Insights

Sitecore vs Adobe Experience Manager

Find out whether Sitecore or AEM is better for your business.

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Sitecore and Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) are arguably the two most popular enterprise level web content management systems. For many years Gartner has named them both the top leaders in the digital experience platform space.

To help you decide whether Sitecore or AEM is better for your business, we’ve outlined the major differences between the two platforms in this blog. We’ve also provided some insights into which might be the better choice for your business, depending on what you’re after from a digital experience platform.



Platform Offerings

Adobe

  • Adobe Experience Manager
  • Adobe Campaign
  • Adobe Advertising Cloud
  • Adobe Audience Manager
  • Adobe Target
  • Adobe Analytics
  • Magento Commerce Cloud
  • Marketo Engagement Platform
  • Adobe Primetime

Sitecore

  • Sitecore Experience Manager
  • Sitecore Experience Platform
  • Sitecore Content Hub
  • Sitecore Experience Commerce

Adobe Experience Manager Adobe Experience Manager has split their offerings into 9 different options, separating key marketing features like analytics and campaigns as separate “products” to purchase. While this would be great for someone who only wants one feature, for example Adobe Analytics, if you want the full marketing package, you have to purchase these features separately with Adobe, rather than buying them as a package.

Sitecore Sitecore offers 4 different product offerings under “Sitecore Experience Cloud”. Having only four offerings to choose from is great because it packages up features so you don’t have to spend additional costs on purchasing them separately, as well as time and resources to configure all the platforms to work together. If your business wants the full marketing platform package with a CMS, personalization, analytics, marketing automation, and email management Sitecore Experience Platform gives you all these features in one platform with Sitecore XP.

Technology

AEM

  • Source code: Open Source
  • Web framework: Apache Sling
  • Programming language: Java
  • Database server: Java Content Repository, which supports a variety of data storage types

Sitecore

  • Source code: Commercial
  • Web framework: Microsoft ASP.NET
  • Programming language: C#
  • Database server: MS SQL

Adobe Since Adobe has acquired a number of different systems, Adobe Experience Cloud is made up of a number of different languages and databases making it harder to use from a development perspective, with developers likely to face issues as they attempt to develop across numerous languages and platforms. This can make Adobe more costly, time consuming and complex to develop for.

Sitecore All of Sitecore’s product offerings are built on the ASP.NET framework. Development for Sitecore is flexible, and great for businesses that require a custom solution with custom development. However this means that development requires a large amount of programming, rather than just running with Sitecore out of the box. While Adobe uses a number of languages, Sitecore is an easier and more cost effective platform to develop on, as having .NET expertise is enough to develop across all platforms.

Personalization/Marketing features

AEM

  • Unmatched analytics features
  • All marketing features sold separately

Sitecore

  • Unmatched personalization features
  • All marketing features are included in XP

Adobe When it comes to marketing features, Adobe has Adobe Target (for A/B and multivariate tests), Adobe Campaign (campaign rules-based creator), Adobe Analytics (reporting and predictive intelligence) and Audience Manager. While personalization is not Adobe’s strength, Adobe is often praised for the extent of analytics features in Adobe Analytics - giving marketers a deep insight into performance displayed in a user-friendly and useful way, while also allowing marketers to use machine learning and targeting to reach their audiences. Keep in mind that with Adobe Experience Manager, you will need to purchase these features separately.

Sitecore No digital experience platform comes close to matching Sitecore’s personalization features. Sitecore’s extensive ability to dynamically change content depending on who is viewing it is unmatched by any of its competitors. Sitecore’s Experience Platform provides marketers with the ability to apply personalization, marketing automation, A/B and multivariate testing, and more within the one platform.

Ease of use

AEM

  • Great for businesses with large design teams that want to pull designs from Adobe’s creative suite without leaving the one platform.

Sitecore

  • Great for businesses with multiple content authors as it allows for multiple users authoring and editing in Sitecore at the same time.

Adobe Adobe’s platforms maintain the same sleek look and allow users to edit content across all of Adobe’s platforms in the one place. This means that the website content authoring team can pull designs from Adobe’s creative suite without leaving the one platform. Adobe also has a WYSIWYG editor, and intuitive UI that makes it easy to use from a content authoring perspective.

Sitecore From a content author perspective, Sitecore’s platforms are easy to use and intuitive, with a consistent look and feel. A WYSIWYG editor and smart forms creator means that you do not need to be a developer to create, manage and publish content in Sitecore. Sitecore also allows for multiple users authoring and editing in Sitecore at the same time.

Costs

AEM

  • In the higher price tier of enterprise-level CMS market

Sitecore

  • Price is competitive in enterprise space

Adobe Adobe sits in the higher price tier of the enterprise-level CMS market, with projects usually costing in the six figures. Adobe’s 100 biggest clients are said to pay approximately $5 million annually for the company’s Experience Cloud products. Read more here. Their commission based partner ecosystem increases the cost of implementation, and some of the difficulties of developing on the Adobe platform can negatively impact your development costs.

Sitecore Sitecore’s pricing is competitive in the enterprise space when compared with Adobe, however requires the purchase of a license since Sitecore is built with commercial source code. Since Sitecore is an easier platform to develop on, with a more active community, you’ll end-up saving on development costs by going with Sitecore, especially if you go with a team of knowledgeable and experienced Sitecore developers like ours at Fishtank Consulting. To find out more about Sitecore pricing, click here.

Community / Support

AEM

  • Poorly integrated partner network and inactive community

Sitecore

  • Large and very active partner and support network

Adobe Adobe’s user community and partner support network is much less developed than Sitecores and does not actively encourage contribution to the community. The partner network is also poorly integrated, which can have a negative impact on projects and the lack of sufficient developer documentation can make it difficult for developers to succeed with projects on Adobe Experience Platform.

Sitecore Sitecore has a large and very active partner and support network, offering incentives to Sitecore users for contributing to the Sitecore community. Sitecore also comes with a service level agreement (SLA) that provides catered support to you as a Sitecore client.

Partners like us, frequently post Sitecore blogs with helpful content and technical support, and there are a lot of Sitecore specific forums, a Sitecore Stack Exchange, an active Sitecore Slack channel, a community portal, a GitHub repository, and many online and location specific user groups.

The Best Option For Your Business

If your business is focused on customer experience, lead generation and has multiple personas or target audiences, Sitecore would be the best option for your business. Sitecore's personalization features are unmatched in the digital experience platform space, complimenting any strategic content and persona marketing strategy. Sitecore is a more affordable platform and allows you have access to all marketing features with Sitecore XP. It's best to take advantage of a certified Sitecore partner like Fishtank Consulting to help you develop, deploy and get the most out of Sitecore. Email us to get started.

If your business is focused on design and branding, AEM would be an attractive option. The seamless experience across all of Adobe's creative suite products straight from the CMS makes Adobe a better choice for businesses who focus heavily on design aesthetic and branding. Adobe's analytics features are also great for businesses who want a deep insight into website behaviour. However it's important to keep in mind the technical difficulties you could face, and the high cost when choosing AEM as your digital experience platform.

Have further questions? Feel free to reach out at [email protected].