Whilst we have worked with Kentico in the past we believe Episerver is simply a stronger platform for the projects that we undertake for our customers.

We do not wish to detail a “feature battle” between Kentico and Episerver but we hope that the following points should demonstrate a few areas where we feel Episerver is stronger.

These are our own opinions based on years of experience working on both platforms and we are happy to be challenged on any of the points made.

CMS & Digital Marketing Features and Functionality

The Episerver platform is currently regarded as one of the most user friendly and intuitive in the marketplace. This is substantiated by leading analysts such as Gartner and Forrestor. The recent release of Episerver 7 has dramatically improved the user interface even more – putting the content completely in focus and delivering extremely strong support for multi-channel, mobile and personalisation views.

The new UI is designed in such a way that delivering structured and unstructured content is extremely easy. Creating calls to action around core content is a simple drag and drop operation, users can then get an understanding (from front to back on the site journey) how that content will look for personalised user groups and customers on various devices.  Episerver natively supports responsive design via a series of HTML 5 and Twitter Bootstrap based templates.

Episerver Inline Editing View versus Kentico Web Part View

In our opinion, the comparative content management interfaces are nowhere near as intuitive, flexible, rich or powerful.

Episerver’s interfaces are designed for use by marketing teams and are largely based around on screen editing and drag and drop interfaces and whilst carrying out basic functions in Kentico is reasonably easy, it becomes extremely difficult to use advanced functionality such as marketing tools, personalisation and mail systems as you will need to use Macro statements to carry out basic tasks – making this a task for those with basic programming skills only as a minimum. Please view the following demo of the personalisation tools as an example.

The same principles apply for all elements of the marketing suite:

One other key area in which Episerver supports our customers requirement more effectively is in the delivery of Multi-Lingual Content. Maintaining variants of languages and delivering fall back language content is well supported in Episerver – including in Episerver Commerce.

In terms of scalability under load, Kentico list that they have tested their CMS solution up to 12,000 concurrent sessions. Episerver have successfully performance tested well in advance of that and we are given confidence by household brands and high street retailers completing 000’s of Commerce transactions per hour at peak times of the year. Whilst extremely high volume of traffic may not seem entirely relevant to most of our clients right now, we believe they should be building for an optimised journey even during responses to hugely successful campaigns which create could spikes in traffic.

Episerver Content Blocks versus Kentico Web Parts

In this area, both CMS’ offer similar functionality, but this is a great example of the execution and richness of the user experience. In Episerver the management of blocks is a marketing person’s role and is a simple drag and drop. Please review the following videos as a comparison:

Episerver: http://youtu.be/QDMmpaQS_t4
Kentico:

 http://devnet.kentico.com/Videos/How-to-series/How-To-Using-Data-Source-Web-Parts.aspx  (Go to 1 minutes 30 seconds and watch for a minute or two)

Content blocks are a powerful mechanism with which you will be able to optimise the user journey, create your marketing campaigns and drive conversion. This is an important principle and one which our clients in Ireland and the UK believe is extremely strong within the Episerver CMS Platform.

Following on from our last post we would like to detail a few further reasons why we prefer the Episerver CMS platform over Kentico CMS.

Marketing & Analytics

The general marketing approach in Kentico is based on a 1-1 marketing relationship between the website owner and the customer. This is based on lead scoring which is linked to activity on the website against various conversion points. Whilst this can be powerful for instance in a business to business environment where there are relatively low levels of traffic and high value prospects and transactions this usual isn’t necessary for a lot of our customers and we find it to be unmanageable over a long term basis.

The Episerver approach is to define customer segments based on implied and explicitly defined preferences such as inbound search keyword, URL, types of pages consumed, items added to a commerce basket, etc. The system is designed in such a way that marketers can easily define broader criteria based customer segments (visitor groups) and to deliver content and campaigns directly to these groups in real time and automatically.

User Interfaces for Marketing

In terms of the user interfaces provided to utilize marketing capabilities and manage the associated campaigns the Episerver interface is much superior and fully formed “utilizing” on page drag and drop functions, whereas Kentico relies upon the marketer creating complex macros within the web parts and relating these to renders and the underlying CRM. Furthermore reuse of web parts and personalization throughout the Kentico website is not a simple task and the process has to be repeated multiple times. In Episerver the sticky preview is a valuable tool that can easily give the marketer / content creator an end to end view of a campaign and user journey across all visitor groups, channels, devices, languages, and markets.

Setting up visitor groups in Episerver

Analytics (Build or Integrate)

It is our understanding that Kentico has based its analytics on an in-house developed analytics engine which offers minimal reporting, which supports their 1 – 1 lead scoring marketing approach.  Episerver has integrated the world’s leading analytics provider (Google) within the CMS and has provided various interfaces to expose the necessary reporting tools, interfaces, and data during the content management process and within campaign optimization mode.  We believe the right approach is to align with the market leader in analytics and search engine data.

Commerce

In our opinion, this is the key area in which Episerver stands head and shoulders above Kentico.

The Episerver Commerce platform is an Enterprise Level Commerce platform, currently powering commerce sites for major retailers such as M&S, Hallmark and IKEA. However, this does not mean that Episerver Commerce is out of reach for most companies across Ireland and the UK in terms of licensing, implementation costs or total cost of ownership – in fact – much the opposite. In our opinion, the Kentico Commerce offering is a simple shopping cart and when compared with the Episerver offering lacks a lot of the out of the box functionality required in enterprise eCommerce.

At Engage we feel there are major concerns over the extensibility and scalability of the Kentico Commerce platform to meet the more complex commerce requirements of an enterprise eCommerce project, both now and for the future, whilst Episerver Commerce is designed for exactly these scenarios – as can be demonstrated within the Business Foundation Objects functionality. This removes, cost, risk and time from the project and enables customers to achieve the exact functionality required – as opposed to the closest fit within Kentico.

Examples of areas which are more advanced in Episerver:
Functional Area: Episerver Features:
Product / Catalogue Configuration & Management Episerver offers a range of tools to enable the creation of various product types within the commerce administration area using the Meta Classes and Fields within Business Foundations. In most cases, this means we can not only create the specific customer required fields, but also to consider the creation of additional (potentially affiliate) products and services which may be sold as part of the single basket.We can do all of this without customising the core product and therefore create efficiencies, remove risk and ensure that we can easily make use of the product upgrade path at minimal cost.In our opinion, having recently worked with Kentico in an effort to achieve similar functionality, the product is not sufficiently flexible to support an efficient build without significant customisation and extension using custom .NET.

Episerver offers a market leading interface for integrating Commerce related products within digital marketing content. This is achieved in a drag and drop interface, enabling marketers to drag individual products, product categories and listings or entire catalogues onto a page.

In terms of product management and presentation the drag and drop content blocks mentioned above includes Commerce functionality such as products and product lists.

Customer Management Episerver provides extensive support for B2B functionality and when combined Episerver Community, creates a CRM for Organisations (sub-organisations), Contacts within Organisations and Customers.A major benefit of the Episerver Customer Mgt area is the ability to use data held within the customer profile such as Wish Lists and / or Abandoned Cart items to drive email marketing and or on site personalisation using simple drag and drop interfaces.
Promotions and Discounts Another area which will enable our customers to drive conversion is the rules based Promotions and Discounts functionality. This enables us to easily build Purchase Conditions (Spend over £50 or Book 3 Nights) and to link this directly to rewards (Get £5 Off or Get 1 Night Free) – using simple expression builders.
Multi-Market Episerver Commerce introduces a concept of Markets. Markets can be made up of a combination of countries and regions and can be used to provide a more optimised journey than the standard multi-lingual approach.The multi-market approach enables us to define catalogues, currencies, payment providers, checkout processes and any other settings or workflows based on market preferences.For example, we may decide that in the US we offer payment gateways 1, 2,3 and 5 whilst in Germany and Benelux we only offer 2 & 4. This allows you to focus on each market and optimise conversion for each. Episerver supports the integration of 185 payment providers around the world as standard. You simply need to select the ones you want and register an account.
Integration and Extension Episerver Commerce contains a number of sub system for customer, catalogue, order, promotion, assets, and reporting. Each of these sub systems is supported by a range of extensive and robust API’s which enable extensibility and integration as required. This will be extremely beneficial to any of our customers that require integration with any existing Web Services.

 

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