Today Kentico and Ucommerce announced their new technology partnership that delivers an additional enterprise-level eCommerce platform to the set of tools at our disposal. What does this mean and how does it affect existing and in-flight projects?
Who are they and what do they do?
Kentico helps clients create successful websites, on-line stores, community sites and intranets using both Kentico EMS and Kentico Cloud. Kentico boast offices in the Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia, and United States. They have in excess of 1,000 partners across 80 countries. Kentico are also one of the industry leaders worldwide for web content management platforms (Gartner report).
Ucommerce is a leading software company focussed on a commerce first approach. They boast over 3,000 customers worldwide and a rich set of features out of the box designed to accelerate store development and get you online in no time. This includes a uConnector to enable integration with your ERP system. Ucommerce have been working with Kentico as part of their technology partnership to provide a new eCommerce offering for the Kentico CMS platform.
What’s in the box?
Out of the box, Ucommerce is a very flexible beast with a lot of features out of the box. You can get a view of Ucommerce’s features on their site and start to compare them with what you get form Kentico’s eCommerce features. You’ll end up with something that starts to look like this like this:
|Buy X, Get Y Discounts||✔||✔|
|Custom Product Types||✔||✔|
|Downloadable Products (E-products)||✔|
|Transaction Audit Trails||✔|
|Multiple price points||✔|
This is by no means an exhaustive comparison and is also not necessarily the list of features that we'll see in the Kentico implementation. I do hope to complete that comparison in the not too distant future once I have a little more information and as the final product specification emerges. One omission I noticed was reporting; Kentico eCommerce has a reasonable set of reports out-of-the-box, whereas Ucommerce seemingly has none. Is this an issue? In reality, it isn’t really an issue because most current thinking would point you to using something akin to Microsoft Power BI or Trendseam to power your analytics. From my developer viewpoint, the things that excite me the most are:
- A large chunk of the system is based upon definitions, and you can really dig in to details with these that can be tailored to your store to meet your needs
- Ucommerce uses pipelines to define exactly what goes on as actions happen in the store. As a developer you get expand upon these pipelines by developing and registering custom components.
It’s not all about the toys though. What caught my attention was the statement that included in the price, everyone gets a buddy. Your buddy is your guide (and incidentally, a real person), they are a part of the core Ucommerce team and had a technical understanding of the features and internals of the product. What’s more, your buddy is your buddy. As far as is practical, they stick with you throughout the whole project lifecycle. This means that they not only understand their product, but they understand yours too. As you roll out your first projects, this level of support will be invaluable.
As Ucommerce is a commerce-first approach, we start to see not only some more of the features that larger global enterprise solutions need such as support for multiple currencies using price points, but also that the system can take a bit more heat. Kentico eCommerce can take 100,000 SKUs in its stride before you start needing to make modifications. Ucommerce claim to be able to cater for up to 250,000 without optimisation. Some solutions in Ucommerce have close to 500,000 – fairly impressive I’d say. How much might it cost? The Enterprise level cost per year, per server for Umbraco and Sitecore is between €4,499 and €5,999 so I think we can safely assume a price in that region - time will tell.
What about Kentico eCommerce?
Kentico’s eCommerce module isn’t going anywhere any time soon. As far as I know, the intention is to keep working on Kentico eCommerce and maintain the trajectory that we’ve seen over the past few years. It really comes down to a choice based upon the features and requirements you need form your ecommerce solution. Both platforms are effectively enterprise level, both integrate with Kentico EMS, and both play nicely with Kentico CMS features. If you’re on the beta program, then you’d be aware that there are changes in the Kentico CMS 11 beta that build upon Kentico CMS 10’s current eCommerce offering. You should expect this to continue within the normal product life-cycle.
The technology partnership between Ucommerce and Kentico is a great step forward for enterprise eCommerce in Kentico and is something to look forward to with the release of Kentico 11 in November this year. We will now have two options to choose from and we – as solution providers – can assess requirements and pick the most appropriate tool for the job. At a glance, it may seem expensive – especially in a web-farm environment – but if you’re that heavily in to eCommerce you may find the native feature support to be a very attractive proposition.