For 14 years now, Kentico has been focusing on providing you with the best way to work with content and helping you to tell stories that change the world. In this day and age, information is everywhere, and experience, therefore, has become everything. Kentico 12, the latest release of their flagship product, is, therefore, focused on providing marketers with tools to design and deliver unique and differentiated cross-channel experiences and developers with a platform built on modern MVC technology.
Customer Experience Is a Journey, Not a Destination
Kentico EMS has gone through multiple inflection points over the years. In Kentico 2 (2006), they released Portal Engine, a browser-based page builder built on ASP.NET WebForm technology, to allow rapid website development. In Kentico 6 (2011), they rolled out our Enterprise Marketing Solution, pioneering the CMS market, bringing together content management and customer experience management capabilities. That same year, they also became the very first CMS solution certified for the Microsoft Azure cloud. In Kentico 10 (2016), they significantly improved the scalability and performance of the solution to allow enterprise organizations to adopt Kentico EMS as their primary digital experience platform. Finally, last year, they released Kentico 11 (2017), providing the most advanced support for new data privacy legislation like GDPR, California's Consumer Privacy Act, and others.
And here they are in front of another inflection point for Kentico EMS. For the longest time, content management systems have been known for providing an interface that only engineers could love. As more marketers adopt these platforms, there are now expectations that systems need to be straightforward and easy to use.
To truly empower marketers to be successful and achieve their goals, they are delivering a modern and lightweight experience editing environment to business users that makes them more productive. The new experience editor enables marketers to transform the way they work with the content through an intuitive and clean authoring interface. Common tasks and quick actions can be completed, without going through too many steps, reducing the training and onboarding time necessary to get your team up and running.
Widget-based Visual Page Builder
Kentico's new MVC widget-based web content editor is changing the way marketers craft and build pages and customer experiences. The drag-and-drop interface provides marketers with powerful and flexible tools that help marketers experiment quickly and often, independently of IT. For each page, the administrator can configure which widgets are allowed to be used in a widget zone on the page to avoid the risk of breaking the website unintentionally. This also ensures visual consistency across pages based on the same template. The new streamlined editing experience helps to alleviate the productivity constraints on marketers and content editors. It's all about empowering users to become truly agile, delivering a better customer experience faster. Some of the key features of the new page builder include:
Widget-based page builder — a content and experience editor using reusable components to design pages
Sections and widget zones — a grid or matrix made of rows and columns dividing widget zones into multiple areas, each able to hold multiple widgets
Widgets — components providing specific functionality, supporting personalization and inline editing
When it comes to providing personalised experiences, it's all about the customer context, and even GDPR hasn't changed anything about that. Kentico's Analytics provides insights into activities and interactions completed by customers across all of your digital properties, channels, and devices. The data gathered in the activity log allows to evaluate the behavior of customers, and use activities in combination with other marketing capabilities, for example, to automatically calculate scores for contacts based on their activities, use activities as triggers for starting marketing automation processes, or to personalise a site for customers who have performed specific activities.
The more you know about the context of your visitor, the more relevant you can make the experience. To be more effective in generating and converting leads and reaching your goals, you can personalize content displayed by widgets without any assistance from developers. Simplified personalisation management allows you to create new widget variants based on different options such as Persona, Country, Device type and others. Working together with developers, additional personalization condition types can be registered, as needed, to provide powerful personalization capabilities.
Nothing makes marketers happier than a well-performing lead generation machine. At the core, each lead generation campaign relies on valuable customer information being gathered as the prospective customer moves through their journey. It is, therefore, imperative for every marketer to have tools at their disposal that allow them to design and publish online forms quickly, when and as needed. Kentico 12 brings the new generation with its component-based drag-and-drop form builder. Smart forms allow marketers to design, build, and publish online forms easily, independent of IT. Marketers become more agile while developers get to focus on what matters. Smart forms let you design progressive forms gathering customer data throughout multiple steps of their journey, which has been proven to be more effective in collecting more data and keeping forms compact.
Kentico 12 Goes All-in on MVC
Kentico 12 represents a major milestone in Kentico EMS history, especially when it comes to the underlying technology and platform. With full-blown MVC development support, they are entering an exciting new era of MVC-first project development. MVC is the future, and it effectively becomes the best practice when it comes to project development with EMS moving forward. All new projects should be built using Kentico 12 MVC. They have been working on MVC support for a couple years now to make sure they have a stable, reliable, and scalable MVC solution before we start pushing the new model. And with Kentico 12, we do. As Michal Kadak, Kentico Product Owner, explains in his article, the Kentico EMS technology future is .NET Core and MVC. And even though Kentico 12 comes with Portal Engine support, they strongly recommend building any new projects on MVC. The time to start adopting Kentico MVC is now.
ASP.NET MVC 5 Support
As Michal explained, MVC has become the go-to solution for many, offering companies an efficient and scalable architecture for their projects. This widely used methodology provides a pattern-based architecture to build dynamic applications that enable a clean separation of concerns while giving developers full control over the final markup.
In Kentico 12 they are releasing the most advanced MVC development framework that allows to design and develop custom reusable MVC widgets. That provides freedom to both developers and marketers alike. Developers get a flexible framework to build differentiated experiences without limitations of technology while marketers gain full control over page design.
In addition to this there are also benefits of MVC that we see as especially important:
Faster and Cheaper Development Leveraging Better Tooling
Customers that adopted MVC development confirm that MVC allows them to leverage the development and tooling they wouldn't be able to use when developing on Portal Engine. By developing using MVC, you are not limiting yourself to the Web-Form-based output Portal Engine generates, which gives designers and developers freedom to build better experiences faster and often cheaper. You don’t need strategists, designers, and developers to know what HTML output each Web-Forms-based web part generates and they, thus, don’t need to make any compromises in their approach, design, or implementation.
Another interesting point customers developing in MVC often mention is the fact they are much more agile when it comes to their build and deployment pipelines. We have all have been, at some point, frustrated by how long it takes for projects to build, deploy, test, fix, build, deploy, test, … With MVC and the fact your web app is separate from EMS administration, things get way faster. You can automate your build, test, and deployment pipeline and get some of that precious time back.
All in all, development and deployment of an MVC project should be generally faster compared to a Portal Engine project. That allows businesses to provide customers with a faster time to market, higher agility, and, thus, higher project margins.
Faster and Cheaper Upgrades
Given the separation of concerns that MVC brings, upgrades should be generally smoother. That's because the custom code that usually causes complications is part of the MVC web app and not a Kentico EMS admin instance. That should make upgrades much easier.
Site Performance Optimization and SEO
A specific benefit of MVC that not everyone realizes is related to the fact MVC-based sites tend to provide much better performance. As you know, page speed plays an important role in how your pages get ranked on Google and other search engines. That makes for a serious business argument in favor of MVC development. Additionally, the previously mentioned control over HTML output generated by an MVC-based site makes it much easier for businesses to adhere to various accessibility and SEO requirements (e.g.., ADA, WCAG, metadata, scheme.org, …).
Kentico 12 is focused on providing customers with tools that enhance and scale their expertise. From the redesigned experience editing interface technologies to the availability of new MVC content development model, we are truly committed to helping you solve whatever marketing challenge gets in your way of moving your business ahead.
Get in touch and out how Kentico 12 can help you boost productivity and achieve your business goals.