#SitecoreSYM 2019: RBA survey analysis

Time to read: About 10-12 minutes
Intended for: Anyone who is currently using Sitecore or considering using Sitecore.
Key takeaway: At Sitecore Symposium 2019, RBA conducted a survey about how attendees use Sitecore. In this post, we share our findings.

Survey Overview

Did you know that many Sitecore Symposium attendees are still managing Sitecore on-premise, or that out of 13 primary Sitecore features, only four are being fully optimized? These are among the findings of a survey that we conducted during 2019’s #SitecoreSYM in Orlando, Florida.

As a part of RBA’s participation during Sitecore Symposium 2019, we conducted a survey of select Symposium attendees to uncover how organizations are currently using Sitecore based on industry, versions, features, management and more. Key findings include:

  • Of those we surveyed, healthcare is a key industry for Sitecore implementations.
  • Leveraging all of Sitecore’s capabilities will be critical in achieving digital transformation.
  • The majority of those surveyed are managing Sitecore on-premise versus the cloud; an indicator that more education is needed on the benefits of investing in the cloud.
  • Sitecore has a big opportunity to improve many of its lesser-used features, such as its analytics platform.
  • There is a need for a clearer path to personalization within the platform.
  • A continued focus on improving the user experience will go a long way toward adoption and retention.

Q1: Industry

Most of RBA’s customers come from four key industries: financial services, healthcare, retail, and manufacturing. Not surprisingly, most conference attendees we surveyed worked in healthcare, technology, and financial services.

Key takeaway: It’s clear that the healthcare industry is at the forefront of providing seamless digital experiences for their customers. This is likely due to the heightened importance of website accessibility, which will soon be the norm for all websites in all industries.

Q2: Transformation Index

For better or worse, the topic of transformation has been beaten to death for the last 3 to 5 years at conferences. However, moving from tactical to transformational was on the minds of everyone who we surveyed. We asked attendees to rate themselves on the “transformation scale,” with zero being completely tactical, and 100 being completely transformational. The mean score was 59.

Key takeaway: Companies still have a long way to go to transform their businesses into one that delivers today’s required digital experiences. A great first step to advance you along this continuum is to better utilize Sitecore’s full suite of content management, asset management, and digital marketing capabilities.

Q3: Current Sitecore version

More than 50% of respondents said that they are on Sitecore version 9.x, but a large percentage (just over 40%) are still on Sitecore 8.x. A handful are on 7.x, and a small number weren’t sure what version they’re on.

Key takeaway: Sitecore 9.x does offer several benefits over 8.x. But with so many respondents still on 8.x, it’s clear that many businesses are still evaluating 9.x. Most businesses we spoke with were already in the process of evaluating 9.x. We can expect the percentage of those on Sitecore 9+ to grow exponentially in the coming months.

Q4: How do you manage Sitecore?

Somewhat to our surprise, more than half of respondents said that they are managing Sitecore on-premises versus using cloud.

Key takeaway: The majority of users we surveyed still manage Sitecore on-premise versus the cloud. This is a clear indicator that there is a need for education around the benefits of cloud hosting. While companies are still invested in on-premise hosting, the benefits of cloud – scalability, cost, staffing – should sway many of these companies to make the shift. At RBA, we expect on-premise hosting to mostly dissipate over the next 3-5 years.

Q5: What features of Sitecore are you currently using?

It isn’t surprising that the top three most-used Sitecore features (according to our respondents) are Content Editor, Experience Editor, and Forms. Just over 30% reported they are using personalization features. Our respondents also reported low usage of Sitecore’s marketing features: 5% reported using marketing control panel, and 7.5% reported using Sitecore’s marketing automation features. 12.5% of respondents reported using Experience Analytics.

Key takeaway: Sitecore and its partners have a big opportunity to provide education on many of Sitecore’s other features. Our respondents’ lower usage rates of Experience Analytics, for example, suggest third-party platforms like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics are significantly easier to use (especially for marketing roles). Additional training/documentation/assistance from Sitecore and partners could close this gap.

Q6: Why did your organization choose Sitecore?

Nearly 80% of our respondents said they chose Sitecore due to its robust content management capabilities. Personalization and marketing also scored high (52.5%), but there’s an interesting inconsistency with the previous question. While 52.5% of respondents chose Sitecore because of personalization and marketing features, remember that only about 30% reported actually using personalization, and only a handful reported actually using marketing features and automation.

Key takeaway: There needs to be a clearer path to personalization and marketing automation within the Sitecore platform itself. Based on conversations we had at Symposium in 2019, sometimes companies are struggling with how to get started with personalization. A good starting point is to look at your existing marketing personas. These often align really well to Sitecore’s profile and pattern cards, with can form the basis of a solid personalization strategy. Our mantra on this topic has been: Some personalization is always better than none at all!

Q7: How easy is it to find information on a Sitecore feature that you’re unfamiliar with?

The majority of respondents said that it was either very easy or relatively easy to find information about a Sitecore feature. However, 15% said it was “Somewhat difficult” to find information about a particular Sitecore feature.

Key takeaway: Documentation can always be improved, but from the perspective of our respondents, it looks like they can generally find information when they need it.

Q8: Do you have any feedback on how Sitecore can improve its platform?

Key responses include:

  • Listen to the end users to solve the pain points
  • Make it mobile first
  • Allow for track changes and multi-step workflow in editing
  • Make it more user-friendly
  • More flexibility within forms
  • Easier integration within SFDC
  • Additional analytics access
  • More class availability for hands-on training
  • Better documentation
  • Easier to set up as a platform without partner support

Key takeaway: Ease-of-use and team collaboration are at the core of the user feedback. A continued focus on improving the user experience will go a long way with adoption and retention.

Q9: What Sitecore features are you interested in learning more about?

Forms, personalization and Analytics were the top three features that customers would like to learn more about. But in general, customers expressed interest in learning about many of the various features.

Key takeaway: Ongoing education will help customers get the most out of the Sitecore platform. There’s a desire to learn more about the various functions, presenting a huge opportunity for Sitecore and its partners.

Summary: An exciting year ahead!

This years’ Sitecore Symposium was a memorable one for the RBA Sitecore team. From our session on Sitecore commerce and search with our friends at Coveo to our presentation on retail commerce at scale with our client, multi-brand retailer Caleres, we walked away from the conference excited for what’s to come in the new year.

2019’s Sitecore Symposium was a great stage for IT professionals to discuss “what’s next?” for CMS – and these survey results are a clear indicator that there will be a lot of momentum with Sitecore in 2020. Whether you’re ready to migrate your platform to the cloud or are interested in learning how to leverage more of the platform’s features, an integration partner would be a vital first step. If you’re looking for an integration partner to guide you on your journey to optimizing Sitecore (or are considering switching from your current one), contact us using the form below, or email us at info@rbaconsulting.com.

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