CMS tools acquired through service providers typically offer functionality code within a variety of applications. For example, a CMS service provider might include a robust calendar in its package, whereas for you to program the same calendar using Drupal could be so costly, you may just decide to do without it.
Some CMS service providers have designed tools for specific industries that let you avoid a lot of programming hassle and give you functions you can use right away. CMS tools with event-registration and donation modules are prefect for not-for-profit organizations. A CMS application for law firms may have built-in tools for attorney profile pages and article-publishing.
The CMS applications I've researched for Hudson Fusion clients include some really nice features that deliver functionality you might miss out on if you had to program your own website with an open source CMS. These features include:
- Online payments and event-registration
- Multiple calendars with searchable content
- E-mail newsletters with the ability to manage subscribers and distribute directly from the CMS
- Archives of articles, newsletters, etc.
- Social networking modules that send content to friends and post to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Members-only areas with password-protected content
- Searchable information databases
- Ability to print pages as PDF's or have print-friendly versions of all pages
- Specific-author control over restricted areas of the site
For companies and organizations that don’t want to do a lot of “back-end” work and don’t mind spending a little money each month for the service, using a CMS through a service provider is a smart idea. You’ll be up and running fast and be able to use your web development firm to fine-tune and customize your web application so your unique brand shows up everywhere.