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Building a Financial Case to Move to the Cloud

How do Episerver customers financially justify a move to the Digital Experience Platform?

Episerver has created an enterprise-level Cloud offering for our Experience Platform customers called the Customer-Centric Digital Experience Platform. This was a response to the “cloud”-ification in the world of CMS and Commerce. As our customer base migrates en masse to a “cloud” state of mind for hosting and infrastructure, we understood the need to provide them with an industry-leading hosting and managing option that merges services with efficiency and optimization.

As our cloud offering checks the boxes for many customers when it comes to specific features that help them justify the move, we have traditionally seen financial considerations to be at the top of their list. This typically is because a cloud consideration is not a feature-based decision; Episerver’s CMS & Commerce offerings have a full feature list that is available on both our on-premise licensing model and our cloud offering. Cloud hosting has traditionally had infrastructure and cost implications that resonate with businesses. Most importantly:

  • Can I reduce my overhead costs?

  • Can I consolidate our contracts by spending with fewer vendors?

  • Can I take advantage of the way that Episerver’s pricing model works to make my operating expenses more ideal?


Purchasing Options

To understand this decision-making process better, we first outline the ways that Episerver can be purchased:

  1. Via Perpetual License

    To our legacy customers, we traditionally sold Episerver as a perpetual licensing model – built around paying upfront for the license key and owning that key in perpetuity. You would then pay annually for maintenance and service to Episerver as you continue to subscribe to our support team. This represents a large upfront cost to start your partnership, as well as needing to pay full-price for new license keys as you start to expand your business, which could represent additional costs.

    Note: this pricing option was recently discontinued for all new customers.

  2. Via Subscription (for on-premise customers only)

    Customers can get access to an Episerver license based on an annual subscription fee. This fee is renewed annually, but contains service access. This solution is less of a cost in initial investment, but represents a repeating cost to the business for the life of use with Episerver. It only contains the CMS access (no additional products for features available) and does not include infrastructure or any hosting costs.

  3. Via Digital Experience Platform, Episerver’s Cloud offering

    Customers have access to our Cloud offering based on a consumption model. We price the solution based on an annual total page view count to the service. This solution contains much more than the CMS cost, including:
    • Hosting Costs
    • Enterprise Search License
    • App Monitoring
    • Managed Services
    • CDN (Cloudflare)


As you can see, our cloud offering is a whole lot more than a typical cloud hosting option—it is not simply access to server space in the cloud. It is truly a service that takes the place or compliments your current infrastructure for your business. Because of this, building a financial case is best done when we understand the true comparison between your current state and what the Digital Experience Platform can bring. Are you comparing your current CMS license cost to Episerver’s Cloud offering? If this is the case, you might be missing out on many of the comparative costs that we could consolidate and eliminate when moving to the cloud offering.

How are Episerver customers currently making this case?

As we work potential cloud customers, similar questions are typically asked of our team in regards to costs:

What are the technical requirements of my CMS for using the cloud offering?

There are typically two technical factors that highly influence a move to the cloud, where some aspects could have a financial impact:

    1. CMS Version – Moving to the cloud requires having your CMS on a newer version of Episerver’s CMS (and/or Commerce) offerings because of built-in configuration/optimization and regression testing for possible breaking changes. An update of the CMS could represent investment even before you move, depending on your current version.

    2. “Cloud Readiness” – Accessing the cloud does require considerations to other applications within your site. For example, if your site accesses an internal database, is that database engineered to be able to communicate to a CMS in the cloud? Our professional services team has built (and can provide you with) a set of tests that determine a current site’s ability to move to the cloud (which can optionally be performed by your own team). Any steps needed to reconfigure your site could represent additional costs.

If I own Episerver currently, how does my license model compare to your cloud pricing?

This is the million dollars (in savings) question – If I spend X with Episerver today, what does that mean? This unfortunately is not an easy question, and requires critical thinking as to the complete costs that make up your support for your CMS. We are not simply talking about costs for site keys anymore—we are now factoring the complete infrastructure that supports your site. Before I typically show a customer pricing for the cloud, I ask of them the following questions:

    1. If you own Episerver, how much do you currently pay?
      This should include what you originally paid for your perpetual license, and how many years ago you purchased, as well as your reoccurring M&S costs.

    2. How much do you pay for hosting? 
      Many customers know this cost, but some will say they co-host with other applications, so hosting is free. I would argue there is someone in finance who pays your server and hosting costs that would disagree that hosting your CMS is free.

    3. How much are you hosting for managed services?
      Customers will outsource managed services to their sites for deployment, uptime, and management.

    4. How infrastructure in employee time/effort is committed to the site?
      This could be included in managed services costs assuming that you might staff your own resources to manage your websites.

    5. How much do you pay for search, CDN, or App Monitoring tools?
      Taking a full inventory of these “hard costs” gives a true perspective to what your CMS truly costs, and it still doesn’t even factor in key decisions like “will my company expand and need more licenses in the near future?” or “am I looking to buy or build any of the extra features that the DXP provides that we don’t currently have?”


Once a customer gets a true perspective on their current costs, their current costs reflecting possible growth, then we can truly have a comparison cost.

What are other ways that owning the DXP can reduce my costs?
Based on the page, there are other pricing considerations that can be accounted for to reduce your costs:

Episerver’s DXP allows for up to 100 sites under the same code base

Looking to build new sites in the future or to consolidate other sites into the same license? The DXP is priced on a total page view account across all your sites (under the same code base – you can purchase additional application packages if code needs to be different). This can represent a huge savings.

Lowering of infrastructure costs 

The DXP can lower your hard costs in the form of spending less on hosting. It can also lower the man-hours that your team spends to manage your site by out-sourcing daily tasks or oversight. Always factor in the scope saved by your own team to represent cost savings.

Looking to add new add-ons? The DXP bundles other products to reduce costs 

If the team is looking at some of Episerver’s add-on products in our Intelligence Cloud-like Product Recommendations, Visitor Intelligence or Marketing Automation, moving to the cloud could provide a discount on the annual licenses of these products that produce a lifetime value through a bundle.

How do I make my own case?

Are you ready to build your own financial case? I would start with the following steps:

1. Be honest about your current spend

Take an inventory of all factors and costs that go into your CMS. You need to understand all the consolidation that can happen with the cloud offering.

2. Determine your goal with your case

Are you looking to break even? Does the organization simply want to assure you are spending the same as you currently are? If this is the case, best to understand all that the DXP offers to assure all your current costs are being eliminated.

If you are looking to add value? The value of the DXP relates to how it can improve your operating efficiency. To better understand how additional costs reflect the value to your business, you’ll best have to understand how a feature like “zero downtime deployment” can improve the value to your business (possibly by determining the value of not having time where your site is not available in this case).

As financial considerations can be a huge part of your analysis, please don’t do it alone! Episerver and our premium partners like Brightfind can help with this thought process through a workshop that we can offer with your team. Reach out today.

Megan McKelvy

Topics: CMS

Written by Megan McKelvy

Megan is a skilled strategist and respected consultant with a passion for driving engagement through user-experience and visual design. She has more than 18 years of experience leading comprehensive web strategy, information architecture, visual design, and usability projects for clients both domestically and abroad. As the VP of Customer Engagement at Brightfind, Megan provides expert leadership and strategic oversight to our web solutions engagements. Holding a dual role, Megan also leads Brightfind’s business development, sales, and marketing efforts.