Upgrading to Optimizely Content Cloud (CMS) 12 Offers Key First-Mover Advantages

By: David Boland

Two people in a conference room at computers



Continuing to streamline and evolve its many digital innovation products, Optimizely has made a major change to its cornerstone content management system (CMS), inviting customers to take a leap into the future.

With the latest version of its CMS tool, called Content Cloud 12, Optimizely is leaving behind the .NET Framework on which all of Episerver’s CMS releases were built before the two companies merged. To move onto Content Cloud 12, Optimizely customers will have to make a major upgrade to the newer . NET platform. Is this undertaking worth it? Based on what our Nansen team has learned from our work with Optimizely and some early implementations of Content Cloud 12 with our clients, our answer is yes.

Upgrading to Optimizely Content Cloud 12 delivers a whole host of benefits, most of which spring from its use of the open-source .NET platform (formerly known as .NET Core). First introduced by Microsoft in 2014 to host apps that could run on any platform, not just Windows, .NET is cross-platform and built on a high-performance runtime.

For Optimizely customers, using a CMS that runs on .NET rather than .NET Framework creates opportunities for platform consolidation, cost savings, performance improvements and enhanced talent acquisition capabilities. It also sets them up for faster time-to-innovation in the future.

Platform consolidation and cost savings

Some IT organizations rely heavily on Windows and other Microsoft products. But for the many companies that do not, the ability to run their CMS via Optimizely Content Cloud on non-Windows platforms introduces greater flexibility to their tech-stack choices, creating some immense advantages.

If an Optimizely customer hosts some of their tech stack on, say, Linux or Amazon Web Services (AWS), they can now consolidate their platforms by moving the .NET-based CMS 12 off of Microsoft. This not only simplifies the running of the IT organization and tech infrastructure, it can also lead to cost savings. Microsoft and Windows are excellent products, but they are often more expensive than competitors like Linux and AWS. Cutting the cost of a Windows-hosted CMS can make a big difference in many companies’ budgets.

Performance improvements

One of the key tangible benefits that Optimizely CMS 12 and .NET deliver for customers is improvements in server response times and expanded request handling capabilities. According to Optimizely, site speed is up 4X among customers using CMS 12, and servers are handling 3X the number of requests even as performance is improving.

At Nansen, we’ve seen the significant gains that can be achieved by upgrading to CMS 12 firsthand. We worked with one of our clients to make the move to .NET in May 2022. Following the deployment, this brand saw an remarkable 90% reduction in their average web transaction times.

Given the indisputable impact of strong server performance on conversion rate and platform scalability, the improvements delivered by Content Cloud 12 and .NET cannot be ignored.

Talent acquisition and developer community

As mentioned above, .NET (or .NET Core) has already been around for eight years. This means that tons of new developers have been learning on this platform for some time, in addition to the seasoned tech pros who have embraced it in addition to .NET Framework.

The newer .NET platform, being open-source, also has strong community support, making it more appealing to the many developers who enjoy technical collaboration and co-creation.

The war for technical talent is raging in every industry. Companies must consider the advantage they’ll gain in attracting and retaining talent by upgrading their tech stack to apps like Content Cloud 12 that use .NET.

Future-proofing and decreased time-to-innovation

We’ve mentioned several tangible and short-term benefits that upgrading to Content Cloud 12 can deliver to Optimizely customers. There are also some critical long-term factors to consider.

First of all, all Optimizely CMS releases moving forward will run on .NET. Although we expect that .NET Framework and the apps that use it will continue to be supported for the foreseeable future, Optimizely customers who do not upgrade to .NET will not be able to use new versions of its powerful Content Cloud.

Relatedly, with new CMS releases tend to come new, exciting features. Moving forward, most of the Optimizely Content Cloud’s latest-and-greatest features will be built for CMS 12 and .NET. Trying to retrofit these features into prior CMS versions will probably be tricky and buggy at best, and totally incompatible at worst.

At Nansen, we believe in helping our clients delight today’s customers while preparing for those of tomorrow. Brands that share this mission with us should be thinking about “future-proofing” their tech stack by taking the leap to .NET apps sooner than later. This will not only save money in the long run, but will also empower customers to act quickly and embrace new innovation-focused features in the future.

To learn more about Optimizely Content Cloud 12, reach out to us to schedule a demo today.