Posts Tagged ‘Sitefinity’
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.
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
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.
More often than not, we receive requests for proposals for multiple .NET web content management vendor solutions. Gone are the days of requests for two .NET CMS vendor solutions to compare. Now it’s a request for five or six solution comparisons along with a 70-page matrix/Q&A document, followed by 6-hours of vendor demos and countless hours of sandbox trials.
Don’t get me wrong, this is what the customer should be doing to avoid one of the most costly blunders in today’s corporate spending - failed software integration projects. Since there is no one size fits all .NET CMS product on the market today that can provide the best solution for everyone’s budget and business requirements; conducting proper due-diligence is a must.
The first step is to identify the top .NET CMS vendors on the market and which ones are best suited for your organizations short and long-term web strategy. Visit their websites with a check list of features and modules you require. Read the reviews on sites like CMSWire and CMS Critic and finally, hire a CMS consultant to aid in mapping out some top level needs and requirements as well as assisting in preparing a proper RFP document. Until then, there’s no point in conducting extensive comparisons and evaluations. One thing is for certain… unless you have six to eight months to burn, you can evaluate 2 to 3 vendors a lot more comprehensively than 5 to 6 vendor solutions.
To get you started, Falcon-Software has compiled a list below of what we consider the top rated .NET Web CMS solutions on the market today. The factors we considered for this rating list are product stability, robust features, extensibility, lengthy track record of customers and integration partners, and good overall customer service record.
- Bridgeline iAPPS (http://www.bridgelinedigital.com/)
- DotNetNuke Professional (http://www.dotnetnuke.com/)
- Ektron CMS400 (http://www.ektron.com/)
- EPiServer (http://www.episerver.com/)
- Elcom (http://www.elcomcms.com/)
- Ingeniux (http://www.ingeniux.com/)
- Kentico (http://www.kentico.com/)
- SharePoint WCM (http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/)
- Sitecore (http://www.sitecore.com/)
- Telerik’s Sitefinity (http://www.sitefinity.com/)
- Umbraco (http://www.umbraco.org/)
Falcon-Software offers website planning, creative design, development, CMS deployment, training and server hosting services. We invite you to get started today, at no cost. Call us for a free consultation at 800-707-1311 or visit our website at http://www.falcon-software.com/
Its really hard not to notice the flood of press releases from leading WCM vendors that have launched their new ‘cloud’ offering, most recently Sitefinity adding cloud to their list of software features and benefits. Why is the Cloud so great? Does the hype live up to expectations?
To keep in-step with the ever-increasing number of organizations looking to leverage cloud platforms, vendors such as Alterian, Clickability, CrownPeak, EPiServer, Kentico, Open Text, Sitecore, Sitefinity and SpringCM have all launched cloud compatibile versions of their WCM software.
So, why is everyone’s head is in the clouds?
The workplace has exploded beyond the traditional boundaries of the office walls. Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever before, and companies are reevaluating the office cubicle and 9-to-5 workday model in favor of a more cost effective virtual workforce. Consequently, workers need to be able to access and engage with their crucial business content across devices and applications. With web-based content management, files are accessible on multiple devices, and open APIs make it easy to integrate cloud content management solutions with other web-based business applications – such as salesforce.com or Google Apps.
Cloud solutions are more cost effective on a per-user basis, go live faster, update seamlessly and frequently, and carry far less risk with implementation and execution. We’ve all heard stories about six-or-seven-figure technology purchases that never got off the ground or were only implemented narrowly. The on-demand nature of cloud and SaaS systems make such events nearly risk-free in terms of time and money. And cloud platforms will only get more affordable as vendors benefit from immense economies of scale as their business grows, and pass along these cost savings to the customer.
Across all generations, today’s knowledge workers are significantly more web savvy than ever before, but this evolution has largely been driven by consumer technologies. Consumer applications like YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook are fast, intuitive, and don’t require anything extra to get started. Today’s workers, especially those who grew up using these consumer tools, require software that helps them get their job done with the simplicity and usability of the internet. There’s a fundamental difference between giving your employees software that they want to use rather than software that they have to use.
The notion of moving any large data repository to a cloud computing infrastructure still makes many CIOs and IT managers nervous, but it’s already proving to be the wave of the future for WCM systems. Forrester Research recently released its report, which projects the size of the world market for cloud service will expand from $40.7 billion in 2011 to greater than $241 billion in 2020. As different cloud service providers emerge, if they emerge, users will have a variety of service options and solution configurations, along with varying fees for service as the providers compete for efficiency.
So, does the hype live up to expectations? The cloud certainly offers clear advantages, but there are trade-offs and you need to understand them before you make any infrastructure decisions.
Web content management software is a bloated market space, and with sales growth in the billions you will literally find hundreds of vendors all fighting for top position. Visiting the vendor websites to gain a perspective on what differentiates one WCM vendor from another is far more difficult than one would imagine and more times than not, a fruitless exercise.
So if your looking to purchase a WCM solution for the first time or upgrading an existing system; the vendor selection process can be foggy at best. So, how does one start in narrowing down the options and ultimately selecting the best solution for your current requirements, budget and long-term needs?
CMS Connected (www.cms-connected.com) showcases top CMS vendors in an interactive 60-minute debate style webinar, helping you get beyond the glossy brochures and marketing hype by asking the real tough questions you want to know. In addition, the attending webinar audience also has the opportunity to ask the vendor guests a few ‘no holds barred’ questions as well.
On April 7th, 2011, two of the most affordable and feature rich mid-level .NET CMS products on the market today, Kentico and Telerik’s Sitefinity will go head-to-head on CMS-Connected. Sign up now for this free webinar event and find out who reigns supreme!
Falcon-Software first became involved with web content management (WCM) back in 1995. Our IT manager at the time suggested that we build our own custom WCM solution as a value added for our growing list of clientele. Knowing that the writing was on the wall and the days of deploying static websites were numbered, we decided to move forward with our first generation proprietary ASP CMS solution.
We closely monitored the impact it had on our business and found that it opened up a whole new revenue stream for Falcon-Software. Fifteen years later, it has become the core of our services – developing and deploying .NET WCM solutions, while assembling one of the most complete and comprehensive list of vendors in the industry. This strategy allows us the ability to provide the ideal technology solution for our clientele’s unique technical requirements and business needs.
We are often asked — How can Falcon-Software be highly proficient in understanding and implementing so many different .NET WCM solutions?
First and foremost, we have a solid foundation in .NET technology and almost two decades of experience deploying WCM solutions in a wide variety of different sectors. Having a strong .NET knowledge-base to pull from allows us to exceed client expectations no matter what WCM platform we use. In my opinion, when you are limited to only one or two WCM vendor solutions, objectivity becomes seriously compromised.
Secondly, we understand the differences between the top .NET CMS solutions. They all promote user-friendly interfaces, customizable workflows, online forms, reporting analytics, e-commerce and social media modules – the similarities go on and on. The real trick in recommending one WCM product over another is understanding their differences. Some vendors have a robust Intranet modules as their differentiator, others may have a more mature social media package that allows you to deploy fully featured web portal communities rather than just a simple blog. So it all comes down to understanding the client’s needs and technical challenges and matching them to a WCM system that best fits their budget.
Integrators that offer only one particular WCM system will undoubtedly make them an authority on the product over time. But, is that in the client’s best interest? Certainly not. Launching a WCM system that works flawlessly from an integrators point-of-view does not always translate to being a successful project. One of the main reasons so many WCM implementations fail is poor adoption by the system administrators and site contributors that work with the product day in and day out. This could be due to several reasons - it could be too complicated for the user or it may not provide the ideal solution they were expecting the product to solve or users aren’t provided proper training. Regardless, there is no one size fits all WCM product on the market today that can provide the best solution for everyone’s requirements or budget.
We are also frequently asked — Since we have experience deploying so many different WCM systems – Which is the better product – for example Ektron or Sitecore? If you’ve spent any length of time in the WCM industry, you have almost certainly noticed the fierce rivalry between competing vendors. At times it can get pretty nasty and lines are constantly being crossed making the politics of the business just as immature and counterproductive as government politics. So, how does an integrator that supports several different products separate itself from the mud-slinging and smear tactics so heavily deployed amongst the WCM brotherhood? Our answer is simple and factual. Both Ektron and Sitecore are very good .NET WCM platforms and are well represented with thousands of customers across the globe and both have very mature development communities.
The problem is the question. The proper question should be – which WCM platform is the right one for my organization? Unfortunately, the answer is far more complicated and you should make sure you understand your own politics, technical challenges and organizational needs as a starting point. Then explore the WCM vendors that best match your criteria. Make sure you have a demo of the short-listed vendors and include all the key stakeholders and site administrators. Then setup a ‘sandbox’ trial version and start playing with the products in real-case scenarios. What you’ll find is the ability to answer your own question – Which is the best WCM product for me?
List of Web CMS Vendors
The list of vendors below is by no means complete, but certainly in our opinion stable solutions. We also linked the systems Falcon-Software supports.
- Autonomy WCM (was Interwoven)
- CoreMedia CMS
- Day Software
- Elcom CommunityManager.NET
- Fatwire Content Server
- GOSS iCM
- Ingeniux CMS
- Microsoft SharePoint WCM
- Open Text WEM (was Vignette & Nstein)
- Open Text WCM (was RedDot)
- Percussion CM System
- SDL Web Solutions
Small to Mid-Level WCM Systems:
- Bridgeline iApps
- eZ Publish
- Hot Banana
- Telerik Sitefinity
Falcon-Software offers website planning, creative design, development, Ektron, Elcom, EPiServer, Kentico, SharePoint, Sitecore, and Sitefinity WCM implimentations, WCM training and server hosting services.
We invite you to get started today. Call us for a free consultation at 800-957-1126.
Arguably, two of the most affordable and feature rich mid-level .NET CMS products on the market today, Kentico and Sitefinity go head-to-head with CMS Connected Host – Veronica Cooper, in a lively and interactive 60-minute webinar.
With both products having recently launched new version updates and boosting out-of-box features such as web analytics, site globalization, e-commerce modules, robust and flexible interfaces, and social media applications… CMS Connected will help you get beyond the glossy brochures and marketing web pages, asking the real tough questions you want to know.
During the webinar, CMS Connected Host Veronica Cooper will be asking the CMS vendor guests a series of questions about their products and allowing each vendor a one-minute debate style response time. Then the attending webinar audience has the opportunity to ask the vendor guests a few ‘no holds barred’ questions of their own.
In addition, Gary Eisenstein from Falcon-Software and Toby Ward from Prescient Digital will also be available on Twitter during the 60-minute webinar to respond to your tweets, making CMS Connected one of the most vibrant and interactive webinar events you will ever experience.
What You’ll Learn
- How the two CMS products work.
- How to edit content and create new pages.
- How to manage the system and document workflow.
- How to implement your own designs.
- What modules are included and how to use them.
- Licensing structures and options.
- On-going maintenance support and upgrades.
- And much more!
Who Should Attend
The CMS Connected Webinar Series focuses on the needs and requirements of anyone looking to purchase a web content management system (CMS) in the near future and is a great way for IT professionals, site administrators or end-users looking to explore a .NET solution from Kentico or Sitefinity, and get your questions answered.
DATE: April 7, 2011 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST
COST: There is no cost to attend the CMS Connected Webinar
Click Here to sign up for the CMS Connected Webinar
CMS Connected Presenter
- Veronica Cooper from CHEK TV
CMS Connected Guests
- Eric C. Webb, Kentico’s President of Sales & Operations
- Gabe Sumner, Sitefinity Evangelist
The official release of Sitefinity 4.0 is now weeks away with Gabe Sumner demonstrating what’s new in the final pre-release version of Sitefinity 4.0 in a webinar on November 11, 2010. The webinar will also contain details about Sitefinity 4.0 pricing & licensing. New features demonstrated in this webinar include workflow, localization, a meta field builder and more. The new release delivers a next generation web content management system that empowers you to create compelling websites that drive your business and engage with your online community. Everything in Sitefinity 4.0 is developed for efficiency, productivity and interactivity.
Sitefinity 4.0 brings usability to the next level
The new revolutionary User Interface is very task oriented and simplifies the user interaction with the system. Minimalist graphic design – users are not distracted by needless eye-candy elements.
- Flexible interface according to user permissions, roles and responsibilities of the different CMS Users – site administrators, content contributors, and everyone who is working with the CMS backend, thus simplifying the interface and reducing possibilities of error.
- Task oriented design. All button and links not related to the performed task are not displayed.
- Rich interactivity and drag-and-drop interface.
- Contextual interface labels.
- User-friendly customization of the backend system – interface for changing system screens, labels and messages.
Falcon-Software offers a full range of creative design, development, CMS training and hosting services. We invite you to get started today, at no cost. Call us for a free Sitefinity CMS consultation at 1-800-957-1126.
What started out as an outlet for teenage expression and grassroots journalism has turned into a lucrative communications tool for small and large businesses alike, reaching into the corporate and government sectors as well. As with anything, there are certain “best practices” to be followed to ensure your company reaps the maximum benefits. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog or are new to blogging and want to work on your blogging skills, then the following components should be considered as a best practice blog template:
- Brief, readable title that articulates an outcome.
- Contributor name with link to contact information.
- Problem or opportunity statement described in simple terms.
- Visual clue early in the post that illustrates an outcome.
- Keywords that someone would type in a search engine to learn how to achieve something.
- How-to information that reads in chronological order; summary format.
- Use of bullets and brief statements to improve scanning and understanding.
- Readable on a PC and smartphone.
- Call to action and link for related information.
- 300 to 750 words in length.
This information is provided for our valued clientele that are new to the blogging world but now posses the powerful tools needed to create a blog site through our WCM software products Ektron, Kentico, Sitecore and Sitefinity. For more information, give us a call at 1-800-707-1311 or email us at (firstname.lastname@example.org).