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What Is Sitecore?

Sitecore is the world's leading .NET Content Management System, according to both Gartner and Forrester.

But there’s a lot more to Sitecore than just an award-winning CMS. With Sitecore, you can manage content. You can also test, optimize, personalize, and automate your content—allowing you to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Plus, Sitecore connects, collects, and analyzes all of your customer's interaction data, both online and offline, helping your team make sense and make use of all your data.

Sitecore gives you all the customer insight you need, all in one place for your team to leverage as you see fit. For your customers, Sitecore gives them what they want to see, before they even know they want to see it.

Read on as we explain what makes Sitecore different from other digital experience platforms, and how to know if it’s the right choice for your organization. We also review the top features and global brands using Sitecore to power their digital transformation.


What Does Sitecore Include? Key Features & Benefits

What makes Sitecore different from other CMS platforms out there? It has a powerful suite of features, designed to help your business do and sell more—better. Take a look at the key features and benefits this digital experience platform offers marketing organizations.

Personalized Customer Data

Personalized customer data is the powerfhouse feature behind Sitecore. Every single customer interaction, behavior, and data point is captured and stored, giving your team the insights they need to deepen engagement and increase returns.

Sitecore Experience Database (xDB)

The Sitecore xDB collects the full universe of your customer experience data (even from your CRM and non-Sitecore-based systems) and connects it together. At last, you’ll be able to see a comprehensive view of each customer’s journey—down to the individual level—all from one single data repository.

Sitecore Experience Profile® (xProfile™)

As xDB collects customer interaction data, Sitecore XP creates a profile of each individual. These data profiles become richer with time, intelligently learning who your customers are, where they live, what they buy, what they click on, and how much time they spend on your site.

Engagement Analytics

Make those rich insights richer with actionable engagement analytics. Engagement Value lets you score and rank visitor interactions so you can prioritize followup, while the Path Analyzer tracks how leads engage with your content, including the paths they take to explore your website—on a page-by-page level.

Sitecore xConnect

Sitecore xConnect APIs enable your developers to sync and gather data between Sitecore and nearly any other system you may be using for marketing or sales, like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365. We’re talking CRMs, POS, ERPs, PIMs, and more.

Easy Customer Geolocation

Your customers enjoy the benefits of personalization, too. With Sitecore’s geolocation features, you can create GeoIP personalization rules to display nearby store locations based on their IP location, instead of making customers enter their zip code.

Integrated Omnichannel Campaigns

Sitecore Experience Cloud allows you to track the performance across the entire life of your marketing campaigns, from channel to channel. No more hopping between disconnected systems and manually piecing together customer activity. A single campaign tracking code tracks engagement on both external and internal channels, attributing them to the appropriate campaign.

Print Experience Manager (PXM)

With Sitecore PXM, you can produce content at scale while maintaining your brand guidelines. PXM allows you to share virtually any content from your Sitecore environment and transform it into print-ready collateral with Adobe® InDesign®.

Multi-Language Support

Considering the range of global enterprises who rely on Sitecore as their CMS, it’s no surprise it supports multi-language translation. With the Translation Services Connector for Sitecore, and Engagency’s Sitecore Architects by your side, you can make multi-language translation a reality for your site.

A/B and Multivariate Testing

Poring over your customer data is sure to spark some ideas for how you can improve your site. Test them before you go full hog with A/B and multivariate testing. Sitecore’s testing, goal tracking, and path analysis tools pinpoint precisely where your content and traffic sources are over- or under-performing. You can even focus your tests at a demographic or audience segment level.

Marketing Automation

Marketing really can be easy. Set up automation campaigns and triggers in Sitecore’s Marketing Control Panel, and Sitecore will automatically react to customer actions with your desired behavior, whether that’s funneling them into a drip campaign once they’ve completed a lead form or serving a tailored popup when they arrive on your site from a particular channel.

Sitecore Federated Experience Manager (FXM)

Not ready to migrate all your sites over to Sitecore? No problem. With Sitecore FXM, you can bring some Sitecore capabilities over to your non-Sitecore sites, empowering you to give your customers a seamless experience across your network of sites (and ensure all that data is captured accurately for your marketing team).


Sitecore CMS vs. Sitecore DMS: What’s the Difference?

When researching Sitecore, a common point of confusion comes up: what’s the difference between Sitecore CMS vs. Sitecore DMS, and which do you need? These terms refer to distinct capabilities available with Sitecore. 


What Is Sitecore CMS? The Sitecore CMS, or the Sitecore Content Management System, is the platform you’ll use to create, manage, and publish content on your website or family of websites. Officially, Sitecore calls their CMS the Sitecore Web Experience Manager.


What is Sitecore DMS? Sitecore DMS stands for Sitecore Digital Marketing System, and it describes the impressive suite of marketing features that come with Sitecore, like personalization, analytics, testing, and more. Officially, Sitecore calls their DMS the Sitecore Experience Platform.


You can think of the CMS as the part of Sitecore that enables you to create and publish content, and the DMS as the part that helps you deliver that content across channels, to the right customer at the right time.


Both of these feature sets can be implemented in your particular sitecore instance. Talk to your implementation partner about your goals for your digital transformation, and they’ll make sure you get the features you need out of Sitecore, whether they’re technically part of the DMS or CMS. 


How Does Sitecore Work? A Quick Look at the UI

If you’ve ever used a Windows PC before, you’ll have no problem getting used to the ins and outs of Sitecore. Sitecore is unique among content management systems in that it uses a web interface that feels very similar to a Windows desktop. You can toggle between databases and content, drill down to find a piece of content in a content tree, or search your media library or templates to find a particular asset or webpage layout.

sitecore dashboard view

How Do I Know If I Need Sitecore?

So you’re thinking that your old CMS just isn’t cutting it anymore. Your company needs a lot more than a simple brochure site.


You know you need Sitecore if you have a few of the following requirements:


  • You have multiple brands, or numerous websites and landing pages, and you need one CMS platform that allows you to manage all of your domains.

  • You need a CMS that enables economies of scale by eliminating redundant hosting, training, and maintenance costs, and consolidating vendor relationships.

  • You need a CMS that allows you to leverage reusable layouts, modules, and content across all (or some) of your sites, like a featured news module, privacy policy, or universal footer.

  • Your CMS should minimize technical debt and ease maintenance by using a common codebase for all of your websites.

  • You need a platform that enables innovation, by making it easy to integrate APIs and all of your third-party systems such as CRM, marketing automation, A/B testing, ecommerce, PIM, DAM, and more.

  • You want a platform that helps you nurture customer relationships by personalizing content and recommendations in real-time, based on their click behavior or geo-location. 

  • You need a platform that enables you to engage your audience in multiple languages, across different channels and devices.

  • You want to localize content with country-specific photography and currency.

  • You’re in a heavily regulated industry and you need a platform that enables you to follow information security best practices and comply with federal and state accessibility and data privacy laws such as ADA, GDPR, CCPA, PCI, and HIPAA.

  • You want to maintain corporate brand standards across all of your pages and sites, and you need a platform that allows you to enforce strict governance over content styling.

  • You have numerous content editors across several sites or brands, and you need a permissioning system that allows you to restrict content editors to certain sites, sections, or editing capabilities.

  • You publish content that needs to be reviewed and approved by managers or legal counsel before it is published, and you need a platform with robust workflow capabilities.

  • You need (or you’d prefer) a .NET CMS.


Sitecore does all of that, and more.

  

Who’s Using Sitecore?

Need some social proof? Here are the global brands who trust their website experience to Sitecore.


  • Financial services: Merrick Bank, South Carolina Federal Credit Union

  • Healthcare: University Health System, Ascension Health, Solera Health, Sunrise Senior Living, American Heart Association

  • Childcare: Kindercare, Bright Horizons

  • Insurance: Unum, Aflac, Rocky Mountain Health Plans

  • Manufacturing: Interstate Batteries, Materion, Legrand North America, ARM

  • CPG: L’Oreal, Nature’s Bounty, Nestle Purina

  • Food services: Chick-fil-A, Pei Wei, JR Simplot Company

  • Higher educational institutions: McCombs School of Business, Brooklyn Law School, Ball State University, University of Alberta

  • Hospitality and Travel: Vail Resorts, B-Europe, Tourism New Brunswick, Atlantis The Palm, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

  • Transportation: Rush Enterprises, US Xpress

  • Entertainment: International Speedway Corporation, Cherokee Nation Entertainment, Cricket Australia

  • Public Sector: State of Wyoming, Australian Communications and Media Authority, Danish Parliament

  • Energy: Direct Energy, PFC Energy, NRG Energy

  • Real Estate: Colliers International, CBRE, Mid-America Apartment Communities

  • Software & Data Services: ConnectWise, First Databank, NICE InContact

  • Technology: Lifesize, Microsoft, Fujitsu

  • Non-profit: National Wildlife Federation, Oxfam, Urban Land Institute, British Red Cross


How Do I Implement Sitecore?

The first step to implementing Sitecore is finding a certified Sitecore partner who’s proficient not only in Sitecore, but in your particular industry. You want a partner who’s received the seal of approval from Sitecore (that’s where the certification part comes in), is up to speed on all the Sitecore best practices, and has years of experience implementing Sitecore for businesses like yours. 


That’s the best way to ensure you have a partner on your side who understands the needs of your industry, and can translate those needs into a next-level Sitecore implementation befitting a digital transformation. 


You can start your search by contacting a representative at Sitecore or browsing their partner directory. You can also search for Sitecore partners on unbiased third-party B2B review sites like Clutch.co


Depending on your industry, there are a few other considerations you’ll want to keep in mind as you evaluate potential Sitecore vendors.

Implementing Sitecore for Healthcare

Healthcare organizations serve a unique customer set with diverse needs, whether they’re researching a health condition, looking up a doctor’s credentials, or trying to locate your nearest location. You want to find a Sitecore partner who’s familiar with both HIPAA and ADA, and can help you make sure your implementation is compliant.


Read how our Sitecore WCAG 2.0 AA Remediation for a regional hospital system in Texas made their website more accessible to more patients.

Implementing Sitecore for Financial Services

Similar to healthcare, financial services is a heavily regulated industry. Fortunately, Sitecore is known for its top-tier security and user privacy features. When interviewing Sitecore partners, ask about their previous experience with financial services clients, and ask them if they can show you any examples. You’ll want a partner who is well-versed in the requirements of GDPR, and knows how to implement Sitecore in a highly secure environment.


Sitecore is the right choice for regulated industries. Here’s why.

Implementing Sitecore for Manufacturing

Manufacturing organizations typically have massive product catalogs, and buyers who need to be able to locate the products they want quickly. Site search, powered by personalization, should be a first priority for manufacturing organizations, B2B or B2C, when implementing Sitecore. In your conversations with partners, ask about their experience with site search. 


Popular search options for Sitecore include Azure search, Solr search, and Coveo. Here’s how to choose.


What You Can Expect from the Right Sitecore Partner

To get the full value out of Sitecore, you need a partner you can trust to deliver your implementation, on time and on budget. We’d like to think that’s us.


Engagency is a Gold Sitecore Certified Partner with more than a decade of experience implementing Sitecore for market leaders and underdogs from diverse industries. We have consistently been recognized as one of the world’s best web development agencies by Clutch.co, And, we’re pretty easy to work with.


Interested in how we can help you move forward with Sitecore? Set up a time to talk.

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