How to deliver digital experiences suited to customers’ growing expectations? With the help of advancing technology, the CMS has gone way further to provide efficient solutions like high scalability, robust APIs, smooth integrations, cloud deployment, marketing automation. These and much more functionality is adopted within Sitecore CMS development. In this article, we’ll get into detail about what is Sitecore development, where it is used, and how companies benefit from it.

List of the Content

WHAT IS SITECORE CMS

Martech innovation is a growing trend in the customer-driven market. With the vast array of content management tools, companies are empowered to select the great CMS and combine it with evolving solutions. Sitecore is positioned to lead market approaches and named among 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for digital experience platforms (DXPs). The balanced blending of marketing and technology allows them to present a number of advanced products with the powerful CMS at its core. Created in 2001, the .NET based content management system has managed to grow into a comprehensive digital experience platform that is easily combined with the company’s other products. By now, they specialize in four main solutions:

  • Sitecore Experience Platform – Besides the advanced CMS, it combines additional solutions for real-time personalization, marketing automation, data capture, and analytics.
  • Sitecore Experience Commerce – The extended functionality to blend the eCommerce processes with user data and content to build strong connections with the customers.
  • Sitecore Experience Manager – The perfect solution for omnichannel content delivery from one platform to different devices, displays, and channels. 
  • Sitecore Content Hub – Marketing content brought together by efficient integration with content marketing platform, marketing resource, and digital asset management tools.

Service principlesAltogether, there is a great opportunity to blend these products into the Sitecore Experience Cloud. Due to seamless work, businesses could receive not only the CMS but the evolving platform to go further with Sitecore development. As a matter of fact, it is an often choice for large enterprises that can afford such services. Besides website and application development, they benefit from exceptional capabilities and extending functionality. If we compare the market share, we’ll notice the considerable difference with other competitors. For example, Sitecore CMS development has obtained 0.48% whereas open-source WordPress has reached up to 13.36%. At the same time, such difference is easily explained by initial goals and targeted users. Sitecore development has got its stable market position not by competing but handling the functionality delivery. While covering different perspectives, they offer a strong foundation for developers, marketers, and executives of enterprise-size companies. We recommend checking some successful stories of companies using Sitecore.

  • Subway, the restaurant franchise, was able to increase web conversion rates with 10+% on desktop and 40+% on mobile.
  • Dignity Health, the largest hospital provider in California, stated an increase in online booking at 81% and primary care booking at 137%.
  • Volvo, the automotive manufacturing company, stated to grow web traffic by 31% as well as sales by 7% with the applied solutions.
  • Luminus, the Belgian energy provider, has increased leads by 130% by implementing improved UI design.

As a result, we can notice that Sitecore development services have popularity among the leading brands in different industries. The specialty might vary though the great digital experience is under concern for any business. So let’s get into more details and learn where and how Sitecore development is used.

HOW SITECORE DEVELOPMENT IS APPLIED

The enterprise-level .NET platform allows companies to deliver amazing digital experiences as it has adopted all the advantages of the .NET framework. Leveraging professional Sitecore development, companies benefit from flexible, scalable, and secure approaches to implement the diversity of tasks. Technology stack powered by coherent marketing strategies enables its constant advancement. Generally, Sitecore development services can be divided into few categories and used for the following tasks.

How to use Sitecore development

DEVELOPMENT

Implementation of corporate websites, eCommerce solutions, and platforms – With the fuse of CMS capabilities, Sitecore development services focus on scalable, modular solutions with unlimited functionality.

Architecture planning – Large-scale implementations depend on the quality of technical architecture. Sitecore development principles are based on translating design patterns into reusable components to create a smooth experience for both users and content editors.

Template customization – Easily shaped apps can be modified repeatedly due to arising needs. JSS templates are the full collection of sample applications presented for necessary modifications. It allows developers to create new JSS applications as well as customize the existing templates.

Multi-channel and website management – Making customer experience consistent and engaging requires experience integration across all the channels including web, mobile, email, social media, offline sources, etc. 

Integration with external applications – Sitecore Technology Alliance Program supports partnering with other technology companies. For example, developers can combine it with Salesforce CRM or integrate Sitecore Connect for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail.

UPGRADES AND MIGRATIONS

Performance validation – Applying standard ASP.NET validation techniques, businesses can enforce data requirements to maximize performance and improve user interactions.

Fast content management – You can easily share created content across different sites, domains, and microsites in multiple languages through a simply managed centralized platform.

Migration from any platform to Sitecore Systematic approach to the content migration process supports the largest migration projects and transfers them into advanced solutions.

CONSULTATION

Smooth integration of content and marketing – Sitecore marketing tools help to organize marketing campaigns and efficient content production. Empowering marketing operations have never been so simple as with Sitecore Content Hub.

Functionality expansionCombining the unlimited customization capabilities and advanced analytical tools enables Sitecore development services in accordance with every customer or organization requirement.

SUPPORT

Centralized experience database – The ability to collect customer data from multiple channels and enrich personalized engagements. Sitecore Experience Database supports huge storage capacity and runs on both cloud and on-premise.

Consequently, Sitecore development is suitable for implementing new products as well as migrating from other platforms or advancing the existing solutions. Along with setting the right requirements, you can choose the great development approaches within the latest technology trends. The common code base and shared APIs help to simplify the code management process and improve the development quality. Moreover, its UI is standardized across all the platform features. Thus the website development, content creation, workflow management, personalization, testing, marketing automation can be easily gathered in one place. Multi-site and multi-language solutions, development simplicity, and a variety of marketing tools add value to make the digital platform a great choice for many enterprise-level organizations.

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DEVELOPING YOUR PRODUCTS WITH SITECORE: ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

As to have a thorough understanding of Sitecore development, we suggest covering a few more aspects. The right technology choice is always supported by combining clearly defined requirements with offered implementation benefits. Understanding your needs and awareness of all pros and cons helps to simplify the product delivery and gain more out of it. We’ve mentioned some of the important moments with Sitecore development services thus let’s proceed to its advantages and disadvantages for developers and organizations.

Sitecore advantages and disadvantages

SITECORE ADVANTAGES

Capability and functionality – Sitecore was able to advance its functionality from CMS solution of creating, editing, and publishing content into a powerful digital experience platform with a number of advanced features like headless content delivery, campaign creation, path analysis, advanced commerce storefront, etc.

Flexibility – It is the area where Sitecore CMS development can easily compete. Built with dependency injections, developers can replace any of the classes, rewrite how default features work, or export customized functionalities.

Scalability – Developers have all the opportunities to provide improved performance and high flexibility due to perfectly scalable data storage. Depending on the outlined needs, they can scale either vertically or horizontally as well as run a standalone environment.

Security – Available configurations help to support data privacy in compliance with the latest GDPR regulations. Following the technical guidance, it isn’t complicated to manage security and ensure its complete hardening during Sitecore development.

Robust API – Applying RESTful APIs ensures the implementation of customer intelligence and web content management into advanced applications. It handles multiple call types, returns different data formats, and changes structurally.

Deployment optionsBased on organization requirements, companies choose among on-premise or cloud deployment. Moreover, you can decide a fully managed environment with Microsoft Azure-hosted infrastructure or select self-managed cloud deployment.

SITECORE DEVELOPMENT DISADVANTAGES

Cost Even though companies can vary licensing options and packaging, this technology remains one of the most expensive in comparison with other market competitors. Being a good option for large-scale organizations that aren’t limited on budget and interested in add-on functionality, it is rather expensive for companies with basic needs.

Support – Subscriptions include the standard maintenance whereas 24/7 Priority Support is a subject for additional fees. For instance, the target response time for critical cases can take 1 business day with standard support and only 1 hour with the premium package.

Transition process It offers a number of training programs for developers, marketers, and commerce managers with paid charges varying from $2 000 to $5000. Moreover, each developer has to validate skills with Sitecore Certification. Assessment registration would cost $300 per developer.

Availability of developers – Due to increasing popularity, Sitecore development services are also in high demand due to the lengthy transition process requiring more skills and sources. It usually takes some time to find the developer that meets all the requirements.

How to find the best Sitecore developers?

You should check the comprehensive guide on how to hire professional Sitecore developers. It includes all the necessary details on their roles and responsibilities, special requirements, average rates, etc.

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SITECORE DEVELOPMENT: TECHNOLOGY STACK

Once we define Sitecore advantages and disadvantages, let’s proceed to the required technology stack. Container-based architecture promotes an efficient development pipeline and speeds up the development process. In fact, it allows developers to deal with a number of familiar tools that deliver personalized content on multi-channels. The separation of content creation and management from its delivery defines the overall development process. The developers can start with editing, storing, and managing content whereas the design and delivery are completed via APIs. Drag-and-drop functionality helps to change components quickly as well as reuse pre-built templates and layouts. The optimized experience is supported by any channel as they can easily leverage web content over mobile applications and IoT-connected devices. Applying Sitecore JavaScript Services, developers can create full-fledged mobile applications or import already existing JavaScript apps into Sitecore. The detailed documentation and other necessary development tools are presented on doc.sitecore.com.

Sitecore architecture

Website developmentBuilding websites is handled by leveraging Sitecore expertise. As it is a .NET development platform, the development team has to be proficient in such Microsoft technologies as .NET framework, C#, .NET Core, ASP.NET MVC, web API.

Mobile development – The availability of frameworks like Sitecore Mobile SDK for Android, Sitecore Mobile SDK for IoS, and Sitecore Mobile SDK for Xamarin allows developers to develop mobile apps applying the existing knowledge of .NET development.

Database – Sitecore developers use the structured SQL databases, in particular, core one to store settings, master one to collect the content of all versions and web one to contain the latest published content version. As for analytics storage, they often apply MongoDB.

JSS applications – Sitecore JavaScript services support building apps by applying such front-end frameworks as React, Angular, and Vue.js. Developers can use any of these frameworks and JavaScript UI libraries while powered by an enterprise experience platform.

IntegrationsDealing with complex solutions, developers have to support continuous integration between the involved components. Besides internal integrations, they get the opportunities to complete Sitecore with some other technology solutions for better analytics, security, or cloud infrastructure. Partnering with any of the third-party providers should be supported by the Sitecore Technology Alliance Program.

Consequently, Sitecore expertise is based on comprehensive knowledge of .NET development, familiarity with JS frameworks, and at least some basic experience building in Sitecore CMS.

GOOD PRACTICES FOR SITECORE DEVELOPMENT

It is important to adhere to the latest Sitecore development practices in order to ensure the compatibility, performance, security, maintainability, and best user experience of your solutions. This includes being updated with the latest version of Sitecore, using the latest features and functionalities, following industry standards and best practices, avoiding security vulnerabilities, and making future updates and changes more manageable. Let’s name some of the great practices in Sitecore development.

  • Follow the Helix architecture principles: Helix is a set of conventions and guidelines for building modular and maintainable Sitecore solutions. It helps to structure your code in a way that makes it easy to understand, test, and maintain.
  • Use Sitecore Rocks: Sitecore Rocks is a Visual Studio plugin that makes it easy to work with Sitecore from within Visual Studio. It provides a variety of features, such as a Sitecore tree view, a Sitecore item editor, and a Sitecore log viewer.
  • Use the Sitecore Content Serialization feature: Sitecore Content Serialization allows you to version-control your Sitecore items and templates. It makes it easy for multiple developers to work on the same Sitecore solution simultaneously and helps to avoid conflicts.
  • Use the Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA): SXA is a set of tools and templates that make it easy to create reusable components and layouts. It provides a library of pre-built components that can be customized to suit your needs.
  • Use the Sitecore Item Web API: Sitecore’s Item Web API allows you to retrieve item data from Sitecore using simple RESTful requests. It can be used to create custom integrations with other systems.
  • Use the Sitecore PowerShell Extensions (SPE): SPE is a module that provides a set of cmdlets for automating tasks in Sitecore. It makes it easy to perform repetitive tasks such as creating items, updating fields, and running reports.
  • Use the Sitecore Log Analyzer: Sitecore Log Analyzer is a tool for viewing and analyzing Sitecore log files. It can be used to troubleshoot issues and improve performance.
  • Use the Sitecore Experience Editor: Sitecore’s Experience Editor allows content authors to preview and edit components on the page. It provides a WYSIWYG interface that makes it easy to make changes to the site.
  • Use the Sitecore Experience Commerce (XC): Sitecore XC is a set of tools and templates that make it easy to build e-commerce solutions. It provides a library of pre-built components and features, such as product catalogs, shopping carts, and order management.
  • Use the Sitecore Experience Cloud (XC): Sitecore XC is a set of tools and technologies that allows you to create a personalized and optimized experience. It provides features such as A/B testing, personalization, and analytics.
  • Follow the best practices for security, performance, and scalability: Sitecore provides guidelines for securing, optimizing, and scaling your site. It’s important to follow these guidelines to ensure your site is safe and performs well.
  • Follow the best practices for the Sitecore upgrade process: Sitecore provides guidelines for upgrading your site. It’s important to follow these guidelines to ensure a smooth upgrade process.
  • Keep the Sitecore version up-to-date: Keeping your Sitecore version up-to-date is important to benefit from new features and security fixes.
  • Follow Sitecore’s testing guidelines and use automated testing tools: Sitecore provides guidelines for testing your site. It’s important to follow these guidelines to ensure the quality of your code. Automated testing tools can also be used to help with this.

By staying current with the great Sitecore development practices, organizations can ensure that their website is secure, performant, and easy to maintain, ultimately providing the best possible experience for their customers.

IN CONCLUSION

It is not that easy to decide whether you need to start development with this technology until you learn why Sitecore is a good choice. Besides new projects, companies also often consider migration of existing ones to the Sitecore experience platform. Analyzing all of the mentioned above details on offered advantages and where and how to use it, we’ve found out the common cases to implement Sitecore development.

  • Preference for .NET technologies
  • The necessity of enterprise-large tech solutions
  • Need for a centralized digital experience platform that can unify numerous domains
  • Reach customer engagement across various channels and devices
  • Deliver content in multiple languages
  • Empower personalized content management
  • The common codebase for easy maintenance
  • The convenience of reusable components, templates, and layouts
  • Development with regulation compliance (GDPR, HIPAA, PCI, etc.)
  • Robust workflow management

Sitecore development services support all of this, and even more. We hope that our article has provided some useful information and suggested new ideas for future projects.

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Frequently asked questions

What is Sitecore?

Sitecore is a content management system (CMS), and digital experience platform (DXP) used to create and manage websites, web applications, and other digital experiences. It provides a wide range of features and tools for creating, managing, and delivering content, including content authoring, personalization, analytics, and marketing automation. Sitecore is built on the .NET framework and uses C# as its primary programming language. It also includes a web-based interface for content authors and marketers, as well as APIs and other integration options to connect to other systems. Large organizations and enterprises often use Sitecore to create and manage complex, multilingual, and multi-channel digital experiences.

How to use Sitecore?

Sitecore development services are usually divided into the following categories:

  • Development

  • Consultation

  • Support

  • Upgrades and migration

What is Sitecore development?

Sitecore development refers to the process of creating and maintaining websites and web applications using the Sitecore CMS and XP. This includes creating and customizing templates, layouts, and components, as well as integrating Sitecore with other systems and technologies to provide a seamless digital experience for users. Sitecore developers typically work with technologies such as .NET, C#, and SQL and may also have experience with front-end development technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

What are the main advantages of Sitecore development?

With the wide adoption of Sitecore in the market, businesses and developers have emphasized the following advantages:

  • Functionality

  • Flexibility

  • Scalability

  • Security

  • Robust APIs

  • Deployment

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