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Multi-tenant CMS: why enterprises need it and how to select one

Managing dozens or even hundreds of websites can be made easier with a multi-tenant CMS. Learn why enterprises need them and how to choose one that will meet their needs.
Jing Li

Written by Jing Li

Apr 27, 2023
Multi-tenant CMS: Why enterprises need it and how to select one

Managing tens or sometimes hundreds of websites can be a nightmare for any enterprise. It often forces these businesses to rely on multiple content management systems to help them do it.

Unfortunately, this can lead to too many tools to manage and more maintenance and security costs to worry about.

The solution? A multi-tenant CMS.

#What is a multi-tenant CMS?

A multi-tenant CMS is a content management system with a single software instance that can serve multiple web properties or tenants. Even though they are all managed using the same instance, each tenant can have its own data, infrastructure, and other configurations separated from the others. For example, each tenant could have a unique website or application with its own content, user accounts, settings, and workflows that don’t interfere with the others.

#Why enterprises need a multi-tenant CMS

Global and regional enterprises can use a multi-tenant CMS to manage multiple brands in the backend under one umbrella. It allows them to create and manage multiple sites, different subsites and brand sites, localized sites, and any other content applications they need without adopting multiple CMSs.

With a multi-tenant CMS, businesses can manage multiple brands in the backend, with unique roles and permissions and providing separate views for different stakeholders. For example, a large retail bank with branches nationwide can use a multi-tenant CMS to create individual tenants for branches A, B, and C.

Each branch can manage content, products, and services without interfering with the other branches. They can then assign different roles and permissions to each tenant, such as branch managers, customer service representatives, and marketing teams, and provide them with separate views for managing their own content, products, and services.

Graphic_ Single Tenancy vs Multi Tenancy.png

Read More: Multi-Tenancy: What is it and Why Do You Need a Multi-Tenant Architecture?

#Why you should consider a multi-tenant CMS

A multi-tenant CMS offers all of the benefits of multi-tenant architecture. However, businesses that aren’t currently using a multi-tenant CMS should consider one for a few reasons:

1. Avoid multiple CMSs

By using a multi-tenant CMS, you can avoid the issues that can crop up when juggling multiple CMSs, such as increased hosting, maintenance, and security costs. Managing multiple CMSs can also lead to inconsistencies in branding and the user experience across websites and content channels. With a multi-tenant CMS, you can ensure consistency across all channels while allowing customization to meet individual needs.

2. Improve scalability

A multi-tenant CMS can quickly scale to accommodate new tenants or users, as each tenant is isolated from the others and doesn’t affect the performance of the overall system. With the ability to scale up or down based on the demand from tenants, organizations can make adjustments based on traffic or usage without impacting performance negatively or incurring additional costs.

3. Decrease TCO

Enterprises can decrease their total cost of ownership (TCO) with a multi-tenant CMS. Having to manage multiple CMSs can get expensive. However, by sharing resources such as servers, storage, and bandwidth, organizations can optimize resource usage and reduce costs as multiple websites and brands can be managed under one instance.

4. Create a content hub

A multi-tenant CMS enables you to create a content hub to manage all content assets. Global organizations can manage campaigns that span multiple markets, regions, and brands without internal marketing teams having to create new content assets each time.

With the multi-tenant CMS, marketers can create content once and reuse it across different brands and touchpoints. This also means that updates to content are much easier. That content hub also makes it easier to launch localized websites and campaigns to better appeal to different audiences.

5. Improve collaboration

With a multi-tenant CMS, teams operating within an enterprise can collaborate better. When marketers and developers work in different CMSs, it can create duplicate content and content silos. However, a multi-tenant CMS solves these issues by allowing them to communicate with each other before and during campaigns so that everyone knows where content lives and what stage it is at.

6. Improve developer productivity

Managing multiple CMS instances can waste valuable time for your developers and IT operations staff, particularly when launching new features or performing upgrades, as each CMS instance needs to be upgraded individually. However, with a multi-tenant CMS, developers can perform one upgrade to the central CMS, freeing them up to perform other revenue-generating tasks.

#How to choose a multi-tenant CMS

Organizations considering a multi-tenant CMS should look for a few specific characteristics to get the most out of their investment.

MACH architecture

For multi-tenancy to be effective, your CMS must have the proper foundation. A CMS that follows the principles of MACH architecture (microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless) is essential for that foundation.

A microservices-based infrastructure enables different components that make up a tech stack to operate on their own. Developers can deploy and change components as they see fit to ensure the best solution for the business.The headless capabilities are also crucial for multi-tenancy as they allow content to be reused across multiple sites and applications, enabling brands to achieve omnichannel content delivery.

Roles & permissions

Having roles and permissions is necessary for large enterprises managing multiple sites and hundreds of employees who need to access the CMS. Roles and permissions enable administrators to grant or restrict access to specific features, content, and functionality based on the user’s responsibilities. It also makes it easier to onboard new users for specific tasks.

Workflows and collaboration tools

A multi-tenant CMS needs to have robust workflow and collaboration features to ensure smooth and efficient content management. This helps teams improve their quality control, streamline the flow of content through multiple stages and reduce the risk of errors, which can happen when coordinating global campaigns that span multiple teams and brands.

User-friendly content authoring

Companies selecting a multi-tenant CMS should also ensure their content authors can access user-friendly features. The CMS should make it easier for them to create and edit content without constantly asking developers for help changing the website.

Enterprise security and governance features

With multiple users co-existing in the CMS, enterprise-grade security and governance features are necessary for a multi-tenant CMS. These features help to ensure data privacy and limit unauthorized access. Plus, it allows organizations to maintain adherence to data compliance regulations that, if breached, can lead to severe fines and penalties.

#How does multi-tenancy solve challenges for leading enterprises

A multi-tenant CMS can help solve numerous business challenges, providing cost savings, greater economies of scale, and a centralized location for handling all content management needs.

Hygraph, for example, is a next-generation content management platform that enables enterprises to solve their multi-tenancy challenges and provides all of the features required of a modern CMS.

  • Enterprise headless content management: Empower marketers and developers to create content-rich applications for any device or channel. Engineering teams can build API-first solutions using their preferred frameworks and technologies. At the same time, content creators can structure content as they see fit, localizing it for different audiences and achieving the full benefits of multi-tenancy.

  • Roles and permissions: Administrators can easily create custom roles to control what content and data users can access, ensuring appropriate permissions and easier workflows for larger enterprises managing multiple sites and content assets.

  • Security and governance: Hygraph provides governance control features such as SSO, write-access permissions, audit logs, and content versioning, enabling teams of all sizes to collaborate in a secure, efficient, and regulation-compliant manner. With SOC2 and GDPR compliance and being based on ISO27001-certified infrastructure, enterprises can trust that their data will remain safe.

#How companies leverage Hygraph’s multi-tenant capabilities

One of the world’s largest gamer events, gamescon wanted a way to manage content from 200+ contributors while providing granular and condition-based permissions and handling expected traffic spikes. They used Hygraph for its multi-tenant capabilities, granular permissions, unique authoring experience, and robust infrastructure. Thanks to Hygraph, the largest online gaming convention in the world was a success.

Consumer healthcare enterprise Vision Healthcare needed a multi-tenant CMS to manage its multiple brands. They were looking for a new content system that integrated with their existing technology stack and supported composability while delivering a modern website that would allow them to outperform their eCommerce competitors. Hygraph’s multi-tenant capabilities and intuitive UI helped them to achieve that and much more.

With the GraphQL-native, API-first approach, Hygraph removes traditional content management pain points and takes the idea of a headless CMS to the next level. Hygraph integrates with any frontend technology, such as React, Vue, and Svelte. Request a demo and see how Hygraph can help you transform your digital projects.

The Complete Guide on CMS Multi-Tenancy

Learn how to unlock the full potential of multi-tenant CMS solutions.

Download the guide

Blog Author

Jing Li

Jing Li

Jing is the Content Marketing Manager at Hygraph. Besides telling compelling stories, Jing enjoys dining out and catching occasional waves on the ocean.

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