Artificial Intelligence & CMS, which system will win?

Artificial Intelligence in Content Management Systems

On our last visit to Boston, we went to visit Acquia a software as a service(SaaS) company that provides a content management system(CMS) to its clients. Acquia defines itself as “ the open source digital experience company that empowers the world’s most ambitious brands to embrace innovation and create customer moments that matter.” They do so by providing a variety of website developing tools as well as marketing tools.


Our visit plus our class discussions about AI got me thinking about how AI will change the CMS industry. Also, I recently read an article by Forbes in which Microsoft Services CTO Norm Judah says “Now every company in one form or another is going to be an AI company if they’re not already one today.” This made me investigate what are the advances of AI in the CMS industry and what are the major players doing to get ahead of the game.

Industry overview:

There are three major players in the CMS industry which are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. All of which are open source. As you can see in the graph above WordPress dominates the competition with 59.7% of the market share followed by Joomla with 6.7% and Drupal with 4.7%.

In the rest of the article, I will dive deeper into the differences between these CMS as well as how they are implementing Artificial Intelligence on their platforms.



WordPress was founded in May 2003. It began as an easy to use blogging platform. Technical expertise is not required to use the platform since it is easy to navigate and it contains an ever-increasing repertoire of plugins, themes, and widgets. WordPress is also developer friendly allowing them to customize the site as needed. One of the major advantages that this platform has is the ease of use which allows clients with no technical experience to manage the site.

WordPress is less complex than its competition which makes it ideal for fairly simple sites like blogging and news sites. For more complex sites it is recommended to use one of the other CMS.

How is WordPress using Artificial Intelligence?

WordPress uses AI via their plugins. They define plugins as A piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites.” Which are essentially pieces of software that can be easily added to your website with one click of a mouse.

Some of the examples of WordPress plugins that use AI are:

  • Wordlift
    • Which analyzes your content using AI and gives search engine optimization recommendations.
  • Akismet
    • Which comes included once one install WordPress. It gets rid of spam comments using AI.
  • WatsonFinds
    • This is an IBM Watson plugin that allows you to see what emotions your article will provoke in the readers.



Joomla was founded in August 2005. It was introduced to the market in order to supply those that needed a CMS a bit more developed oriented but that kept some of the simplicity of WordPress. It has more advanced development options than WordPress but less than Drupal. Joomla is ideal for those wanting to build a site with more structure flexibility and content than what WordPress offers.

How does Joomla utilize artificial intelligence?

Similarly to WordPress, Joomla uses AI in many of its extensions. Extensions are how Joomla calls its plugins.

Here are some examples:

  • Geek Facebook Chatbot
    • This robot scans your site for your content and is able to answer many of the questions that your customers might have.
  • Atomic Reach
    • Content optimization to increase conversions. This extension recommends different changes to your content in order to maximize conversions.




The oldest of the CMS of the ones we are comparing was became an open source project in 2001. The founder Dries Buytaert also founded Acquia in 2007. Drupal is the most complex CMS out of the three, however, it is also the one that can produce the most advanced sites. A year ago, in a blog post, Dries Buytaert mentioned that “Drupal is no longer for simple sites”  But rather for “ambitious digital experiences” He went on to explain that Drupal’s sweet spot lies on experiences that require a certain level of flexibility or customization.

How is Drupal using Artificial intelligence?

Similar to WordPress and Joomla, Drupal also has its own type of plugins called modules. Some of which use AI to improve efficiency.

However, what I found most interesting about Drupal’s advances in AI was Acquia Lyft. Which utilizes AI to customize the website depending on who is visiting the website. It identifies where the visit is coming from and it customizes it according to what the visitor is more likely to be interested in. In addition, Acquia lift continually evaluates audience data in real time and it gives back insight which marketers can use further improve the digital experience of each audience.

Which CMS is in a better competitive positioning?

I believe that the fight for a superior CMS and a better implementation of AI is between WordPress and Drupal. Joomla has the worst positioning because it is between the two meaning that if any of the two CMS want to expand their market share they will compete against Joomla. In addition, with a better implementation of AI WordPress might be able to produce more complex websites this plus WordPress ease of use would leave Joomla in the dust. Also, Joomla is the CMS with the least amount of AI plugins or initiatives (out of the three).

WordPress is the clear leader in the CMS space with almost 60% of the market share. Which makes sense because they focus on simple websites which are most of the sites online. When it comes to AI WordPress has a more hands-off approach because most of its plugins that use AI are created by third parties. This might be beneficial since it allows many parties to be able to innovate. It will be interesting to see if AI plugins allow WordPress to create more complex sites in which case they will be challenging the market share of Joomla and Drupal.

On the other hand, Drupal focuses more on complex sites. As I previously stated, the founder of Drupal believes that Drupal is now for  “ambitious digital experiences”. Which is shown with initiatives such as Acquia Lyft. Drupal is the most complex CMS to use but also the one that can make the most advanced sites. The latest version of Drupal called “Drupal 8” has gotten significantly improved reviews in its easiness to use (compared to the last version). The main advantage that Drupal has is that it has Acquia behind it. Acquia is the biggest contributor and reseller of Drupal’s software. Acquia is investing heavily in AI (in Drupal) seen with Acquia lift as well as R&D.

Nowadays, WordPress and Drupal are in completly different market segments. WordPress focusing on non-technical users while Drupal focusing on technical ones. However, this is bound to change in the upcoming years. WordPress will be developing more AI plugins that will increase website functionality and the ability to create more complex Websites. While Drupal will be increasing its ease of use and also its functionality allowing users to have a more “ambitious digital experience”. The winner will be decided by how fast can these CMS evolve WordPress in creating complex websites while Drupal increasing its ease of use. The CMS that evolves faster will gain more market share and position themselves as the CMS go to for all websites.


3 thoughts on “Artificial Intelligence & CMS, which system will win?

  1. Good analysis on today’s open source’s market. Thanks for posting this. It really gives me a better understanding of what Acquia is doing right now. CMS immersed in people’s daily lives quickly, and it still has lots of potential market. I think Canvas is one of the CMS that help both students and teachers connect with each other and manage the works they want to share with others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Artificial Intelligence seems to be taking over every aspect of business and operations, especially in tech companies like Acquia. I was also curious about the differences betwen Drupal and WordPress and found your post very informative and easy to understand despite the confusing topics you explained!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great analysis on a difficult subject that is perfectly relevant after our visit to Acquia and discussions on AI. I agree with your conclusion about the split between WordPress and Drupal and how AI will assist them in their more clearly distinguished paths in the future. This also helped me learn more about the platform this blog is on!

    Liked by 1 person

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