How much do ECM solutions cost?

15 09 2009

Now this is a question isn’t it? I often get asked how much something would cost, and to be honest, the two most frequent areas I get asked this about are ECM solutions, or websites. No matter how many times I get asked this, it’s always hard to say, ‘Well it depends on your requirements, what you want to achieve’ as I often find a blank face looking back at me. Sometimes followed by, ‘Come on, a ball park figure’

Let’s talk price

Like all software solutions you get a wide variety of prices, with price often being linked to the amount of functionality that solution offers. However, ECM can be a little more tricky, as vendors often look at the amount of content you want to store and the amount of users who will be accessing this content. Traditionally this has lead to a ‘dedicated licensing’ approach. What this means is that you pay for your server license and in essence the platform. On-top of this price you will find a ‘volume’ license cost, based on the amount of usage the system will get (content to be stored). You will then pay a license for each individual user that then uses the system. This is only if you are using out of the box solutions too. If not, you will have to fork out for whatever professional services / consultancy / development (though often termed configuration) work you will need. Then each year, you pay a fee based on all of this (typically around 20-25% of your total outlay) in order for you to operate with valid licenses and receive full support and maintenance…

I can hear some people saying now ‘So tell me the price of a server’. Again, depends on your vendor and the platform you choose, however smaller solutions can start around a couple of thousand pounds, with larger more complex and enterprise spanning platforms costing tens of thousands of pounds.

Other price options

My own company provides an ECM platform, however our licensing is a little different. We do have a server based license, which does take into account volume. This license is required to be renewed every year. However you don’t pay anything additional for support and maintenance, no matter how much professional services you required to set up the system. We also only operate a ‘concurrent’ user license model, which means for every 10 users you may have you only purchase one user license. Why? Well it’s simple, our system is thin client, and we disconnect users when they are not using the system, effectively saving you licenses and logins…(Nice of us really).

Many other ECM platforms and vendors offer you similar services / pricing models, so its always worth talking to them and negotiating just what you can get for your money…

It’s expensive…

Well you might be thinking it is expensive to invest in ECM, however, you have to look at the savings a good ECM platform delivers you, year on year. Once you do, you will see they really are systems that are worth every penny. ECM savings / benefits is something I have written a number of posts on, and if you are thinking just what are the benefits and savings an ECM solution can provide, I suggest you spend a little while reading some of the posts available from the following link:



One response

18 09 2009
Gergely Orosz

I agree that it is hard to estimate the cost of an ECM system. The company I work for, Sense/Net offers either an unsupported open source version of its ECMS, a version with support for a price based on number of servers or can contract to customize the solution – this part is negotiable.

Even though it’s not easy to say any numbers because of the many factors, I think the basic license costs of the ECMs are a good point to start from (note that the list contains lots of CMSes not suitable for enterprises):

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