What Is Sitecore?

I regularly work with different CMS systems and the question I am always asked by clients is... which CMS is the best one?   If you go by the industry recommendations (Gartner magic quadrant) in 2017 Sitecore is number 1.  A simple comparison on websites like StackOverflow, will show that Sitecore has more interest than any other CMS, so what makes Sitecore so different from other platforms? Sitecore's path is definitely slightly different than it's competitors.  Sitecore has a big focus towards Marketers.  The terminology it uses is aimed towards people who work in the marketing department, one example of this is in the forms plug-in.  In Umbraco, or EpiServer, the add-on to deal with web forms, are both called the 'Forms' plugin... original I know. In Sitecore terminology, the same plug-in is called web forms for marketers.  Even though the name has only a slight difference, it highlights the focus Sitecore puts on creating a platform that works for the marketing department compared to its competitors.  In Sitecore 8 the biggest chance was in analytics.  Sitecore is the industry leader in terms of catering In Sitecore 8 the biggest change was in analytics and the experienced editor.  Marketers can write their content in Sitecore and then use that content on their website, in marketing campaigns, emails.  If people click to respond to the proposal, the analytics are all stored in one central place, in real-time.  In this vein, marketers can put more intelligence on their website to help drive sales and improve conversations. In today’s article, I have compiled a few reasons why you should consider using Sitecore, the areas in which Sitecore can help you expand your business and the ever important question...  who is using Sitecore.

Why You Should Consider Sitecore?

Sitecore is a popular enterprise level suite of products, that allows marketers to help promote their businesses.  Sitecore started off solely as a content management system (CMS) focused product and over the years it has slowly evolved to include digital experience delivery, multi-channel campaign management, and business analytics. Sitecore is probably the most customizable CMS on the market.  Sitecore's approach to content delivery is slightly different to other products.  Instead of focusing on pages, Sitecore is built by objects.  In other CMS systems, a developer will create a set of the template where each template represents a type of page that can be created within your website. Sitecore, on the other hand, is built upon data-template.  A data-template defines what data you can add into Sitecore, but, it doesn't define how it will look.  This means that you could host multiple websites within Sitecore, each using the same data-template (so the same text would appear on the screen but each site could apply completely different HTML-templates. Another unique feature to Sitecore is real-time analytics, which, as of writing, no other CMS currently offers.  By inserting a special Sitecore tag within your campaign emails, your mobile apps, your social media pages and your website, Sitecore can track what your customers are doing across all your different marketing channels, within one dashboard, in real-time! If you're reading this and you're thinking, my website only has 10 pages, I don't have a mobile and this all sounds a bit overkill, then you can start to see why the question 'Which CMS is best' is a bit silly.  Each CMS has different strengths and weakness.  My personal opinion is that Sitecore is a good fit for your company if:
  1. You need to manage several websites and you want to do it all within a single place. With Sitecore, you can manage as many websites as you like, all within one interface.
  2. You market over different channels and want a single place to manage your data.  With Sitecore, you  can see what pages customers on your website have looked at, what campaign emails they have opened, what products they might have brought and what social media platforms they have used with you.  This is an invaluable tool to help you understand your customers.
  3. You have a sales funnel which you want to improve.  As you have all your customer data in one place, you can leverage it to create personalized content in your channels.  If a user has viewed a certain product before, why don't you send them a sales email a few weeks later asking if they're still interested?
  4. You want to store all your customer data in one place.  Are you sick of looking in Google Analytics, your CMS, Optimizely etc.. Sitecore aim is to have all this data in a single place
  5. Multi-language support both website side and within the CMS itself.  Sitecore allows administrators and editors to work in their native languages.  Sitecore also integrate with translation software providers like Lionbridge, so you can do your translation all in one place.
  6. A/B Testing for marketers.  No developer time required.  As long as your website has been configured correctly, a marketer can A/B test directly in Sitecore.
  7. Automated marketing campaigns.  Sitecore provides an easy interface to help you write and schedule your marketing campaigns.
  8. Solid content editing abilities.  Sitecore interface might not be the most usable, but it's easy the most configurable.  If you don't like the way Sitecore does something, you can customize it and change it.

Who uses Sitecore?

If you're considering Sitecore and want to know who else is using it, then fear not, you’re in good company. Many of the world’s top brands use Sitecore including Dyson, Monte Blanc, Thomas Cook, Easyjet, Canon, Suzuki, Oxfam, Panasonic to name a few.

How do I get started using Sitecore?

Now you’re probably wondering, ‘how do I get a copy?’ you'll need to get in contact with Sitecore sales, to get a demo.  As of the time of writing (2017), there is no evaluation version of Sitecore that you can download and experiment with.  The only way of really using it is to go on the training and purchasing a license.  If you want to know more about this process then I'd recommend reading, Why Is Sitecore Development So Difficult To Get Into?.  If you want a demo but are unsure about how to proceed, get in contact with me using the 'Hire Me' link above.

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Jon D Jones

Software Architect, Programmer and Technologist Jon Jones is founder and CEO of London-based tech firm Digital Prompt. He has been working in the field for nearly a decade, specializing in new technologies and technical solution research in the web business. A passionate blogger by heart , speaker & consultant from England.. always on the hunt for the next challenge

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