Open Source vs Commercial CMS - Consider the bigger picture

How often have you been tempted to buy something which seems like a good deal – only to end up with it costing you more in the long run, due to it simply not living up to your expectations? You find yourself forever fixing issues or simply abandoning it and buying something better. And, very often, when you need to go back for some support – there’s zero customer service. 

This pretty much applies to anything – from a vehicle or a handbag to a website platform. So, as with any significant purchase, take the time to stand back and consider the bigger picture and understand the total cost of ownership (TCO) of your investment. 

At first glance, a licenced product – such as Sitecore – might seem more expensive than an open source product (which are often free) but that’s not the whole story. Over the years, research has shown that when comparing licenced products with an open source product, the cost is comparable and sometimes less expensive overall when one considers TCO. 

Very often corporates will worry about what a website will cost from a technical perspective but don’t always consider one of the most expensive aspects of creating a website and that’s content creation, plus the sourcing of images and videos. 

One way of keeping on top of costs is to think about how to use copy more creatively, repurposing it to be used in different places – such as in brochures and across social media channels. 

It’s also important to remember that a website’s design has a lifespan and it’s not necessarily the same as that for content – very often content actually has a longer shelf life. In many platforms, content is linked directly into the website’s templates and a new website design can mean creating new content. With Sitecore, the website and the content are treated separately. So, if you update the look and feel of the site, the content can easily be surfaced on the new design. 

Security and patching are issues which can affect the TCO of a website. Licensed product suppliers, such as Sitecore, issue security updates in a structured way for the entire product suite. Many other systems rely on third party modules to deliver certain functions, such as blogs, news sections and forms, but not Sitecore. Having a single platform supplier means that updates and security patches are much more straightforward to apply and lead to fewer issues. 

If you’re using a system with multiple product suppliers, you run the risk of having to deal with different patches which might introduce unpleasant bugs – which all cost money and, importantly, time to sort out. In simple terms, a commercial often has far fewer moving parts to go wrong.

Sitecore and Lake Solutions take development very seriously and are guided by Helix – a set of design principles and conventions for Sitecore development. This means that as Sitecore developers we follow this best practice and that any new feature is integrated in a clean way without affecting the performance of other elements on the site. Change is therefore introduced in an isolated way, thus minimising impact and limiting technical debt. Support hours are consequently likely to be fewer moving forward – which again saves costs.

A website which works is good for a brand and for customer loyalty. If a company is prepared to invest in a licensed platform like Sitecore, then it will benefit from a site which will perform well, always be available, is continually engaging, encourages upselling – and leads to sales. 

If you want to know more about the TCO of moving over to Sitecore, then get in touch. 

Article Details

Ian Jepp
30 May 2018