Inspired by this post Why is Sitecore getting so popular nowadays leaving Umbraco and Sharepoint behind I decided to explore further the reasons I think both CMS solutions can actually live happily as an eco-system as opposed to be considered competing.
First of all, I actively use both Umbraco and Sitecore as CMS solutions (though I get less call for Umbraco these days due to commercial reasons). I like both for their different reasons. I won’t even get into the reasons that Sharepoint sucks :D.
What Marina is saying is (in my opinion) true in that; I agree that Umbraco TENDS to be smaller scale implementations. I would debate the level at which that cross over between the likes of Umbraco and Sitecore are cost efficient to clients. Bear in mind – Umbraco has some big(ish) players in the marketplace, notably off the top of my head (previous or current) Heinz, Sandisk, Peugeot and Microsoft’s own http://www.asp.net.
In my opinion as a developer, Umbraco is quicker to set up, develop with in general as it is FAR less complex than Sitecore, it is almost a ‘purer’ CMS. Given that many of the clients I have worked with seem to only keep their Sites in production for 2 – 3 years without some kind of refresh, if they were to outgrow Umbraco, they hopefully would then be generating the additional revenue required for a Sitecore implementation, but as I will explain, I think kind of like fish in a pond, Umbraco has plenty to gain from Sitecore drawing attention to the .Net CMS market as Sitecore does from Umbraco.
I would also say there are several other considerations when decisions are made by key project stake holders. Right now, due to the Sitecore’s growing popularity, demand for Sitecore resource is going up and I have seen a growing trend of permanent Sitecore developers going freelance, this also potentially leads to training of existing resource, only to watch them elect for greener grass.
This equates to a larger development cost for clients either due to Sitecore partners (or the client themselves) having to turn to more expensive freelance resource (in my experience, the rates for Freelance Sitecore resource are greater than that of Umbraco due to the more Enterprise level clients). Add to this, the lead times for these resources I believe to be growing not shrinking, so this in turn leads to opportunity cost. Umbraco is a long established product with (in the UK last time I checked) more certified resource available at a lower cost, this factors nicely into the overall budget.
It is also my experience where some 3 or 4 implementations I have been involved with, that have been sold by Sitecore partners for solutions that Umbraco would have handled comfortably also with similar levels of customisation required, by the time you have considered the additional work to ensure good page editor experience etc, Umbraco can compare favourably.
I think the biggest differentiation I have found for costing comes when you try to make Umbraco multi-lingual. Supporting using multiple trees is great, but I believe that Sitecore pretty much owns in this area of the two. The other major consideration is the additional ‘value-added’ tools Sitecore offers, Experience platform etc.
I guess it all comes back down to picking the right tool for the job. Sitecore can easily be a Sledgehammer to crack a nut.
It is my opinion that Umbraco still offers a great solution for small to medium enterprise who need a website that they can manage themselves. Generally there development cost will often be lower, the level of choice of suppliers may well be greater and the level of knowledge of the product in house, less. If you are looking at a more serious solution, consider Sitecore as the more serious ‘Enterprise’ product with the support (and sometimes cost) that it brings.
This said, anything that either do (along with other competitor products) bring to the .Net stack CMS solutions, will inevitably benefit the others. If a company director see’s Sitecore running but can’t afford the relative cost difference, a small amount of research may well lead them to smaller players such as Umbraco / Kentico / Orchard. In turn, those who find Umbraco may well start to look around for more value added features.
So I definitely liken it to this, sure a machete will cut fishing line, but so will a knife. You wanna hack the branches away, that machete is gonna get it done 😀
As Marina has, I invite comments / debate on this issue 😀