on-premise or in the cloud. The solution is suitable for the needs of large organizations. Asset Bank enables users to share and manage all digital assets... Read More
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Centralpoint by Oxcyon is a content management solution that can be installed on-premise or accessed on the cloud from any mobile device with an internet connection.The modular applications can be deployed in a configuration that suits... Read More
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Contentverse is a cloud-based content management system designed to work on desktop and mobile devices. It is suitable for large and midsize businesses in all industries and allows users to upload, store and edit documents, search... Read More
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DocStar Enterprise Content Management

DocStar Enterprise Content Management serves large and midsize businesses across all industries and provides tools to upload, store and share documents in a variety of formats. Cloud-based and on-premise versions of the software are... Read More
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CaptureFast is a cloud-based content management system (CMS) that is suitable for businesses in a variety of industries. Key features include document capture and image processing. A mobile app is also available for Android and iOS... Read More
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ContractSafe is a cloud-based content management system (CMS) suitable for businesses of any size. Key features include document management, contract management, key date alerts, permissions and reporting and analytics. ContractSafe... Read More
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FileCloud is a cloud-based file sharing and sync system that allows users to access and sync business data from any device. It offers file sharing, backup, remote access and sync. Users can access files via web browser, browser add-on,... Read More
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Libris by PhotoShelter is a cloud-based digital asset managemnt solution for businesses in many industries. Users can upload, organize and share digital assets such as photos, videos and more, with no limit on asset size. Users can... Read More
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Exact Macola

Exact Macola includes over 20 modules to assist with manufacturing, distribution and accounting, including PLM, AP/AR, MRP, MES and more. Additional EDI and e-commerce functionality is available from Exact.
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Solaris Imaging Pro

Solaris by Solaris, LLC is a convenient, cost-effective solution for physician practices and hospitals that need a method of storing all their medical records and charts electronically. Staff will be responsible for uploading these... Read More
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PinPoint Document Management

For over 10 years, LSSP Corporation has been providing cutting-edge Content Management tools for businesses of all sizes, from startups to enterprise-level corporations. Their powerful web-based document management solution, PinPoint,... Read More
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WebMerge is a web-based document management system that enables users to merge data from the cloud into custom PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or PDFs. The solution can be used by businesses of any size... Read More
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Treeno DMS

Treeno is a scalable, user-friendly content management platform. Applications include standalone document and case management; integrated solutions with contract and records management are available.
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Established to solve the common problems associated with managing a business, DocSavy provides a cloud-based platform for organizing and storing documents related to business, assets, buildings, vehicles, and more. By providing a user-friendly... Read More
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IBM Enterprise Content Management

IBM Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a software suite that can capture, protect, activate, analyze and engage with content, both structured and unstructured. It is suitable for companies with more than 100 employees and is suitable... Read More
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Mi-Forms Software by Mi-Corporation

Mi-Forms by Mi-Corporation is a flexible, offline-capable mobile data capture technology. It has robust integration capabilities and is provided by a vendor with 15 years of experience in successful mobility projects. It works well... Read More
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ZenQMS is a cloud-based quality management system that provides tools for document collaboration and control. It helps businesses manage aspects of document lifecycle, allowing them to transit their workflows from manual, paper, and... Read More
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Fluix by Readdle is a cloud-based content management platform. It offers an iPad app and a server-based back end to facilitate management of documents users, file distribution and security. Fluix is a platform that helps companies... Read More
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SeamlessGov by SeamlessDocs is a full-featured forms engine and eSignature platform. The solution takes manual, paper-based processes and converts them into automated online versions. A few different modules within the SeamlessDocs... Read More
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DocMinder Document Management

Word-Tech’s DocMinder is a hosted or on-premise document management program that uses clients’ existing drives, SharePoint or file share system with their email systems to automate work related to your documents and searching. Flexible... Read More
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ViewCenter ECM Suite

ViewCenter by ICM Document Solutions is an enterprise-level content and document management system designed for businesses looking to automate and streamline the storage of their critical records. The program is web-based, allowing... Read More
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Founded in 2006, NextDocs Corporation offers content management and compliance solutions that help pharmaceutical, biotech and life sciences companies follow FDA guidelines. NextDocs can be deployed both on-premise and in the cloud. NextDocs... Read More
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Veeva Vault

Founded in 2007, Veeva Systems, Inc. offers Veeva Vault, a cloud-based content management platform with a collaboration solution focused on serving the life sciences industry. Created in 2011, this solution serves companies of all... Read More
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Founded in 1997, PaperSave is a document management solution that includes automated electronic workflows and transactions (invoices and gifts) for Microsoft Dynamics, Intacct and Blackbaud. It can be deployed on-premise or in the... Read More
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Founded in 2011, arivis AG (formerly Mission 3) offers Clireo, a content management system suited for the life sciences industry. It can be deployed both on-premise and in the cloud. Clireo's suite of solutions include eTMF (electronic... Read More
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StacksWare is a software asset management application designed to manage software installed and run on virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) machines. In many corporations, VDI software exists in a “black box,” beyond the reach... Read More
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ISEBOX is a public and media relations platform that helps companies store, manage and distribute high-quality and large file-size multimedia content. It lets companies provide a single point of contact to the media or other external... Read More
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MarketMuse is an enterprise content planning tool that helps content marketers, content creators, marketing agencies, publishers and e-commerce companies maximize the value of their online content. The system uses intelligent algorithms... Read More
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Infinit is a file-sharing platform suitable for organizations that need to share large or small quantities of files securely. It works on mobile devices, both Apple and Android, and can be installed on all major desktop and laptop... Read More
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Qorus Breeze Proposals

Qorus Breeze Proposals is a document management system (DMS) designed with marketing, sales and competitive bidding teams in mind. Its functional focus is on the creation, distribution, tracking and management of a variety of business... Read More
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Contract Insight

Contract Insight is a contract lifecycle management solution developed by CobbleStone Systems. It can be deployed either on the customer’s premises (with perpetual licensing) or in the cloud (with monthly subscription licensing). Contract... Read More
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Kiteworks by Accellion offers enterprise organizations a secure file sharing and collaboration solution that enables internal and external sharing of content without requiring a VPN. The software provides content connectors to Box,... Read More
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Dropbox is a cloud-based file sharing software system that caters to individuals and businesses of all sizes. This solution allows users to share files and send file requests to people even if they don’t have a Dropbox account.... Read More
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BlackMonk is a full-featured content management and Web-publishing platform. It is a cloud-deployed system and is sold as either a Small Business or Enterprise edition, with monthly and yearly pricing. BlackMonk’s collection of... Read More
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Bynder offers a selection of branding, marketing and digital asset management (DAM) tools for businesses of all sizes from the smallest SMB to the largest multinational enterprise. Bynder’s DAM is designed to help companies manage,... Read More
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Private Media Channel

Private Media Channel by Niche Video Media is a secure video hosting service and platform. It helps companies manage, secure and distribute their online video assets and other multimedia or digital content. Private Media Channel is... Read More
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Buyer's Guide

Content management solutions are divided between two categories: those that offer services for publishing content on a website, and those that provide infrastructure for organizing company documents. Add to this the variety of software for highly specialized workflows, such as case or contract management, and the process of selecting the right content management system (CMS) gets tricky.

This buyer’s guide is intended to make the process much more bearable. Here’s what we’ll cover:

Reviewers' Choice
What Is a Content Management System?
Common Features of a Content Management System
What Is Enterprise Content Management (ECM)?
CMS Use Case: Case Management Application
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
Best Tactics for Selecting New Software
How Is It Priced?
Recent Events You Should Know About

Reviewers' Choice

cms reviewers choice


Reviewers' Choice Products

Bloomfire Dropbox
eFileCabinet M-Files
WebMerge Workfront

Our Reviewers’ Choice list shows the five highest user-rated software solutions for CMS when adjusted for total number of reviews and recency of reviews.

If a software solution has more reviews, and more recent reviews, we value those ratings more highly than a product with fewer, older reviews. This is because is it much harder to get 100 five-star reviews than it is to get 10.

We also know that software vendors continually tweak and update their product, so we believe that more recent reviews tend to be more accurate.

To determine which products made the final cut, we looked at how users rated each solution's:

  • Overall performance,
  • Ease of use, and
  • Customer support

A solution can make the Reviewers' Choice top five in all three categories, or just one or two. All software solutions in the Reviewers' Choice have at least 10 reviews from real software users. The final products are listed in alphabetical order from left to right.

For more details on how we selected our Reviewers' Choice, read the full methodology.

What Is a Content Management System?

Content management systems are software solutions used to author, organize and store content for a business. “Content,” itself, can refer to a huge range of things: from documents for systems of record (e.g., birth certificates for a government agency) to invoices for a services company to working office documents, such as Excel spreadsheets. Moreover, “content” doesn’t just mean traditional, text-based documents—it can also refer to multimedia files, the written copy on a website or content generated on social media.

The CMS market broadly divides into two main product groups:

Web content management. First, there are CMS for websites, often specified as “Web-CMS (W-CMS).” As generally understood, a W-CMS helps create published and unpublished content within a website that is intended for public distribution. The W-CMS platform can facilitate a blog and an online store, among other types of Web-based content.

Document management. Second, there are document management systems, sometimes labeled “DMS” to distinguish them from W-CMS. A DMS deals, for the most part, with electronic or printed content that has not been created for public distribution. Some examples would be internal documents that help a company function (e.g., company reports), or client-facing documents that facilitate transactions, such as contracts and invoices.


iDatix's Scandox software for image capture and indexing

Common Features of a Content Management System

While some products in the CMS market are “integrated suites” (meaning they house multiple CMS applications all in one place), others are sold as “best-of-breed” systems (single applications). Below is a breakdown of applications that may be available either on their own, or bundled as part of a suite.

Further, since W-CMS and DMS solutions are architected to manage different types of content, they house distinct types of applications. Here are the application categories for each:

Application Categories: W-CMS

Publishing Facilitates online authoring and publishing, including features such as text editors, Web page creation modules, blogging modules and workflow management.
Ecommerce Helps you create and maintain an online store.
E-forms Helps create with transactional content, including forms for clients to complete when submitting data or conducting an online purchase.
Social networking Allows readers to interact with published content, including commenting and social sharing features.
Intranet A Web-CMS can be also used to create a private internal website for distributing content amongst employees.

Application Categories: Document Management Software

Document capture & image processing Helps you scan print documents and images and convert them into digital form.
Digital asset management Enables the upload, storage and organization of media, such as videos and photos.
Case management Helps you create documents for a business process, such as a claim, proposal, request or complaint. Workflow functions automate the process by generating forms, auto-populating fields and allowing for review and approvals.
Contract management Helps track and automate transactional content, such as mortgages, forms and commercial contracts, throughout the document life cycle.
Records management Helps with the organization, storage, movement, archiving and retrieval of company records.
Business process management Supports advanced document-tracking features targeted at high-volume, content-centric businesses. Often includes tools for workflow management and business intelligence.
Reporting & analytics Identifies and presents key insights extracted from a company’s unstructured content, including reports for government compliance.

What Is Enterprise Content Management?

Buyers searching for CMS solutions will often encounter the term “enterprise content management,” and a variety of products that fall under that umbrella. ECM is a qualifying term for CMS solutions that, in general, are designed for organizations with larger-scale needs.

There are a few ways to think of what makes a content management solution an “enterprise” tool:

Larger companies. "Enterprise" is a term often used to refer to very large companies (as opposed to SMBs, or "small to mid-sized businesses"). If a company is larger, it naturally produces a higher volume of content, and thus may require a higher degree of functionality. Conversely, “enterprise” vendors are those that have experience with, and have created systems to serve, high-volume content needs. Note, however, that an ECM solution may still be an option for smaller businesses that have a content-centric business model—especially since some ECM vendors have new pricing structures that provide a gateway for SMBs.

Company-wide scale. The term “enterprise” can refer to an organization that is structured as multiple departments that work together towards a unified business strategy. “Enterprise” content management, therefore, indicates a company-wide solution, as opposed to software designed for individual units or departments. Moreover, ECM can refer to company-wide strategies or best practices for content management.

DMS affiliation. Finally, most experts we talked to agree that “enterprise content management” is a term strongly connected to document management products; thus, enterprise content management solutions are less often affiliated with W-CMS, or website management.

Document management software demonstration video from EMC’s Documentum

CMS Use Case: Case Management Application

Let’s say you work for a large gym chain, where your company’s content is currently distributed between individual workers’ computers at local gyms, in electronic records on the company servers and in your centralized customer relationship management (CRM) system. When a customer calls to make a complaint, past interactions might be trapped in someone’s email inbox, in paper notes or only in employees' memories. Thus, even if the customer has called previously, you may have to start over each time a customer calls, which will slow issue resolution.

However, if you had case management software—a type of a document management solution—you could pull up the customer’s account and see every meeting, phone call or email exchange your team has ever had regarding that complaint. You might also see a record, such as a gym contract, attached to the case to help you decide how to proceed with the complaint in question.


An inbox in IBM Case Management Navigator

A case management system will walk an employee through a set process of dealing with a customer complaint, where at each step, they can task the next step to the most relevant employee. When a complaint is resolved, a manager or administrator can close the case. This type of software can benefit the entire company, providing ready access to reports that show key performance metrics and progress towards resolving open claims.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

To sort through the many content management systems and products that exist and start your comparison, it helps to identify yourself with one of the buyer profiles we commonly see in this market:

Upgrading from print-document processes. Many buyers are from small businesses that are evaluating a CMS for the first time. They are currently using a desktop application such as Microsoft Word, with files stored on individual desktop computers or as printed-out copies, and are looking to digitize records and modernize how the company’s documents are organized and processed. These buyers would need a starter to mid-range document management solution.

Large enterprise. Large firms tend to have multiple software systems that need to interact with the CMS, and may require extensive customizations. They may also have different departments that are already using a variety of CMS solutions, and want a global solution to replace these departmental systems. Generally, these firms are looking to ensure security, create a consistent process across the organization and conduct analyses to improve business processes. These buyers would need an enterprise content management solution.

Departmental buyers. Some buyers want to manage content only for a specific department. For instance, human resources may require a system that organizes confidential employee records and helps them onboard new employees. Meanwhile, sales teams may require applications that integrate with their customer relationship management software (e.g., Salesforce).

Highly regulated industries. Regulated industries such as banks, health care and government also have very strict guidelines for protecting sensitive documents. They also have substantial requirements around reporting. There are specialized CMS products dedicated to compliance, audit trails and reports that serve this market well.

Creating a website with greater functionality. Some buyers are looking for a Web content management system to create a website for their company for the first time, while others are searching for a system that can better leverage the Web either for online marketing or for business operations. These buyers want a user-friendly W-CMS solution that has the most up-to-date tools for engaging readers online.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Companies that adopt the right types of content management software may realize many benefits, such as:

  • Maintaining a secure documentation system, with reporting capabilities to comply with government standards.
  • Easily scanning and uploading printed documents for increased efficiency and digital recordkeeping.
  • Automating cases and claims with workflow software that keeps the process streamlined.
  • Engaging readers and clients through an interactive website.

Companies that fail to realize some of these core benefits often do so because they:

  • Select a document management system without first researching the way people currently create, share and store content to find a solution that fits best with existing practices.
  • Fail to properly train staff in the transition to implementing a new document management strategy.
  • Neglect to invest in the proper customizations and integrations that would make the content management system seamless with existing business processes.

Market Trends to Understand

As you compare content management software, it’s important to keep the following industry trends in mind:

Cloud-based CMS. The biggest trend is the movement of document management and Web content management to the cloud. While many companies may have used an on-premise company intranet for content management for some time, companies such as M-Files, Acquia and SpringCM are now offering an alternative in the form of cloud-based subscription options.

Collaboration. Today, content is often created by multiple authors—which means they need the tools to share, comment on and discuss work as they go. In the first year that Microsoft Sharepoint acquired the chat tool Yammer, for example, subscriptions for Yammer grew 55 percent, indicating that social and collaboration tools that integrate with content management solutions are becoming increasingly essential.

Compliance. The Managing Government Records Directive, signed into law in 2012 by the Obama administration, in addition to existing records regulations, may well fuel growth in the CMS market. These laws focus on banks, health and government organizations, and create strict requirements for digital recordkeeping, security and audits. Document management solutions can help highly regulated organizations in these industries comply with ever-changing government criteria and standards.

Best Tactics for Selecting New Software

Evaluating new content management software can be a daunting task—there are many variables to consider and hundreds of products from which to choose.

We recently surveyed software buyers across multiple industries to determine which tactics are most effective for selecting software. Top methods include checking vendor references, having agreements reviewed by an attorney, assessing financial viability of vendors and preparing a request for proposal (RFP).

selection quadrant

By sticking to selection tactics that fall in the "most effective" quadrant and avoiding tactics in the "least effective" quadrant, you can ensure your time is spent wisely in finding the right software.

How Is It Priced?

Content management software pricing generally falls into one of two categories:

Pricing Model Description Example
Subscription-based, or “Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)" A monthly or annual fee based on the number of users who access the system and/or the amount of storage space used. M-Files, Fabasoft, Alfresco, SpringCM, Sharepoint
Perpetual license fee A one-time, per-user or per-computer fee. Some products allow multiple users on a single license, while others require an additional license for each user. Updates, support and training may be a separate cost. ECM2 Documentum, IBM, OnBase by Hyland

Recent Events You Should Know About

Acquia named as Leader in Web Content Management Magic Quadrant. For the third consecutive year, Acquia is named by Gartner as a “Leader” in the Magic Quadrant for the Web Content Management category.

Epicor acquires content management software provider docSTAR. In January 2017, docSTAR, the New York-based provider of document management software, was acquired by ERP solutions provider Epicor. This is a move aimed at expanding Epicor’s collection of tools for digital business transformation.

BloomReach acquires Hippo to build intelligent digital experience platform. In October 2016, Commerce personalization platform maker BloomReach acquired web content management company Hippo, allowing BloomReach to offer an experience platform that uses data and algorithms to more accurately determine each visitor’s intent.