Organizations needed a smarter, more flexible CMS solution and a more secure, supported and faster cloud infrastructure. One that could integrate with any third-party platform and evolve into an open DXP on the bleeding edge of martech software.  We came up short finding one that checked all the boxes, so we developed ZenSource.

No CMS or hosting platform is perfect. Actually, most are far from. Proprietary platforms offer an extensive list of powerful features however the price tag can be enormous. In contrast, open source platforms offer a wide range of customizable tools with impressive flexibility and scalability at a fraction of the cost. But they can be inconsistent when delivering security, accessibility and maintenance and clients are often required to hire or re-focus their in-house development teams for support.


We started by replacing what didn't work, enhanced what worked well, then put it all together to build something no one has else done. 

Businesses and institutions struggle in deciding what path to choose for their martech platform solution. The powerful, but expensive proprietary platform or the cost-effective and flexible open source solution. If they had their druthers, technology and marketing professionals wanted the best of both worlds. It had to be something they could own and develop in house if they wanted to without being tied to an external vendor. Not to mention, it had to provide more flexibility in its features, layouts and modules to allow their digital ecosystem with their own teams. An intuitive human-centric interface was table stakes as were admin tools to make publishing far easier and more cohesive than larger, more complex, multi-layered platforms. That solution they wanted didn’t exist, so we built it.

Here's How...

We started by developing a turnkey open source Drupal distribution code base with four driving principles.

  • First, allow developers to install it at the outset of a new build to get development going faster and free up time spent on things like standard configurations and foundational modules. 
  • Second, empower developers to jump into coding their unique user experience faster, instead of sifting through endless Drupal modules and setting up configurations that should come standard. 
  • Third, create a code base with access to a vast open source community to continuously help improve it. And then we layered in a vast set of full stack accelerators, ready to be customized including page layouts, content modules, navigation, wayfinding tools and directories. 
  • Lastly, allow it to be hosted and supported anywhere, but still provide the best possible Amazon Web Services (AWS) powered hosting platform possible. 

We vetted, improved on, and developed modules for core Drupal CMS features and made the base install configurable with a highly functional authoring experience. The foundation was built on top of Drupal and future-proofed to allow ease of maintenance and Drupal version upgrades.  Moreover, we bundled the best features of the 200+ products AWS offers with external security, monitoring and HIPAA, PCI and PII data privacy tools to create a cloud designed for any industry, but also ideal for the more regulated ones. 

With 20-plus years of large-scale implementations, we were well-versed in the opportunities and limitations of existing CMS and hosting options. But for greater insight, we interviewed clients to gain a deeper understanding of their pain points and needs and used their feedback to drive our product roadmap.

Our optimized solution factors all the things they liked from existing platforms and made them work better. We looked at common pain points like cumbersome authoring and inflexible page templates and created something faster and easier. 

For IT
We created the most secure, most redundant and highest performing cloud possible with flexibility for whatever tech stack needs to be installed

For developers
Repetitive tasks were replaced with plugins and other code libraries for faster implementation and more reusability. 

For marketers
It meant delivering a flexible, easy to use authoring environment, with the ability to add any module to any page layout.  


ZenSource has a Solr powered search engine for more intuitive global site search. A system of flexible Drupal Views delivers wayfinding directories that let users create new search tools on the fly. Once complex features like CRM integrated form builders and drag and drop editing were added to be 100% content author driven without code. 

Workflow and multi-site management was developed to let organizations create multiple sites under one install while refining a granular role and permission flow to maintain control of their digital properties.

While ZenSource can be installed and maintained in any client's environment, ZenSource Cloud was developed to offer scalable, secure hosting based on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It's also compliant with CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark security standards, backed with Palo Alto's firewall protection. ZenSource automatically encrypts all data at rest using AES-256 encryption.

For even more security, it leverages AWS Key Management Service to securely encrypt webform data. AWS KMS is a secure and resilient service that uses hardware security modules that have been validated under FIPS 140-2 to protect keys. The AWS KMS API key is stored in a protected folder at the server, outside of the webroot and source code repository, to limit access to authorized individuals.


ZenSource has quickly become one of the industry’s fastest growing martech platforms, with launching over 100 applications in the past two years alone. We’ve launched best-in-class web apps of different sizes and complexity across healthcare, higher education, financial services and manufacturing verticals over this time. 

ZenSource has increased development efficiency by 50% and shortened overall project timelines as a result. Now clients are able to run with their ZenSource site to create new features and grow their content on their own.  Also, ZenSource hosted sites in practice have a near 100% uptime guarantee and proven to increase page load times by at least 20% without any additional application changes. 

And, with out-of-the-box features and configurations, more time and budget can be spent on truly unique brand features to create a more robust experiences.