Sitecore is in use in thousands of websites across the globe. Many of the Sitecore solutions are multi-site and multi-language, these being a key motive for choosing the Sitecore CMS.

Codehouse has designed, built, and currently supports, many multi-site, multi-language Sitecore solutions – the most recent solutions being deployed to the Azure platform, and often integrated with CRM or ERP systems such as Dynamics or Salesforce.

.NET and Microsoft Azure

Architecturally, Sitecore has been built using the .NET platform since its initial releases. Sitecore installs with an extensive API that greatly increases the opportunities for flexible, extensible, and scalable integration with external systems such as ERP and CRM. Sitecore can be thought of as an open foundational platform for a scalable, extensible web solution, under which many systems can provide data to Sitecore. Sitecore then presents this to the visitor in a contextually relevant manner, irrespective of the device used.

Leading the way as a .NET platform, Sitecore and Microsoft even have joint development teams working inside Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle to further expand the Azure offerings, such as Sitecore Cortex machine learning for personalised visitor journey building.

One platform, built from the ground up

A key differentiator for Sitecore is that the year-on-year supplemental feature improvements have been developed as incremental additions to the system, rather than added as bolt-on acquisition purchases from other systems.

This means that the features share a common code base and a shared application programming interface (API), as they have been built from the ground up in Sitecore. This helps the ease of code management and quality, and reduces the learning curve for developers to be able to fully leverage the many features.

Similarly, the Sitecore editor/marketer user interface (UI) is standardised across all the various features/functions of the Sitecore platform. This greatly reduces the effort needed to learn how to use those functions, and how to get the most from the whole platform and not just certain parts. The fact that the feature set is available from within the one interface also increases the chances of adoption and exploitation, given there is no need to log in and out of multiple systems, potentially with the need to key in content many times across different platforms.

With Sitecore, content creation, workflow approvals, previewing, publishing, testing, personalisation, marketing automation, and analytics are all available in one place.

Use content across any site and any channel

From the very first versions of Sitecore, the CMS has separated content from presentation. This has many benefits; the most significant being that content can be re-purposed across different sites and across different channels. The same content can be formatted to suit the channel in which it is being consumed, e.g. web, mobile, social, or app.

Sitecore places no constraints around what is presented to the visitor, allowing the creation of diverse experiences and engaging designs for diverse user groups across all platforms and devices.

Sitecore has taken this concept further and used the concept of content modules within a page; a page being made up of a set of re-usable content module items. A module can be re-used across many pages and across many sites within the same Sitecore solution. Built into the Sitecore UI is a WYSIWYG content editing and page assembling interface called the Experience Editor, which allows non-developers to create new page layouts based on the available modules. Additionally, the interface informs the content editor which other pages are using the module, and at which stage in content approval each module is, to help ensure that all content elements are released in a timely manner. Once the entire Sitecore solution is delivered, the modules can be added and removed from pages, and new dynamic pages created, without the need for IT involvement. It becomes a creation and publishing exercise, not a deployment.

A really important area of differentiation for an object-based CMS like Sitecore, when compared to a page-based CMS, is that the individual modules that make up the page can be personalised and/or A/B or multivariate tested from within the Sitecore UI. Again, this can be done by content author/editor colleagues who don’t need coding skills.

Personalisation

Sitecore installs with a wide range of personalisation rules that can be further extended with bespoke rules unique to any business requirements. Also worthy of note are some of the other out-of-the-box features such as Email Experience Manager (EXM), which can be enabled to build compelling CRM journeys when coupled with the marketing automation features in Sitecore.

Codehouse also has experience of building solutions utilising Sitecore Print Experience Manager (PXM) which, together with Adobe’s InDesign and Print Manager solution, can be used to generate brochure-quality PDFs, collating content from Sitecore and other systems to allow customers and prospective customers to create their own collection of content from the solution.

Integrations for CRM, search, community, and more...

Sitecore has out-of-the-box connectors for Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 as well as an Active Directory module. These modules deliver out-of-the-box functionality, but also allow for customisation to fit specific needs in a usable, consistent, maintainable, and upgradeable manner.

Sitecore has a number of other commercial connectors for third party systems such as search (Coveo and SOLR), language translation (Smartling, Lionbridge, and others), video (ooyala, Brightcove), community (Telligent), as well as social media (Twitter, Facebook, Klout).

For digital asset management (DAM), Sitecore has a built-in media library that can be configured to store assets in a content database, Azure blob storage, or a file system. Assets in the Sitecore media library can be faceted and indexed by search. The Sitecore media library has built-in search functions, including searching by facet or taxonomy. Usage rights can be controlled in the same granular role/user method as that applied to content. It should be noted that Sitecore also integrates with third party DAM systems such as Digizuite.

In summary, Sitecore’s ability to show personalised content across many channels, whilst collecting, collating, and presenting data from many external solutions – using its extensive API – makes it a compelling platform for building an engaging web solution. This, taken together with the ease of development and management of multi-language, multi-site solutions with the ability for content re-use, plus a full suite of marketing tools such as email, testing, and automation in the back-end, means Sitecore XP is the ideal platform choice for your website, whatever your industry.

Interested in learning more?

If you'd like to learn more about Sitecore, its features, and what it could do do revolutionise the way you deliver digital experiences to your customers, or you'd like a demo to see it in action, just get in touch. We'd love to hear from you.