Sitecore the Core of our Website
September 15, 2016
Sitecore the Core of our Website
Score 10 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Sitecore Web Content Management
We primarily use Sitecore for marketing our products. Each group is able to update their own content pages, while the web marketing team for the whole company is able to specify required items and set layouts. This gives our regional directors the ability to own their content while the national marketing team is able to apply a common interface.
- The ability to build and extend Sitecore so that it does exactly what you want is a key selling point to our organization.
- Building custom reusable blocks while difficult at first has helped us to leverage code to shorten time for subsequent improvements.
- The user level permissions help us keep section administrators from accidentally taking down the entire site.
- Publishing workflow ensures that we present a consistent message, and saves us from "accidental sales" where we advertise products for $1 instead of the $200,000 we expect.
- Requires a well trained Sitecore development team (difficulty of 8 on a scale of 1-10), also the entry level content author has a pretty steep learning curve (probably a difficulty of 4 on the same scale).
- Sometimes it is hard to find the right place to make a site-wide change. Making a change that looks good in one place may be overriding the default behavior for only that one place. Experience will help developers spot these situations without pulling out too much of their hair.
- Production requires very robust infrastructure to ensure the site performs at its best. In addition Sitecore developers need higher end machines than normal developers do to keep tests running smoothly.
- Structural changes are completed using zipped xml files called packages. This requires careful ordered installation, last I checked there was no way to merge all changes for a release into one package. This could mean in a very large deployment, a release admin would need to run through 200 or more upload and install commands through a web browser.
- I was initially one of the biggest opponents to switch from our homemade CMS to Sitecore. As you can see from my review I am a big fan of it now. While the initial investment was significant, no one ever brings up switching to something else. We all believe this is the best platform for our needs.
- Because of the rule-based display logic based on previous user interactions our website users are able to experience a site that is uniquely geared to them in a way we had never thought possible.
The decision to select Sitecore was not ultimately mine, but the fact that we were able to leverage in-house Microsoft .Net (C#) experience on a platform that had a library of extensions, but also allowed us to customize and keep private our confidential IP has been a big help. When you see a SharePoint site or a Drupal site you can usually tell "oh this is a MS SharePoint site", but with Sitecore the ability to customize and have different views even different components based on device type makes Sitecore a clear winner.
Large scale websites that have large teams are very well suited to use Sitecore. It is especially good when the marketing team wants to provide a customized user experience based on previous user interactions. For example if it is October and I am shopping for tents also recommend warm sleeping bags. If I already have a sleeping bag in my shopping cart recommend a camp stove. All of this can be done without any outside ad targeting platform being integrated in your environment. This keeps your user's interactions on your site private for you alone.