Posts Tagged ‘Sitecore’
So why isn’t everyone doing it considering that it pretty much guarantee’s higher conversions. Fear? Lack of Knowledge? Inadequate CMS features?
Content personalization is incredibly accessible these days. From free plugins in the Open Source community to ultra high end and very expensive digital personalization features of enterprise CMS Platforms. Personalization is absolutely everywhere. However, sometimes we get an idea stuck in our head regarding its definition and this can end up intimidating us and limiting our creativity and/or understanding of this topic. Rest assured though, we need to get comfortable with personalization and fast.
How many of you have ever enabled personalization in your CMS?? No one? That’s what I thought.
So, with so little acknowledgement how can we know for certain how easy or difficult it is to implement. We’re not looking to build a Roman Empire here. Just to ad a little engagement intelligence to our websites to make the website a little bit smarter and relevant to our visitors. Today’s websites need to ‘talk to our visitors’ more than ever before.
Let’s look at a few ice breakers that might help you to take that first step. Of course if this doesn’t do it, you could always give us a shout and we can talk to you about your own personal, specific needs. There are ‘always’ ways to make your website more relevant, engaging and dynamic.
- WordPress – WordPress has a ton of little plugins to help personalize content. One nifty tool is called WP Greet Box. This super nifty feature will display a fully customizable ‘welcome message’ based on the visitors referring website (we provide this info to every site we visit to it’s nothing new). There is a certain level of instant trust when a website ‘speaks to us’ using a specific and personal approach. The plug-in comes with several common social network sites built in but you can add your own at will (note how it also pulls the corresponding search phrase used, uber nifty.):
- Kentico – Kentico’s advertised personalization seems relatively elusive, however it is there and involves developing a ‘rule set’ similar to a workflow in order to present unique content. A short presentation here describes some of the features (note some coding is required). Here is a longer presentation (Jan, 2011) which was developed for Kentico V5. Definitely time for some updated information on the personalization features of their ECM that go beyond simple GEO targetting and ‘logged in’ customizations. I’d love to see some snappy new marketing material on what Kentico has up the sleeve on Personalization in V7!.
- Sitecore – Sitecore has invested significant resources into very high end personalization. Their features (you pay handsomely) cover predictive analysis, social connect features, content targeting and some very smart persona learning and intelligence that continues to learn each time a visitor returns to the website. This video neatly details the high end of their content personalization features. Sitecore really seem to have this nailed and we’re looking forward to implementing more personalization features for our clients. Read more about their features here: Sitecore Content Personalization
- Sitefinity – Sitefinity has also really upped their game on the content engagement front. Their persona and segmentation features are extremely well planned and easy to set up. It’s all point and click with drag and drop content module interaction. A particularly exceptional tool in the Sitefinity aresnal is their ‘Browse As’ Preview mechanism that allows you to test the personalized content as any of your defined personas prior to launching to production. The Preview Console also allows you to test your personalized content on mobile and tablet devices. I think that Sitefinity has the other kids on the ropes with this one. See their excellent video here: Sitefinity Content Personalization.
Next we’ll have a peek at Ektron, Sharepoint and Elcom and whoever else I feel like at the time.
So what’s new in Sitecore 7? Well, we’re not quite sure. We haven’t had the opportunity to upgrade any of our production websites just yet. This is likely due to some stage fright and the fact that Sitecore hasn’t fully endorsed it as the oficially recommended installation package. This is probably a wise move to hang on a little while as the early adopters help to stress test the production side. I subscribe to the ‘Chaos Theory’ and there will likely be a small wave of install bugs that pop up. This is totally natural and so for their sake I hope they are very minor and we can get our feet wet very soon!
Having fished around endlessly in the content tree and more importantly, the media library, the new integrated content search is going to be a very fresh and welcomed addition. These folks over here did a great job in describing some of the high level features found with the new Search and we are very much looking forward to giving it a try ourselves. The developers of course are quite nervous about the ability for the upgrade to merge with all of the custom code that is layered all through some of our more creative exploits. Well, there probably isn’t a single upgrade of any CMS that doesn’t have some level of anxiety attached to it. Like the first time you turn the key on a project car after new head gaskets or some other rebuild.
What they’ve done here is to apply a fundamental change in how we will interact with the stored content. Or at least force us to develop a more comprehensive taxonomy in order to leverage this new high level of functionality. Contextual links between content assets will play a massive new role with the understanding that personalization is driving a great deal more marketing and content strategy in today’s CMS platforms. CEP, WEM, CXM, whatever, it’s all content management regardless of what colour jacket you put on it. But Sitecore, at the moment appears to be wearing the ‘Technicolour Dreamcoat’ of the CMS world.
We’ll certainly be elbows deep in Sitecore 7 shortly so stay tuned to hear what this integrator thinks of the whole migration/upgrade procedure!
Recently, I was at a Web Content Management vendor conference in Vegas, chatting over drinks with colleagues about different business strategies. When out of the blue one of my competitors chimed in with a remark about Falcon-Software being a CMS vendor whore. Now, aside from finding that word offensive, I believe there was a little jealous undertone with his backhanded comment.
Regardless, this got me thinking about which strategy is truly the best; for an integration partner to be loyal to one or two CMS vendor partners or like Falcon-Software, have a healthy line up of several CMS platform solution for customers to choose from?
Now, I do understand the value in supporting only one particular vendor and becoming highly proficient in deploying that CMS platform. In fact, in 2002 Falcon-Software started off with only one CMS vendor – Ektron, which fostered a healthy funnel of sales leads between us over the years. In 2006, Ektron selected Falcon-Software as their Partner of the Year amongst their list of 200 partners worldwide. So it would seem the benefits can be very rewarding. Well… let’s peel back that onion shall we!
In 2007, Ektron decided to change their partner model and starting offering integration services, and having all our eggs in one basket all the sudden seemed potentially hazardous to our health. So Falcon-Software quickly countered by adding three new CMS vendor solutions Kentico, Sitecore and Sitefinity to our portfolio and the pros quickly became apparent over any cons. Instead of having leads and RFP opportunities with just one vendor, we now had four vendors feeding the machine. More importantly, we could offer our customers a solution that truly was a best fit for their business needs, budget, infrastructure, etc. So it makes sense to me that being limited in offering only a couple of CMS vendor solution to customers, that objectivity becomes seriously compromised.
Over the years, I’ve managed to acquire an in-depth understanding of the differences and limitations between all the top CMS vendors, limitations that are not generally discussed in their glossy marketing brochures and flashy PowerPoint presentations and in my opinion, the only way to acquire this knowledge and expertise is by having a deep portfolio of successful deployments from many different CMS solutions.
On a side note, in 2012 Ektron went back to their original partner model abandoning their integration services all together.
Currently, Falcon-Software partners with 8-different .NET Web CMS vendors: Ektron, EPiServer, Elcom, Kentico, SharePoint, Sitecore, Sitefinity and our latest addition – DotNetNuke. Our philosophy is that there is no one size fits all CMS platform on the market today that can provide the best solution for everyone’s budget and technical requirements. For example, some customers may require an out-of-box solution that offers a robust e-commerce or social media application, which narrows down the field. Others may require a system that excels in site globalization or one that can seamlessly integrate with a particular ERP or CRM solutions, which certainly narrows the field of players down even further. Let’s also not forget about those customers that have a $200,000 project scope with only a $100,000 budget. Try that budget with Sitecore or SharePoint and you better be prepared for a stripped down gas can of a solution… not a good fit.
Can an integration firm be successful offering just on Web CMS solution? Sure… we did it for 5-years. But having tried both strategies, for us there is a clear and definite advantage to offering our customers a multitude of vendor solutions. The key is being proficient in delivering all the solutions you support so partner certification and ongoing training is vital.
Please Note: The image being used in the blog post is in the spirit of the debate and to help drive home a point and in no way meant to be offensive towards any female readers. I promise to post a follow up with a male character casting a seductive pose to help even things up
Thursday, February 16th, 2012
1:30 pm Eastern/10:30 am Pacific
CMS-Connected is a 60-minute monthly news show, streamed live on the TPN Network with a focus on the web content management industry, showcasing the top products and platforms on the market, latest technologies, innovations, mergers & acquisitions and CMS related news and commentary from leading CMS expert analysts and participating guests.
The Show will Include:
- An in-depth discussion on SDL’s acquisition of Alterian.
- The development of an open standard for Web Experience Management Interoperability (WEMI) by OASIS.
- Kimberly Edwards, the Senior Product Marketing Manager from OpenText will be joining us to discuss their Web & Social Analytics 2.0 launch.
- A discussion about a new player to entire the CMS landscape, EndPlay.
- 5-minutes with John Coonen from CMS Expo to discuss the latest open source news.
- Darren Guarnaccia the Senior Corporate VP of Product Marketing from Sitecore will join us for our Vendor Spotlight segment.
- And a very special guest to be announced live will be joining us towards the end of the show!
>> Register Now: Click here sign up for the live show
Here’s help with finding the best fit for your company.
There are a lot of features and functions to consider when searching for web content management solutions. Ensuring the best product fit for your company’s particular needs is an essential part of the process. That’s why our vendor partner Sitecore is pleased to present this scorecard from Ars Logica founder, Tony White.
The featured Web CMS vendor scorecards rate the industry in an easy-to-understand, quantitative format and include recommendations to help companies find the right CMS solution to meet their business needs.
See how leading Web CMS vendors score in key criteria including:
- usability – relative ease of learning and using
- scalability – ability to function well as system demands increase
- marketing and sales tools – the presence and quality of tools that engage customers
In the movie The Replacements, starring Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman, the football team brought in a bunch of rag-tag replacements to play ball during a players strike, and eventually they won the big game and the hearts of the fans… and the star quarterback got the girl. Okay, really bad movie… I know. But the similarities between this movie and the inevitable replacement of web engagement management (WEM) over web content management (WCM) are uncanny. For those of you that do not have the time to download and suffer through two-hours of Keanu, EContent Magazine has a report that may help sum it up for you.
You don’t have to look far to find examples. Clickability has a new module called Website Marketing Acceleration (WMA). It’s targeted at B2B marketers, enabling them to focus more on visitor segmentation and targeting. Other vendors such as IBM, Adobe, FatWire (now Oracle), Open Text, Autonomy-Interwoven, Sitecore, Alterian, EPiServer, et al., have also been promoting their WEM capabilities rather than core content management functionality.
Is this good for the customer? Sure, why not. You either evolve or die in the IT industry (or you change your name from FatWire to Oracle, Day to Adobe, everyone else to Open Text). At the end of the day the customer buys more than a WCM or WEM solution… they end up buying an ever-evolving e-business solution.
Web Content Management For Online Customer Experience, Q3 2011
Forrester’s Wave report assessed the top Web Content Management (WCM) vendors on 115 criteria based on current offerings, strategy and market presence. The report is based on an analysis of data from vendor surveys, product demonstrations and customer reference calls.
According to Forrester’s evaluation, “Sitecore’s marketing tools, including campaign management, reporting and eForms (with CRM integration) differentiate it from many of its peers.” The report further states “based on the broad functionality, product vision and value… Sitecore is a vendor to keep an eye on.”
JULY 20th, 2011
Falcon-Software is proud to announce the signing of several new web content mangement contracts for this Summer:
The Dufresne Group
Winnipeg, Manitoba (Kentico CMS Solution)
Pictured above: One of Dufresne’s Ashley Furniture store locations.
Irvine, California (Sitefinity CMS Training)
First Continental Mortgage
Houston, Texas (Elcom CMS Solution)
General Board of Global Ministries
New York, New York (Elcom CMS Solution)
Ontario Real Estate Association
Don Mills, Ontario (Sitecore CMS Solution)
The company has been on quite the roll of late, running production to near capacity for over16-months with no slow down in sight. To help alleviate potential over-capacity issues, Falcon-Software is hiring once again and has recently secured an additional 2,000 square feet of office space at the corporate head office in Victoria.
In addition, Falcon-Software has also recently increased the production staff by 15% and has promoted Mirko Freund to Senior Web Architect. Mirko has been working with the company as a .NET Web Application Developer, bringing a wealth of talent and experience to Falcon’s development core and assisting in the advancement of our enterprise application integration capabilities. Mirko previously worked at Proximity Technology in Hamburg, Germany as their Senior .NET Web Application Developer, and has over fifteen years of extensive experience.
“Although, we are very excited with the recent new account announcements, it certainly does not paint the whole picture of what’s truly going on in production for us heading into the summer months”, states Gary Eisenstein, President of Falcon-Software Company. “Our top 5 most active accounts in 2011, have loaded us up with enough project work to carry us straight through until Fall”. “That combined with the newly acquired accounts and the ever flowing smaller projects makes for a very busy time at Falcon”, says Eisenstein.
Sitecore, the company that has redefined Web Content Management, announced today it has acquired the development team and the intellectual property of Pectora. A long-standing Sitecore technology partner, Pectora, provides Web publishing solutions for deep integration with print-based projects. The combined offering brings together print and Web design teams to deliver more dynamic, personalized, customer-facing print media including brochures, catalogs and magazines.
“We are continuing our investment in providing business and marketing solutions that make the customer experience more personalized and engaging,” said Michael Seifert, CEO, Sitecore. “The way in which we retrieve information has changed immensely. As consumers, we expect our interactions with companies to be consistent whether via the Web, email, mobile phone or reading collateral. Our acquisition of Pectora allows us to bring consistency and personalization to print and digital communications.”
The Pectora technology enables marketers and Web designers to utilize Sitecore’s Web platform as a central hub for all Adobe InDesign content as well as all document layouts and settings. The offering brings rich content management capabilities to print designs in the InDesign and InCopy products, including team collaboration, multi-lingual management, security and workflow control and dynamic document delivery.
The combined solution brings the best of digital marketing capabilities to the offline world, allowing marketers to utilize content across all channels. Marketers can also deliver highly relevant and targeted content and offers to users based on interests, behavior, location and buying — in a channel independent way. Furthermore, it is now possible for organizations to connect customer behavior through collateral pieces directly into websites and campaigns. By taking advantage of rich document capabilities of InDesign, InCopy and Adobe’s Creative Suite, including dynamic linking and QR (Quick Response) code embedding, it’s possible to close the loop on marketing performance in the offline world.