moving is easy

What CMS to Migrate to from Sharepoint

Posted 03/09/2017 by Christian Burne

If your website runs on Sharepoint, you are undoubtedly looking for a new CMS. You have have probably had Sharepoint for many years (perhaps even 10 or more), and you've looked longingly at some of the features of other web content management systems. 


In this post, I'd like to talk about some of the good and bad things about Sharepoint that you'll probably recognize and also tell you some of the features in a few other web content management systems that will resonate with you as a Sharepoint for websites user.


Things you probably like about Sharepoint:

  • More than a CMS: Sharepoint is more than a CMS. It's an enterprise collaboration platform that allows collaboration and integrates well with Microsoft Office suite of desktop applications. Sharepoint has many more features than just those of a standard CMS. 
  • Friendly UI: Sharepoint UI it's really friendly. In many cases you have more than one way to do the same thing. Creating pages, links and adding images is not difficult in Sharepoint and it looks very similar to the MS Office ribbon interface you are used to.
  • High security level: Sharepoint's security levels reach a granularity to where you can even add restrictions to a single template field according to the policy you want to apply. You don't need to worry about your site's security when using Sharepoint.
  • Easy way to export your library content: Sharepoint allows the users to export their assets in a friendly way. You can access your site's library directly from Sharepoint via Windows Explorer so you can easily create new folders and move files around.
  • You can easily recover accidentally deleted content by accessing Sharepoint's recycle bin. Accidents happen. Luckily this feature has saved me a lot of time.
  • Good for simple content editing: Sharepoint includes several pre-made templates ready for articles creation.
  • Editing in Office apps and saving directly to Sharepoint
  • Taxonomy and managed metadata: this can be really helpful for searching purposes.
  • Table creation in the WYSYWIG editor is decent.
  • Reusable web parts.
  • Inherited content types.

Things you probably don't like about Sharepoint:

  • Using Sharepoint properly as a CMS requires customizations and workarounds that take extra time. You probably noticed this when you first implemented your website or when you asked for a new feature on your site.
  • Even though Sharepoint's UI is friendly, the fact that Sharepoint is more than a CMS means that the user takes a considerable time in order to get used to it. The knowledge curve for new users or users coming from classic CMSs can be really wide.
  • As Sharepoint's security reaches a granular level, the user permissions can be difficult and confusing to manage.
  • Customizing Sharepoint is not easy at all, you will need Sharepoint experienced developers if you need customization for your sites. These developers are getting fewer in number and more expensive.
  • Sharepoint doesn't organize the site content as a typical CMS. A classic CMS organizes the site in a tree-structure, but Sharepoint's site hierarchy uses a more complex structure (this can be really confusing for new users).
  • You cannot add "child" articles to the site pages. For some reason this common practice for most CMSs is not possible in Sharepoint.
  • Sharepoint's complex method for organizing pages makes that your page name will always appear in each article's URL. So forget about having friendly URL's for your pages without applying workarounds, they always will get the .aspx extension at the end.
  • Creating a Sharepoint website requires a lot of planning and proper implementation. Other CMSs can reduce the work needed in Sharepoint.
  • Time it takes to get anything built and released is long due to the overly complex architecture of highly available Sharepoint sites.


Of course there are more good and bad things about Sharepoint than I've described above, but we are guessing these and some of your own are enough to make you look for a new CMS.  So which CMSs can we recommend? Here they are: Sitecore & Episerver.

Why do we recommend them?

Like Sharepoint, both CMSs are built with the .NET language so your IT team doesn't need to support new hardware and operating systems. Both systems are pretty easy to learn and use for both editors and developers and both systems are also very flexible and scalable (unlike Sharepoint) and integrate easily with external tools. 


Our Recomendations:

1) Sitecore

Sitecore is a friendly CMS that has evolved really well. The last version I've worked with (8.1) has been a friendly & strong tool.

Sitecore's UI is not only better looking than Sharepoint's, but it's also even friendlier. In Sharepoint you can't use the mouse's right button directly on any item or you'll end up opening the browser's options menu. Sitecore, however, enables right clicking functionality on it's UI.

Creating content and editing pages in Sitecore is really easy. The rich text editor allows the users to edit content in a really simple way. You can edit text and add images and hyperlinks in a really simple way.

Additionally Sitecore makes life easier for the developers. it is able to integrate easily with Microsoft technology as well as many third party tools. Sitecore is very widely used and so has a lot of developer/community support. This turns it into a really flexible CMS for implementing custom solutions.

Sitecore benefits:

  • Flexibility, scalability and security.
  • Less effort to learn it and understand the product (comparing to Sharepoint).
  • It is continually evolving. Nowadays it supports ASP.Net web forms and MVC.
  • Since version 6.5, Sitecore introduced Digital Marketing System (DMS), which brings user personalization based on user behaviors, personas, A/B testing and advanced analytics.
  • Integrates easily with third party tools.
  • Improved search engine optimization.
  • Integration with Microsoft technology.
  • Customization is easier in Sitecore than in Sharepoint (less effort).
  • User friendly design (more intuitive than Sharepoint).
  • Logical hierarchical structure and flexibility for content editors.
  • Less customized work for front-end development (front-end in Sharepoint requires a lot of customized work and also is restricted).

In addition to the list of things above that you loved about Sharepoint, Sitecore does those well too:

  • Sitecore provides a 'ribbon' interface for management as well. Although not as many options as are provided in Sharepoint, the options for doing most content editing are readily available and easy to identify (edit, preview, attach, insert, version control, publishing, etc.)
  • Security is granular down to the content field
  • You can access your media library using WebDAV so it appears like a folder on your desktop
  • Although there is no recycle bin, version control let's you always find older content
  • WYSYWIG editor and inline editing with the page (called Experience Editor) make editing content in the CMS extremely user friendly
  • Good for simple content editing; Sitecore includes several pre-made templates ready for articles creation.
  • Alas, there is no way to save directly from Word documents directly into Sitecore. However, for websites, this is something you really shouldn't be doing anyway given how poorly formatted Word's HTML is.
  • Unlimited ability to add unique content fields for meta-data tagging and organization which assists in SEO friendliness
  • Table editing is available in the WYSYWIG editor, but most implementations will turn them off due to the issues they create with responsive websites
  • Content and functional sublayouts can easily be reused across multiple pages
  • Data templates can be inherited easily which makes maintenance of data types easier

2) Episerver

EPiServer is a feature-rich and user friendly CMS that makes content editing a simple task. I've been working with version 9.8 and it was super easy to learn and understand from an editor perspective. It's really intuitive and easy to use. Episerver is also friendly for developers; ease of customization is an area where this CMS shines compared to other products on the market.

Flexibility is a key benefit of this CMS. Almost every aspect of Episerver is fully extendable and customizable to individual business needs. Also, this CMS has a great support community for developers, content editors, and marketers. There is a lot of valuable information that can be found on blogs or forums to help you get productive quickly with this CMS.

Episerver's simple API makes the developers work easier. It can also easily integrate with many third party systems.

Episerver benefits:

  • Notable simple and easy to use.
  • User friendly UI.
  • Ease of customization (much less effort than Sharepoint web parts)
  • Much more extensible and flexible than Sharepoint
  • Comes with great support and developers can begin to be productive quickly
  • Site speed performance
  • Editing content is really simple.
  • All in one solution; digital marketing, content management, and digital commerce
  • Content can be searched easily and added to projects by simply dragging and dropping it.
  • Can integrate with other systems and third party tools

In addition to the above, items that you love about Sharepoint are still available:

  • Flexible security system; you can secure pages to different groups anywhere in the tree hierarchy
  • Easily export your Assets Library to the file system for portability
  • There is a recycling bin so if you accidentally delete a piece of content in Sharepoint, it can be recovered
  • Content editing is excellent and very intuitive. No work is needed to make inline editing perform easily.
  • Again, there is no way to save directly from Word documents directly into Episerver. However, for websites, this is something you really shouldn't be doing anyway given how poorly formatted Word's HTML is.
  • Categories allow you to organize your content and make SEO a breeze
  • Table editing is available in the WYSYWIG editor, but most implementations will turn them off due to the issues they create with responsive websites
  • Content can be re-used in Blocks across many pages in the site
  • Content Types can be inherited using basic .NET class inheritance. This allows you to easily add new properties across all child content types with a single modification.


Both Sitecore and Episerver are great content management systems built with .NET that should be considered if you are planning to move from Sharepoint. The immediate benefits you'll see as a Sharepoint user are ease of use in content editing and day to day content management. However, the biggest benefit for moving to Sitecore and Episerver is the potential to expand your business with the more robust digital marketing technologies. Their e-commerce, digital marketing, and analytics features make them two great options for implementing future-proof enterprise sites where you can personalize, optimize and track users' behavior improving your marketing effectiveness dramatically.

Interested getting off Sharepoint fast? Request a demo of automated migration by Siteport, or contact us to learn more about Sitecore and Episerver, and if they are the right fit for you.