Sitecore vs. Adobe: the Best Digital Experience Platform (DXP) in 2020

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Sitecore vs. Adobe: which is the best Digital Experience Platform (DXP)? For the second year in a row, Gartner has named Sitecore and Adobe the market’s absolute leaders, but these DXPs are by no means identical. One focuses on advanced e-Commerce functionality while the other prioritizes marketing, and that’s not the only difference between Sitecore and Adobe.

When choosing a digital experience platform (DXP), what should one consider? The answer is high efficiency in creating positive customer experiences, which is now the top priority for businesses. In this article, we compare Adobe Experience Platform vs. Sitecore Experience Platform to understand their strengths and shortcomings in relation to a number of important criteria.

However, by no means do we intend to persuade you that one digital experience platform has an edge on the other. Only the end customer can decide which one — Sitecore or Adobe — is best for them, based on the company’s resources, goals and technical capabilities.

So, let’s dive in!

Functionality

For starters, let’s check out what both Sitecore and Adobe offer in more detail.

Sitecore

Created as a content management system back in 2001, Sitecore CMS has evolved into a comprehensive DXP by now — Sitecore Experience Cloud. It is an all-in-one content, e-Commerce and customer experience personalization platform that combines the following products:

  • Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) — a powerful marketing solution for intelligent content management that creates individually tailored customer experiences
  • Sitecore Experience Commerce (XC) — an enterprise-level platform that blends company’s e-Commerce processes with its content and user data to create bespoke shopping experiences
  • Sitecore Content Hub — all company’s marketing content brought together to enable frictionless omnichannel content delivery
  • Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) — a tried-and-true solution for seamless omnichannel content management

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Although these solutions can work separately, they are easy to integrate, and together they provide an incredible business value.

The following video provides a quick overview of the capabilities of Sitecore Experience Cloud:

Adobe

Another powerful DXP, Adobe Experience Cloud (AEC) is an offspring of Adobe Inc., a company that created Photoshop, Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Flash, Adobe Creative Suite and other solutions. AEC, previously known as Adobe Marketing Cloud (AMC), focuses on creating frictionless customer experience and provides an all-in-one set of the following tools and components:

  • Adobe Experience Manager — a solution for flawless management of content and digital assets powered by customer-specific content delivery
  • Adobe Campaign — a marketing solution for the omnichannel delivery of individually tailored content
  • Adobe Audience Manager — a data management platform for advanced audience segmentation
  • Adobe Advertising Cloud — an ad management platform that consolidates all media assets, inventory and data
  • Adobe Target — an experience personalization and optimization solution
  • Adobe Analytics — a tool that collects data from every point of the customer journey to perform its all-round analysis and reporting on results
  • Commerce Cloud — a capability powered by Adobe’s integration with Magento Commerce
  • Marketo Engage — the 2018 acquisition of Marketo, a marketing automation software company, has enabled Adobe to harmonize marketing and sales

Adobe-Experience-Cloud-components-image

Watch the following video for a quick guide on the capabilities of Adobe Experience Cloud:

The Bottom Line

Both Sitecore and Adobe do their best to help businesses provide unmatched customer experiences, streamline their internal processes and facilitate analytics. With powerful CMSs at the core — Adobe Experience Manager vs Sitecore Experience Manager — the DXPs are not identical.

With its extensive set of purpose-built proprietary marketing automation solutions, Adobe centers around advanced marketing capabilities, while Sitecore has its Sitecore Experience Platform for the same purposes.

At the same time, Sitecore is more about seamless buyer experiences. It has created its proprietary comprehensive e-Commerce platform that can exist on its own or as part of a bigger system, while Adobe lacks its own e-Commerce solution.

Technical Implementation

Having a variety of useful features is great, but do they work in such a way that businesses can get the most out of them? Let’s figure it out!

Sitecore

Sitecore is an extremely integrated platform and, to a large extent, it is the result of its technological consistency. All Sitecore products are based on the same development framework — .NET — and they all use Sitecore Experience Database as the customer data management platform. Enabled by the xConnect service layer, a single Sitecore API framework provides seamless connection between Sitecore products and external MarTech systems.

Sitecore-based development is flexible, which is particularly useful for companies that need to create a solution in full compliance with their requirements. However, on the flipside of flexibility, development requires considerable programming as the out-of-the-box version is crude and requires proper fine-tuning.

As to the solution’s scalability, Sitecore’s PaaS enables ramping up as the number of users increases, which improves flexibility and does not require companies to maintain physical servers in their offices.

Adobe

By contrast with Sitecore, Adobe is not that consistent. The company has acquired numerous solutions that are very different by their nature, and now its Experience Cloud is a hotch-potch of loosely coupled architectures, languages, APIs and data management systems.

Technological heterogeneousness significantly complicates integration between the company’s solutions, which increases the cost, amount of time and level of complexity of the process and hinders scaling. Upgrading Adobe is an issue as it requires careful initial backup; otherwise, it may result in damage and data loss. Backup is another issue.

Also, because of the technological heterogeneousness, the hunt for subject-matter developers is a challenge.

The Bottom Line

The technical implementation of a solution that is based on Sitecore is more streamlined and less nerve-racking than that of a solution based on Adobe. To run a Sitecore-based corporate system, .NET expertise is enough.

With Adobe, it is most likely that a company will have to move far beyond one programming language or development platform. Such complexity also affects development experts, as they will incessantly face a lot of challenging issues. Also, in the case of Adobe, scaling and upgrading pose issues.

Usability

After we have gotten an idea of how the two systems work for companies’ development teams, let’s look at them through the lens of system users — content managers, publishers, sales managers, marketers and others.

Sitecore

Sitecore’s look and feel is unified, consistent and user-friendly. The platform’s administration is easy; it does not require programming skills; a common user with basic computer knowledge can do it.

The system enables distributed content management — multiple users can access, share and mastermind data simultaneously, and it will not trigger content loss and the system’s speed to drop or experience downtime.

Adobe

The feature that makes Adobe stand out is that it allows maintaining the same look and feel across all parts of the company’s system from a single location. It means that system components can be accessed and masterminded from a single platform, which contributes to more efficient system performance, less time for personnel training and faster content delivery.

Separate client-side libraries enable distributed content management —simultaneous work of multiple teams. The system’s friendly UI allows its users with little to no subject-matter knowledge to manage content easily. Real-time updates contribute to a real “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) experience, which provides a clear idea of the website’s look and feel.

The Bottom Line

If properly customized, both platforms perform efficiently and add value to businesses. They are user-friendly and provide easy and consistent content management, while their e-Commerce and marketing functionality are intuitive.

End Users’ Experience

With both vendors focusing on positive user experience as their ultimate goal, let’s figure out whether they succeed in satisfying their end customers.

Sitecore

What is so different about this platform? Unparalleled content personalization that is perfectly blended with user-specific shopping experiences makes it stand out from the crowd. No other DXP can boast the ability to adjust content to specific user groups that is comparable to that of Sitecore.

The system provides personalized, contextual data throughout the entire customer journey based on advanced marketing automation tools, analytics and targeting that are based on machine learning. So, customers get content that perfectly suits their needs and interests, without having to make any choices — Sitecore makes them on their behalf.

Moreover, its headless CMS allows companies to provide their content to users via a wide variety of channels, which further improves customer experience.

Adobe

Adobe also prioritizes user experiences, which is why they nurtured a powerful AI-based content personalization engine — Adobe Target. It provides intelligent omnichannel personalization, reliable A/B and multivariate testing, and enables scaling the results.

Adobe Sensei uses machine learning and artificial intelligence best practices and powers enhanced targeting and the creation of realistic content. Advanced analytics of cross-channel user data, as well as intelligent decision-making that enables delivery of user-specific content and user journeys orchestration based on the Real-Time Customer Profile.

Just like with Sitecore, Adobe’s headless CMS delivers content delivery via various channels.

The Bottom Line

Both Adobe and Sitecore fit the bill for companies that require outstanding customer experiences, and the one-of-the-kind content personalization capabilities is one of their pillars.

Adobe-vs-Sitecore-comparison-table

Partner Support

Finding an expert project implementation partner guarantees that a business makes the most use of its investment. That is why the way a vendor supports its partner network is another aspect we would like to explore.

Sitecore

Sitecore puts a lot of effort in developing its partner network and streamlining cooperation both within and with its partners so that end customers have positive Sitecore experience. The Sitecore partner network is widespread and includes various levels of partnership, which is why every business, regardless of its specifics and location, will get the required support. Also, to ensure the best results, Sitecore takes an active part in creating a project roadmap for each of its end customers.

The vendor nurtures ongoing professional growth among developers, which translates into a higher quality of Sitecore products and better addressing of customer problems. That is why there are numerous initiatives, such as networks for technical consulting, support and training and the MVP program.

Adobe

As we said before, Adobe implementation is quite a demanding task technologically, so a business should anticipate the need for all-around vendor support. However, Adobe’s partner network lacks proper interaction between the vendor and its implementation partners, which negatively affects end customer projects. Also, the vendor does not provide proper support for the developer community.

The Bottom Line

Sitecore has built a well-orchestrated partner network that helps it be by its end customers’ side throughout project implementation and even after project completion. In the case of Adobe, there is still room for improvement: the vendor and its partner network work in silos.

Cost

For many companies, the price is an important determinant, so let’s investigate this aspect.

Sitecore

Sitecore is a high-cost solution. As it usually happens in software development, the cost depends greatly on the company’s business specifics and requirements. However, irrespective of specifics, a Sitecore-based solution comes at a high price. Also, a per-user licensing aggravates the situation, and companies with a broad reach may consider this pricing model unsuitable, as it significantly increases the overall cost.

Adobe

The cost of an Adobe-based solution is also extremely high. Naturally, it depends heavily on customer requirements, but in the case of Adobe, it never comes cheap: an average project usually runs six figures.

Another important aspect is that Adobe’s partner ecosystem is commission-based, which pushes up the cost of project implementation.

The Bottom Line

Both solutions are expensive, but a Sitecore-based solution is a little more affordable.

Use Cases

So, based on all the factors that we have previously explored, what companies will benefit from these solutions the most?

Sitecore

The high cost and the necessity to turn to professional service providers is weighed against extraordinary personalization and advanced e-Commerce functionality that Sitecore Experience Cloud provides to businesses. High personalization is especially relevant to businesses that deliver their services and products to highly diversified markets.

Only mid-market and enterprise-level companies can afford to bear considerable license costs and the solution’s customization and configuration in return for the capability to approach their users in a more individual way.

Adobe

The high cost of the system’s implementation significantly narrows the circle of its prospective customers. Of all the businesses that can afford Adobe Experience Cloud, this DXP is an obvious solution for companies that run large websites, share large amounts of data and require extraordinary marketing capabilities.

Sitecore vs. Adobe: the Table-View Comparison

To gain a 360-degree overview of the differences between Sitecore and Adobe DXPs and their similarities, we have created a comparative table.

Adobe vs. Sitecore comparison

Sitecore Experience CloudAdobe Experience Cloud
Content management functionalityOutstanding

Sitecore Experience Manager

Outstanding

Adobe Experience Manager

E-Commerce functionalityOutstanding

Sitecore Experience Commerce

Advanced

Powered by the integration with Magento Commerce

Marketing automation functionalityOutstanding

Sitecore Experience Platform

Outstanding

Adobe Campaign, Adobe Audience Manager, Adobe Advertising Cloud, Adobe Target, Marketo Engage

Functional capabilitiesFeature-rich functionality

A wide range of features that are available after proper customization

Feature-rich functionality

A wide range of features that are available after proper customization

Implementation processDifficult and time-consuming, requires IT expertiseDifficult and time-consuming implementation, requires IT expertise

Hindered by technological heterogeneousness

Integration with other vendor productsOutstanding

The same programming language and customer data management platform

Powered by xConnect

Poor

Hindered by technological heterogeneousness

ScalabilityOutstanding

Available via the PaaS

Poor
Look and feelOutstanding

Consistent and user-friendly

Outstanding

Consistent and user-friendly

WYSIWYGOutstandingOutstanding
UX & UIFriendly

System administration does not require programming skills

Friendly

System administration does not require programming skills

Distributed content managementAvailableAvailable
Content personalizationOutstandingOutstanding
Headless CMSAvailableAvailable
Partner network supportAdvancedPoor
CostVery high

Per-user licensing

Very high

Commission-based partner ecosystem

SEO- and SMM-friendlinessAdvancedAdvanced

Deciding Between Adobe and Sitecore: a Few Hints to Help You

Both systems have much in common, such as their broad-spectrum functionality, advanced personalization, powerful performance and, unfortunately, high cost and implementational complexity. Also, there are certain distinctions that can be crucial depending on a company’s requirements and expectations.

When our customers ask us which DXP will better serve them, we usually recommend looking at their project requirements and expectations from a solution. If e-Commerce capabilities are essential for you, then you should choose Sitecore; in case marketing automation is your top priority, opt for Adobe. In either case, it is also important to keep in mind the weaknesses that both solutions have.

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About the author

Yuliya Shaptunova
Yuliya Shaptunova

A content writer at SaM Solutions, Yuliya is anxious to create and deliver relevant experiences. She evangelizes corporate knowledge on expertise and innovations that the company provides.