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A Fair Review of the Top Web CMS Platforms - Sitecore

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Sitecore CMS

Sitecore

Sitecore Corporation A/S (Parent Company: TVC) Founded: 2001
Head Office: Copenhagen, Denmark URL: www.sitecore.net
CEO & Tenure: Mark Frost, since 2017 Platform Type: ASP .NET
License Model: On-premises, IaaS, PaaS. Sitecore XP, XC, and XM can be purchased via perpetual or subscription-based licensing. Both include a number of production and non-production server installations as well as concurrent admin users.
Starting Price: $20,000 for perpetual or $1,100/month for consumption. (requires quotation process) Current Version: XP 9.0
Online Demo: Yes Trial Version: Yes
Customer Training: Yes Certification Training: Yes
Integration Partners: USA – 252, Canada – 49 Professional Services: No
License Renewals: Standard support and maintenance is included with the subscription cost. Perpetual licenses holders pay an annual fee. Optional 24x7 Priority Support is available for additional fee for all license models.
Support: Support programs range from Standard Support to 24x7 Priority Support, which includes Sitecore Support Portal, Sitecore Community and Documentation Library. The Sitecore Maintenance Program includes access to all new versions of Sitecore software, including all major releases, incremental upgrade releases, and discretionary patches. Customers may upgrade their support package to 24/7 Premium Support for an additional fee at any time.

Introduction

Sitecore is the global leader in experience management software that combines content management, commerce, and customer insights. The Sitecore Experience Cloud empowers marketers to deliver personalized content in real time and at scale across every channel—before, during, and after a sale. More than 5,200 brands––including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, Dow Chemical, and L’Oréal—have trusted Sitecore to deliver the personalized interactions that delight audiences, build loyalty, and drive revenue.

The Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) combines the content management power of our market-leading CMS with contextual insights from the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB).

Executive Interview

Top 10 Features

  • Easy, Quick Personalization
  • Cortex Machine Learning
  • Native Omnichannel Experience
  • Decouples Content from Presentation
  • Enterprise-class Search from Lucene
  • Advanced Analytics
  • Multi-Site Management
  • Customizable Workflows
  • Enterprise-class Security
  • Multi-language
Complete List of Features

Key Modules & Connectors

  • Sitecore Experience Platform
  • Sitecore Experience Commerce
  • Sitecore Experience Database (xDB)
  • Sitecore Experience Accelerator
  • MS Dynamics 365 Connector
  • Coveo & Brightcove Connectors
  • Salesforce & Dynamics CRM Connector
  • Sitecore Experience Analytics

Strengths

  • Decouples content presentation from content management, which gives developers and Sitecore implementation partners increased flexibility to support and optimize experiences for nearly any device, display, or modality, while supporting personalization logic in Sitecore-served experiences as well as “headless” experiences.
  • Collects and connects visitor interaction data down to the individual in real time, enabling the delivery of highly personalized experiences to each visitor.
  • Supports multi-lingual web content and multi-site management, with global/local delivery of content, social publishing, and campaigns alongside the ability to run/deliver a virtually unlimited number of sites on one installation, administered from one dashboard.
  • Sitecore’s web content management provides the flexibility that global enterprises today demand. It empowers companies to be versatile and scale to deliver the right content, to the right person, exactly at the right time. By collecting and connecting real-time customer data and interactions from all sources including third-party systems, Sitecore helps companies generate real-time actionable insights for results that impact a business’s top priorities, and ensures customers are equipped to engage their customers across any channel today and that they are prepared for what channels will emerge in the future.

Weaknesses

  • Making the most of Sitecore Customer Experience and digital marketing features can be difficult without a certified partner with experience.
  • Sitecore is best reached through a Sitecore partner, rather than contacting with them directly.

Differentiators

  • Sitecore has been recognized by Gartner as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management eight consecutive times as the WCM market continues to evolve.
  • The Sitecore Experience Accelerator offers rapid time-to-value for the full Sitecore Experience Platform, with a particular focus on enabling agencies and their web developers to get to market faster.
  • Sitecore’s re-architecture to Azure Platform-as-a-Service to fully deploy the platform in a server-less environment running on top of Azure App Service allows customers radically simplified infrastructure coupled with seamless scale-up and scale-out.
  • Offering Sitecore as a cloud managed service provides world-class technological underpinnings directly to customers and partners. This allows for full freedom of choice when deploying Sitecore in the cloud without being locked into a particular business model.

GDPR Initiatives

Sitecore has expressed that by nature of what they do, they have a deep understanding of the value of data and the importance of protecting it, with their own internal privacy team working with their customers, vendors, partners and internal teams to prepare for the GDPR as it comes into effect. Throughout their processes and products, they are committed to the privacy-first philosophy inherent to the GDPR and through a number of steps taken, are ensuring their own compliance by the May 2018 deadline through a plan covering all areas of their business. It is through this plan they will enhance privacy controls, security settings and features that will assist their customers in their own compliance efforts.

Roadmap

Sitecore looks forward to continued leadership and innovation in the WCM and digital marketing space as well as growth in ecommerce. Sitecore’s focus on reliability, availability, and ease of use will help them with their vision of creating a world where everyone feels like a preferred customer.

Sitecore has identified from their partners and customers that many brands are challenged with content and commerce platforms that are incompatible and, consequently, are denied the rich customer insights that drive personalization. To combat this challenge, Sitecore has delivered an integrated commerce solution that allows their customers to meet the heightened demands of their customers.

With that said, their most recent release of Sitecore Experience Commerce 9 is the only cloud-enabled platform that natively integrates content management and commerce to enable brands to provide personalized experiences before, during, and after the purchase transaction. This release fills an extreme need in the retail market to allow companies to create the unique experiences that keep customers coming back and this is what the company hopes to re-create in more ways to come.

Additional Video Interviews

Industry Recognition

Sitecore Gardner Magic Quadrant
Image above from Gartner 2017 WCM MQ Report.
Sitecore ForresterWave
Image above from Forrester Wave's Web CMS, 2017.

Customer Comments

With Sitecore, we continually gather and use data to personalize content for our guests before, during, and after visits, and that has made a great impact on the guest experience and our bottom line.
— Jennifer Gorman, Dollywood

We liked that Sitecore was a centralized solution. Having an experience database or customer experience profile in one place is essential to engage in the moment.
— Max Goijarts, Danone Nutricia

Integration Partner Comments

Are there common business/digital challenges your clients are facing you find Sitecore really helps with?
Yes, I would say there are at least a few main business challenges clients are facing that Sitecore helps our customers with. First, every solution we are asked to build needs to be a conglomeration of disparate tools and systems; these might include data from social platforms, user generated content tools, product catalogs, or other data centric tools/feeds. Sitecore has a very open and integrate-able value proposition at the core of its framework and as xConnect matures the integration model only gets stronger. Secondly, our clients want to focus on providing a best in class customer engagement model; this implies engaging design, accessible for all consumers, responsive (both visually and speed) and personally relevant. The Sitecore XP Platform offers all the tools, and again, openness with industry standard tools, to allow professional builders of digital experiences to use what is great about Sitecore as well as what is industry standard in digital construction practices across web, mobile and the internet of things. And lastly, there is a profound move towards the integration of highly branded content with commerce in the industry. Sitecore is strongly positioned to provide best in class content management, customer experience and relevance, integrated with commerce in a seamless fashion with the ability to scale in the cloud.

Describe the ideal client/business for the platform that you would recommend it to?
I don’t know that there is an ideal client/business for the platform that I would recommend it to. The platform has so many flexible attributes that it can be leveraged in so many ways. When I read this question I think about the diversity of solutions we have provided. On one end of the spectrum we have large CPG brands leveraging the platform in a highly governed templated model to allow digital properties to be cloned, spun up and operationalized efficiently and quickly – this includes leveraging shared components across digital properties making the effort to extend the system a matter of content entry and theming (styling). On the other end of the spectrum; we have built a system for a client of responsive component building blocks with the tool. This model allows non-technical web builders to mix and match parts to build consistently branded sites, en masse, quickly, that are fully integrated with the CMS, XP, and integrated back end interfaces. There is every application option that sits in between. The solution options span every potential vertical from pharma, health care, commerce, CPG, sports, financial and everything else under the sun. There are literally no limits to how the platform can be leveraged in the world due to its openness and architectural approach.
— Adam Wolf, POSSIBLE
 

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Gary Eisenstein

Gary Eisenstein

Gary has been working in the IT industry for over 24-years and is a Principle Analyst at CMS-Connected. If you would like to receive additional advice or consultation on how to evolve your digital transformation journey, Gary can be reached at gary.eisenstein@cms-connected.com.