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When to use CMS?


Lately, a question was floating in my mind of when to use CMS / Portal and when to write an application from scratch.
If asked just a month ago, I would answer it with no hesitation - CMS of this or that kind must be used in all cases.
However, there is another point of view: each CMS adds a complexity layer to the application development. On one hand it is good as all pieces are written to the same interface and standard, on another - not so much as developers have to concentrate on CMS aspects rather on the business problem.

And the more complex the system is, the bigger the gap. It takes much more time to code and package a portlet for an 'enterprise level' portal by one of the biggies, than for some smaller CMS product.
So how to draw a line? When to use an enterprise level CMS? When to use a simpler one? When to write the app from the very beginning?
I would answer it this way after discussing it with my colleagues and friends:
Use large portal by one of the giants when you don't plan doing too much of custom development. When you can live by using almost only its own features, but at the same time you have lots of users and you need support you can rely on. The best example is a website that employees and related to the company people can use to connect back to the company from anywhere.
Simpler web systems, like open source CMS, are to be used when there is a need for both - moderate custom application development and content management features. Example can be a light public website with not too much non standard functionality.
And the last choice - writing applications from the very beginning. This approach is to be used purely in cases where the whole purpose of the project is to create a single self contained application implementing a specific set of workflows/functionality. Yes, it is very important to stop at right time and not try putting two different unrelated or even related(!) applications into one, as this cuts off scalability and only adds complexity. 
And of course you go this route when there is never going to be a need to use features of a CMS like content management, page management or user management. My experience so far is that the latter is rarely the case and some features of CMS are always needed. That is why I would strongly consider CMS for every project I do.
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