Sitecore vs Optimizely

12 July 2023

By: Christine Bookless, Sitecore Optimisation Lead, Sitecore MVP

Category: Blogs

When it comes to Sitecore and Optimizely, the initial similarities between the two platforms may catch your attention. Both Scandinavian-born companies with CMS backgrounds and ties to the Microsoft ecosystem seem comparable at first glance. However, a closer examination reveals the true distinctions that set them apart.

The real difference lies in their ability to empower content, marketing, and commerce teams to create personalised and memorable experiences that drive ROI. While Optimizely offers a full-suite solution with bundled functionalities, Sitecore takes a different approach. Recognising that one size doesn’t fit all, Sitecore allows you to build a tailored suite that meets your specific needs without unnecessary features or complex workarounds. With Sitecore, you can seamlessly add or remove solutions and functionalities, ensuring you always have the right tools at the right time without the hassle of painful upgrades or re-platforming.

Understanding the differences between Sitecore and Optimizely goes beyond a simple comparison chart. It requires a holistic view of each brand and what they offer.

Below, we will delve into five key differences that will help you assess which option aligns better with your unique requirements.

Empowering Brilliant Experiences with Relevant Content

In today’s digital landscape, creating content efficiently, bringing it to market swiftly, and optimising it seamlessly are crucial for brands to succeed. While Optimizely’s focus on content management has been evident, the recent merger with Episerver and the adoption of the Optimizely name have raised questions about their current product and capability focus.

Regardless of the details, one fact remains true; Optimizely, like any other content management system (CMS), allows you to write or upload content, format it, add headlines and images, and perform SEO tasks behind the scenes. However, these capabilities must be improved in a world driven by multi-device experiences and user-centric interactions. Digital marketing has evolved to encompass customer experience, mobile apps, the Internet of Things, and more.

With over 21 years of industry experience, Sitecore has consistently earned recognition as a CMS leader and leader in the DXP (Digital Experience Platform) and other domains.

Sitecore goes beyond traditional content management systems by offering templated layouts, pre-built components, visual editing, built-in personalisation, and other innovations that elevate content management to the next level. Sitecore’s CMS has evolved into a comprehensive SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution, setting the industry standard for content management. Sitecore’s robust analytics capabilities also give marketers and technologists valuable insights into customer behaviour and intent.

On the other hand, customisation can be challenging with Optimizely. Simple changes like adding a new template or content type or modifying column layouts often require developer intervention. Public reviews also highlight that Optimizely is better suited for websites with a basic blog or webpage focus or those looking to leverage a headless approach for only a fraction of the solution’s offerings.

Furthermore, Optimizely’s analytics capabilities could be improved, necessitating third-party tools like Google Analytics for meaningful metrics. While Sitecore integrates with Google Analytics, its analytics capabilities go beyond surface-level data, providing in-depth information about customer behaviour and intent.

At Sagittarius, we understand the importance of empowering brands with powerful content management and analytics capabilities. That’s why we confidently stand by Sitecore as the superior choice for businesses that strive to create exceptional digital experiences that drive results.

Image of a tablet being help up in front of a team, to depict "Empowering Brilliant Experiences"

Unleashing the Power of Composable SaaS Solutions

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, customer experience (CX) is pivotal in meeting present and future expectations. Embracing the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model has become a top priority for businesses, with 93% of CIOs adopting or planning to adopt SaaS solutions, as highlighted by a Deloitte survey. The key drivers behind this shift include agility and scalability.

At Sagittarius, we recognise the importance of staying ahead of the curve. That’s why Sitecore’s strategic acquisitions, extensive research and development efforts, and relentless pursuit of innovation revolve around helping our customers transition to the cloud. Sitecore offers a comprehensive range of SaaS solutions that surpass most other vendors. Our focus on composability has become central to our approach, empowering businesses to leverage composable SaaS digital experience solutions.

In contrast, the SaaS strategy of Optimizely remains to be seen. Although they refer to their products as “modules,” it is important not to mistake these modules for true composable solutions that seamlessly integrate with ease.

When it comes to genuine composability, the architecture of the platform plays a crucial role. With Sitecore, you can plug in or remove specific functionalities according to your evolving needs. Sitecore’s range of composable solutions includes CMS, DAM, content operations, marketing automation, testing and personalisation, commerce, and product search, all while offering a comprehensive Digital Experience Platform (DXP).

Forward-thinking companies are already embracing the SaaS model to ensure future readiness. With Sitecore, you can start small and gradually incorporate SaaS functionality as needed. Alternatively, you can seamlessly transition your entire DXP to SaaS today, with the flexibility to add or remove functionalities at any point. It is essential to evaluate whether Optimizely can offer the same level of adaptability and scalability.

Investing in a composable platform that effortlessly grows alongside your business is vital as you prepare for the future. Customer reviews indicate that Optimizely still needs to work on integration, making it imperative to question whether its platform and ecosystem can keep pace with market dynamics and evolving consumer demands. Take a moment to reflect on your digital aspirations and evaluate your confidence in Optimizely’s ability to support your long-term growth and transformation.

Image of a cloud with a slightly faded image of a laptop in the background to depict "Unleashing the Power of Composable SaaS Solutions"

Unparalleled Partner Support and Global Reach

Sitecore stands out from the competition with its robust partner ecosystem and extensive resources. Their network comprises over 500 partners and an impressive 20,000+ Sitecore-certified developers worldwide. This expansive ecosystem ensures that businesses have access to partners of various sizes equipped with the necessary resources and expertise to support their Sitecore implementation, regardless of their geographical location.

Sitecore offers a range of programs and resources to support its developer community and ensure customer success. Their MVP program recognises top contributors, fostering collaboration among developers. They also provide extensive training, support programs, and a technical consulting network to empower users and maximise their platform understanding. Additionally, Sitecore’s customer success teams and Sitecore 360 program offers personalised assistance, proactive monitoring, and tailored guidance for an enhanced support experience. These initiatives showcase Sitecore’s commitment to empowering developers and delivering exceptional customer support.

In contrast, the Optimizely ecosystem needs more skilled resources. While they boast a decent number of solution partners, it is crucial to consider the balance between quantity and quality. Optimizely’s partner program features five tiers, but only the top two, Premier Platinum and Platinum, which Optimizely defines as having “extensive” or “comprehensive” competency, product expertise, and implementation experience, consist of seven partners. Notably, four of these partners are located in the Nordics, with the remaining three based in the United States.

This poses challenges for Optimizely customers seeking the attention and support of top-tier partners, especially those in Southern Europe or the Asia-Pacific region. Unsurprisingly, many Optimizely customers report difficulties in implementing the platform and express dissatisfaction with the level of responsive support they receive.

Sitecore’s commitment to nurturing a large, dynamic partner ecosystem is evident in our ongoing investments in our partners, the MVP program, training and support initiatives, and more. By offering a comprehensive range of partnerships, Sitecore ensures that its customers receive unparalleled support throughout their Sitecore journey.

Image of a team all coming together for a team high-five to depict "Unparalleled Partner Support and Global Reach"

Tailored Solutions for Unparalleled Flexibility

Regarding digital experience solutions, Sitecore understands that there are better approaches than a one-size-fits-all approach. Unlike Optimizely, which offers an all-in-one approach, Sitecore provides a diverse range of solutions that can be customised to meet the unique needs of businesses. We offer full-suite Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) options and composable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. This level of flexibility empowers businesses to build a custom stack that seamlessly integrates with their existing technology stack, providing them with the functionality and adaptability required to thrive in their respective industries.

Optimizely, however, attempts to fit a square peg in a round hole. According to Gartner, marketers’ preference for integrated-suite approaches has declined to 29%. There are two primary reasons for this shift. Firstly, every brand and team operates differently, and a one-size-fits-all solution cannot effectively accommodate these diverse needs. Secondly, businesses need help to lock themselves into rigid, all-in-one solutions in our rapidly evolving world. The question is, are you willing to make that commitment? Because that’s precisely what Optimizely offers—an all-in-one Digital Experience Platform (DXP) with no real composable option.

While some may argue that selling customers monolithic solutions would make more sense, forcing them to pay for functionalities they don’t need; we take a different approach at Sagittarius. We focus on our customers’ long-term success and building enduring high-value relationships. We understand that composability is the future, but we also acknowledge that some businesses may not be ready for it yet. In contrast, others could still benefit from an all-inclusive solution.

That’s why Sitecore offer a full spectrum of options. For those who prefer a full-suite PaaS solution, Sitecore have that covered. However, for those who seek to construct their platform with solutions that seamlessly integrate with their existing stack, Sitecore provides composable SaaS solutions tailored to address specific business challenges. They offer these choices because they recognise that success is intricately tied to your success, not just your short-term profit.

After all, it’s your business, customers, and brand. You should be free to deliver exceptional customer experiences with the best tools for your teams and business objectives. Sitecore enables you to build a custom stack at your own pace and in a manner that best suits your unique requirements. Our solutions empower you to grow, evolve, and pivot in ways that Optimizely cannot match.

Image of a diverse team all stood over a table discussing plans to depict "Tailored Solutions for Unparalleled Flexibility"

Sitecore – Simplifying Your Day-to-Day Operations

Optimizely may boast about having “Content, Commerce, and Marketing on One Screen,” which can be appealing, especially for small and mid-market companies. However, the question arises: Is accessing that “one screen” as effortless as Optimizely claims? And does integrating everything onto a single screen indeed suffice?

When a company undergoes mergers and acquisitions, it becomes crucial to closely monitor how they integrate solutions and teams and continue to support their existing customers. As a company that has recently acquired four other companies, we understand the effort required to deliver a seamless experience from a product, service, and support standpoint.

Let’s take a look back at Optimizely’s history. Formerly known as Episerver, they acquired one of their competitors, Ektron, which didn’t proceed as smoothly as anticipated. The Ektron software was abruptly put on an end-of-life track, resulting in halted customer upgrades and forced migrations from Ektron to Episerver. Implementation partners needed clarification about the way forward. Acquisitions can pose challenges but can also be handled well by maintaining a strong focus on customer success, which requires a consistent experience.

In any business, mergers and acquisitions can introduce complexities that need careful management. At Sagittarius, we understand the effort required to deliver a seamless experience from a product, service, and support standpoint, especially when integrating different solutions and teams. Sitecore’s track record in this area has been commendable, ensuring smooth transitions and ongoing support for customers who have joined the Sitecore family through their acquisitions.

In contrast, Optimizely’s products tend to be more compartmentalised, lacking Sitecore’s seamless integration. Their products often require different tool logins, feature outdated interfaces in acquired products with limited development support, and rely on cumbersome workarounds for disjointed and disconnected functions.

With Sitecore, we have experienced firsthand the benefits of a unified experience that promotes collaboration between IT and business teams, simplifies the onboarding process, and enhances the day-to-day operations of all team members. Sitecore’s commitment to providing a seamless and integrated platform ensures that you can focus on what matters most – delivering exceptional digital experiences to your customers.

As our trusted partner, Sitecore offers a range of powerful tools and features that simplify content management, streamline marketing activities, and enable seamless e-commerce operations. Their robust integrations, comprehensive APIs, and user-friendly interfaces make it easier for our clients to manage their digital presence efficiently.

At Sagittarius, we value the partnership with Sitecore and the benefits it brings to our clients. By choosing Sitecore as our preferred CMS, we can confidently offer tailored solutions that simplify your day-to-day operations and empower you to deliver exceptional digital experiences to your customers. With Sitecore’s proven track record in successful integrations and ongoing support, you can trust that your transition and journey with us will be smooth and seamless.

Image of two women creating a kanban board using sticky notes to depict "Simplifying Your Day-to-Day Operations"

Conclusion

In conclusion, Sitecore’s longstanding leadership in the CMS market, focus on future-proof solutions, extensive partner ecosystem, flexibility in solution offerings, and ease of use make it a compelling choice over Optimizely. However, it is essential to acknowledge that Optimizely also has its strengths. By choosing Sitecore and partnering with Sagittarius for Sitecore support, businesses can benefit from a powerful and adaptable CMS platform that enables growth, customisation, and seamless customer experiences. Trust Sagittarius to guide you through your Sitecore journey and unlock the full potential of your digital presence.

 

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