If you take a quick look at the raft of .NET-based Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) technology vendors, their feature sets will look remarkably similar. You might be tempted to conclude that which vendor you select won't make a difference. In reality the tools are actually quite different. So how do you tell them apart?
Checking all the boxes
Let's examine the .NET players RSG evaluates in our Web CMS Report: Sitecore, Microsoft, Ektron (soon departing), EPiServer, DotNetNuke/Evoq, Ingeniux, Kentico, Telerik, Umbraco, and (the partly .NET) SDL-Tridion.
If you simply make a feature matrix, nearly all of these players will check nearly all the boxes: segmentation, content repurposing, microsite management, campaigns, marketing platform integration, and so on.
When you start looking deeper, some significant differences emerge. Here are some of the dimensions we track in our evaluation research.
- Licensing model
- Geographic footprint
- Breadth and profile of integrator partner network
- Community vibrancy
- Long-term TCO
- Ease of use for non-expert employees
- Third-party module ecosystem
- Platform vs. best-of-breed architectural assumptions
- Extent of transition from Web Forms to MVC (this is a big one, folks)
- Fealty to core .NET functions (pros and cons here)
- Scalability of the entitlement model
- Approach to configuration management
- Degree of architectural decoupling and separation of concerns
- Page-based versus componentized information models
- Support for deep taxonomies
- Effectiveness of the bundled search engine
- And so on...
Note that the pricier options are not always "better" at these things. In fact, it's difficult to generalize on the list above, except that you should try to isolate the factors that are really important to you.
I hope that you would never default to a technology platform (like .NET, Java, or PHP) as your primary filter. Always consider crossing the technology aisle if you can find better business fit or value.
And when you do, look well beyond superficial "features." Take a scenario-based approach -- like you'll find in our ShortList Generator application -- to figure out the best fit for your organization.