SDL Tridion vs Sitecore

SDL Tridion vs Sitecore
24th June 2019

Which website platform is best for enterprises?

Comparing CMS platforms can be a daunting task for organisations looking to take the next step in their digital transformation programme. Investing in digital infrastructure takes a lot of thought – and rightly so. When pitting powerful global platforms like SDL Tridion vs Sitecore there are multiple aspects to consider that can help businesses make the right decision about which platforms is best for them. Find out which platform is best suited to help your organisation reach its digital goals, SDL Tridion or Sitecore?

Round one: hosting and architecture

Both SDL Tridion and Sitecore are Microsoft .Net Applications that designate different roles for parts of the application such as ‘content authoring’ and ‘content delivery’. Sitecore is a far more granular division of labour – with nearly 40 separate roles capable of being run independently.

SDL Tridion is capable of being hosted on premise or in the cloud through public cloud platforms like Azure, AWS or GCP. When cloud hosting, SDL Tridion requires a full Virtual Machine to run and so is only suited to an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud hosting model.

Sitecore on the other hand is optimised for cloud hosting on Azure and works brilliantly on premise or on another cloud platform. To get the most out of the platform, its recommended to run Sitecore on Azure. A huge advantage of Sitecore is that its compatible with IaaS and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) hosting models. PaaS has a reputation for being a more flexible, cost effective and scalable hosting model that really gets the most from cloud hosting.

For SDL Tridion to run on PaaS would require a lot of work to split the application up into smaller parts/roles. The main architectural difference between SDL Tridion vs Sitecore is that Sitecore is much more flexible. Enterprises looking for a reliable and versatile platform would be best suited with Sitecore.

Winner: Sitecore

Round two – WYSIWYG editing of content

Sitecore’s Experience Editor is a market leading WYSIWYG editing interface. It allows almost full control of Sitecore’s functionality though a visual interface, that gives a true representation of the end experience. It allows tests and personalisation rules to be added to page components and for editors to cycle through these versions, so they can see what any visitor will see.

SDL Tridion has a similar tool called Experience Manager which has recently been overhauled to bring it closer to the Sitecore Experience Editor. In terms of functionality there isn’t much difference. SDL Tridion lacks any drag and drop of components from a tool box unlike in Sitecore SXA. However, it is possible that this functionality is available as an open source add on for SDL Tridion.

Winner: Draw

Round three – personalisation

Sitecore has market leading personalisation capabilities that are driven by data held within Sitecore xDB. This powerful Sitecore feature can hold lots of unstructured data and can process high volumes of user data. This provides organisations with useful insights about their website visitors and segment which enables marketers to create great user experiences that generate meaningful results. Sitecore’s advanced algorithms calculate scores over multiple dimensions to make 1-1 personalisation possible that boost engagement through showing relevant, timely content throughout each user journey.

SDL Tridion’s personalisation capabilities work in a similar way to Sitecore’s. The difference is in how many variables can be considered about any particular user. SDL Tridion uses a simpler data store in comparison to Sitecore xDB that operates in terms of keys and values. Although customers can be differentiated by one or more of these dimensions, this is still one to many personalisation and it lack’s the sophistication of Sitecore personalisation.

Winner: Sitecore

Round four – integrations

Both platforms are designed for enterprise use. It’s not surprising then that both take integration seriously and have frameworks that can be customised and integrated with third-party software. Another similarity in the SDL Tridion vs Sitecore comparison, is that they both provide connectors for popular CRM and MA platforms like Salesforce and are equally flexible enough to be integrated in the architectural style that suits your business.

There’s no clear winner on this aspect, both products take integration seriously and work better in conjunction with other enterprise level systems.

Winner: Draw

Round five – artificial intelligence and machine learning

SDL was originally a translation company, and Tridion shows these hallmarks throughout. When it comes to use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the platform, SDL Tridion focus on their speciality. The platform prides itself on being a leader in translation and content AI. It claims a 15 year history of harnessing the power of AI in its translation services which positions SDL Tridion as being proficient in AI, however with a relatively narrow application.

Sitecore on the other hand is using artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) in different ways through the Sitecore Cortex functionality. Sitecore applies AI to xDB data and looks for insight that humans may miss or not have time for. In addition to natural language processing, this insight can make suggestions on customer segments that may be under or over served by your content, segments that are being missed completely and opportunities for optimisations.

SDL Tridion vs Sitecore for AI and ML is a tough fight and both have solid approaches.  SDL Tridion has a narrow, but more established approach, whilst Sitecore’s is much broader. It’s clear that both parties aim to make it easier for the user to get more from their system, however the potential value of contextual insight offered by Sitecore Cortex just tips the balance in Sitecore’s favour.

Winner: Sitecore

Round six – time to market

Enterprise platforms like SDL Tridion and Sitecore offer huge power from their flexibility. However, this flexibility means that when users install these products, they don’t actually get much to look at. As a consequence, the whole site needs to be designed, built, tested, approved and deployed. Some digital partners can achieve a lot in a short space of time, but do the platforms themselves provide any support to increase time to market?

Both platforms have accelerator products available to them. SDL Tridion have DXA (Digital Experience Accelerator) and an open source community product called DD4T. Recently these products have started to overlap, with SDL Tridion officially recognising the popularity of the DD4D product.

Sitecore has a similar story. For years, lots of top tier Sitecore Partners, like Kagool, developed their own accelerators. Then Sitecore purchased one of these and integrated it into the core product and now SXA is an established product and feature rich. The maturity of this, puts Sitecore ahead of SDL Tridion in this category for enterprises that are keen to advance quickly.

Winner: Sitecore

The champion of SDL Tridion vs Sitecore is…

If your organisation is digitally ambitious and looking to drive your business forward quickly with a flexible and robust platform, Sitecore is a great choice for you.

If you’re business doesn’t require a powerful range of features, but would prefer a basic approach to creating personalised user experiences, then SDL Tridion would be a suitable option for your enterprise.

Contact us today to book your Sitecore demo or read more about Sitecore vs other platforms in our CMS comparison guide.