Forrester Research recently released the “The Forrester WaveTM: Web Content Management For Digital Customer Experierence, Q2 2013”, which is a report where they evaluated 10 of the “most significant” WCM providers. Forrester evaluated the providers in their current offerings, strategy and market presence. The paper is specifically geared towards developers; however it is not so technical that a non-developer couldn’t read through it with good comprehension. I would highly recommend reading through the document in its entirety, but I’m going to pull out some bits and pieces in this post and provide my own opinion towards them as well.
Forrester names Sitecore as a strong Performer in the WCM space and a glance through the section titles of the paper provides a true glimpse as to why. A sampling of those titles: “WCM is evolving from Website Publishing to Digital Experience Support”, “WCM Isn’t a Suite Story, It’s An Integration Story”, and “Many Vendors are Jumping on the Customer Experience Bandwagon”. If you’re familiar at all with Sitecore, those titles should be exactly in line with the software and its direction. Not only is Sitecore paving the way with its own Digital Marketing Suite (DMS) that continues to make strides with every new release, but my opinion is that Sitecore has been a leader in integrating Digital Marketing into Web Content Management for the past several years, ever since their original OMS offering.
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When speaking about the WCM market becoming an integration story, I have to say that we’ve definitely seen that trend lately. The paper specifically points out that Sitecore is taking more of a “suite approach, offering more native components”, but at Perficient, we’ve been spending a lot of time recently integrating Sitecore with some interesting third-party software. Since Sitecore is built on Microsoft .NET, it is very easy to integrate it directly into other MS products such as SharePoint and Dynamics CRM through pre-built connectors. The .NET foundation also makes it easy to integrate directly into client-specific custom .NET applications and web services, as well as some products you might not expect it would be able to integrate with. At Perficient, we’re about to deliver a Sitecore implementation that is integrated with Google Apps, Gmail and Okta (for authorization). In the past, we’ve also integrated Sitecore with the Google Search Appliance, SalesForce.com (through the FuseIT connector), Coveo and Monetate for clients that wanted to leverage existing systems they had already poured resources into. I think that it’s a true feather in the cap of Sitecore that it’s been built on the .NET framework and truly is able to integrate with so many systems to provide its clients with the “full package”, and that Forrester may be undervaluing that integration ability slightly in this paper. The paper does specifically speak about how Sitecore’s suite approach does lend itself to a consistent user experience, and I think that is a point of tremendous value to the clients of the software. Learning a new piece of software can be challenging for even people possessing great technical know-how, so there is certainly an advantage to getting more functionality while having to learn less software.
Forrester makes two more comments towards Sitecore specifically that I want to point out. First, they mention that many of the current Sitecore customers they’ve spoken to are not leveraging the full Sitecore product offering. I can definitely echo this, as statement, as many of the prospective companies we deal with are not yet at the point of being able to implement the capabilities of the DMS. Yet, DMS is one of the key strengths of Sitecore, so many companies obviously want to implement that functionality. This runs into the next comment I want to pick out from the paper: “Sitecore doesn’t do client implementations, instead relying on a very solid partner network to serve its customers”. Obviously, Perficient is one of those partners, and we believe strongly in the value of Sitecore as a WCM offering and also as Digital Marketing tool. In fact, we believe so strongly in its abilities, that we chose it as the software for our own website! We’ve seen great results since switching to Sitecore and we’re even going to be sharing our experiences on April 18th, 2013 in a free webinar! We’re also dedicated to making sure that more and more Sitecore clients can and do take advantage of the fullest capabilities of the software, which is why we’re currently working directly with Sitecore to put together a Sitecore DMS Jumpstart offering!
As I said, I would recommend everyone exploring or interested in the Web Content Management space reading through the Forrester report and getting great information about the leading providers within the space. I think Sitecore is rightfully chosen as a strong performer in the market and I look forward to seeing Sitecore grow and become the overall leader in the space!