May 16, 2013
When the original Online Marketing Suite (OMS) first came out, it was an evolutionary release that took Sitecore CMS to a new level of content-centric visibility. First and foremost, it allowed users to see analytics data on content items that a typical Web analytics like Google or Omniture cannot readily provide. As a standard, we use both types to give the marketer a full view of how the site is performing.
OMS introduced several new features that affected presentations as well as Rules. Rules allowed us to be able to do various types of testing as well as personalization. Sitecore's abstraction of Rules from those features made it central as well as flexible. Now, Rules have become central to several functions in Sitecore such as validations, conditions and others.OMS was the first step in providing marketers more power to control content based on their needs. OMS alleviated several marketing features that are normally achieved only by going through a developer. It allowed marketers to react quicker and be more proactive. If you ask me, I consider Sitecore CMS as the brain of your Website while the OMS as its heart. Now it's about to get bigger.
As demand for more marketing capabilities in Sitecore grew, OMS transformed into the Digital Marketing System (DMS), which is comprised of analytics, email marketing, automation, and others. In part, it combined existing modules into a cohesive platform that work well together (almost like when Microsoft decided that Word, Excel, and Powerpoint can work better as Office). There was a tremendous effort on ensuring that existing and new functionalities integrate seamlessly. Sitecore also developed new technologies for reporting, tracking, automation, etc. while allowing developers to have a robust API for customization.
I'm not going to go through each of the DMS components in this article. You can learn more about the specific components on Sitecore's Website (http://www.sitecore.net/Products/Digital-Marketing-System.aspx). However, I do want to point out some of the more common ones you might need:
I've said a lot of great things about DMS above, but let's get back to the original question of "Why Should You Include DMS in Your Strategy from the Start?" Simple. You should include it from the start because there is so much about DMS that actually affects how a Sitecore implementation should go. Here are a few of the things to consider that could impact your development and architecture:
- Reporting: In addition to the typical transactional reports, such as visits that existed in OMS, DMS now has the Executive Dashboard for a comprehensive overview of your site's marketing performance. Sitecore is even going farther, eventually releasing a true business intelligence (yes, with cubes and such) for deeper analysis.
- Automation: Using typical task flows (i.e. if statements, states, and actions), a marketer can define automated response based on the user behavior. For instance, you can track and personalize the experience of an email campaign based on various factors such as cart content or past orders. Of course, you can do this programmatically; however, Sitecore actually provides a visual diagramming UI for a business user to define this instead.
- Print: Sitecore can now also be used for print assets using Adaptive Print Studio, allowing marketers to have a one-stop shop for media and content meant for targeted audiences.
- Email Marketing: At its core is the Email Campaign Manager (ECM) that allows for typical email campaign capabilities including analytics.
- New content items and presentation components for A/B and multivariate testing
- New conditional rules to accomplish complex marketing logic for use in testing
- Flexible and logical content tree structure to allow for easier management of tests
- Report updates as well as turning on non-trivial features such as additional referral sources
- Integration with a CRM or other sales-specific systems
- Creation of new actions for automation
- Identification of personalization-like logic such as "if the user visited this page, don't show this tile anymore"
- Determining typical analytics concepts such as goals, campaigns, values, profiles, and others and how they affect renderings
- GeoIP (and Maxmind subscription or if you need to implement your own - lots of work there)
- Usage of Web Forms for Marketers (WFFM) as it can have impact on analytics, personalization, and integration
- Infrastructure and deployment (very big deal especially if you have a high-traffic site)
- Business intelligence if you decide to go there
- See if search affects analytics (or vice versa) -- Sitecore 7 actually has a new feature called Boosting -- stay tuned
- New pipelines, resolvers, or processors to help with analytics or automation
As you can see, DMS should be part of any discussion, particularly in the Discovery phase, to see if it helps the project. Simple sites may dismiss it but every site has a purpose and DMS is normally in the middle of the solution. Even if you don't have DMS yet, you should consider it in your future plans, implementation, and architecture. It may be a factor in phasing out a huge project or it can be major component of a business case. Whatever the case may be, strategizing with DMS from the start is a key ingredient in fully realizing your Sitecore investment as well as ensuring a robust architecture that allows for business users to fully manage the website.
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