The Benefits of Open-Source Content Management Systems

By Laura Gousha, VP of Engagement at Mindgrub, an award-winning agency and consultancy on a mission to create technology that people love to use

Open-source software is software that is available to the public free of charge and has source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance. Its counterpart is proprietary software, software with source code that can only be accessed and maintained by those who created it.

While there are open source options to fit every need, from payment systems to transmission monitoring, open source content management systems (CMS) are particularly promising for customer-facing utility websites and should be considered when vetting options.

Why? A content management system is an application that assists in managing web content, as it allows multiple users to write, edit and publish content. An open source CMS solution allows the utility to take full control of their communications. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits below.

See open source in action: check out this case study: New Braunfels Utilities

Benefits of an Open Source CMS

  • Lower total cost of ownership
    • There are no ongoing licensing fees with open source CMS. An open source CMS can be much more cost-effective than a proprietary platform, particularly if your utility has multiple sites.
  • Full content ownership control
    • You can quickly spin up new web pages and additional features, which you cannot do when relying on a third party.
  • Enhanced customization
    • Open source breeds innovation. There are thousands of available plugins to support functionality that can scale your site and offer customers new features.
  • Large developer community
    • Open source platforms are supported by robust communities. As a result, there is a much greater chance that security vulnerabilities will be discovered by the community and quickly resolved. Think of it like having a support team of thousands.
  • Gain independence from a third-party
    • What would happen if your proprietary CMS supplier decides to discontinue support, raise costs, or not perform a needed customization?

Top CMS Options

Though there are many choices for open source CMS software, WordPress and Drupal are the most popular options.

Drupal is optimized for security and contains strong multilingual support, but has a higher learning curve for admins and content authors. WordPress is great for content-heavy websites, has a large developer community, and is economical, but lacks some of the robust features that Drupal offers.

To determine which platform is right for your organization, you’ll want to carefully evaluate your utility’s needs. Not sure where to begin? Our team has a wealth of experience in the utilities sector and we are ready to help. Drop us a line!

Laura specializes in hands-on strategic consultation. As VP of Engagement at Mindgrub, she provides direction for key utility accounts including Exelon, Entergy, and LG&E KU. Connect with Laura on Linkedin or at lgousha@mindgrub.com.

Thanks for your interest!

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