Some thoughts on Sitecore CMS

small business technologyOne of the projects I’ve been working on over the last few months is the implementation and customization of a Content Management System (CMS). The CMS chosen by my client is Sitecore CMS, which is garnering some attention for its somewhat unique approach to the world of CMS and was recently named a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner.

For a review of Web Content Management Systems, see Ziff-Davis’ CMS Review on Amazon titled “Web Content Management Systems Product Comparison Guide” (affiliate link).

Sitecore’s product is pretty interesting. It’s a .NET based product that gives you the ability to (er…forces you to) create everything from the ground up for your website. Everything is customizable…layouts, templates, everything. The product is delivered as a .NET ‘solution’…in other words, you can open the ‘site’ in Visual Studio and customize to your hearts content.

Personally, I like this approach because it provides a great deal of flexibility and provides developers with a way to easily ‘hook’ into a Sitecore website and customize it…..but it isn’t the right solution for every problem. If you are looking for a CMS, or just interested in CMS platforms, you should look into Sitecore. If you are looking to buy, expect to pay more than some CMS platforms and less than others 🙂

Here’s a quick Hit List that you can use to determine if Sitecore is right for your organization:

Sitecore is a good option if:

  • You have a good sized website and/or many websites to host.
  • You are a Microsoft shop with SQL Server, Windows Servers, etc.
  • You have a development staff who are fluent with .NET (C#, ASP.NET) or are OK with paying an outside firm for this work & expertise.
  • You are willing to invest in a long-term approach to migrating all your websites and web apps into a .NET environment (this gives you your biggest ROI in my opinion).
  • You are OK with looking at a payback period of over 1 year. My personal opinion is Sitecore is at about 18 to 24 months or longer depending on what you spend to implement and what customization you have done.

Sitecore is probably not the best option if:

  • You can’t spend much money
  • Your payback period is less than a year
  • You have no development staff with .NET experience nor do you want to pay for outside development
  • You aren’t a Microsoft shop
  • You have a few sites and don’t need .NET integration

For the developers out there…if you’re interested in jumping on a bandwagon and learning a new product, there is a tremendous need for sitecore developers in the marketplace. I’m contacted ~3 to 4 times a week for resources. You can download an ‘express‘ version from Sitecore for free (not to be used as a commercial site) and join their Developer network to jump in and start learning.

Sitecore is a good product and provides a very good ‘skeleton’ for a CMS but might not be the best selection for anyone looking for a quick turn CMS and/or quick payback.

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