Web content management (WCM) provider SDL today released the eighth version of one of its signature platforms, SDL Web. 

SDL Web 8.0 is a digital experience (DX) platform that company officials said builds from the roots of SDL’s WCM platform, Tridion, and includes SDL’s Experience Optimization, digital media management and localization capabilities. The last similar update was in November 2013. 

Eye on DX

Like many competitors, Maidenhead, England-based SDL rides the DX wave with WCM at its core. Forrester Researcher recognizes SDL as one of its "significant" providers in its 2014 and 2015 Digital Experience Wave reports.

"We define DX as a subset of the broader customer experience term, limited to digital channels," Dennis van der Veeke, SDL chief technology officer, told CMSWire. "In basic words we see DX technology as the amalgamation of technologies required to deliver a consistent, joined-up and engaging digital experience across channels and devices that is relevant to a person in a specific context."

DX encompasses web experience management, campaign management, customer insights and e-commerce technologies that link into a variety of backend systems that provide additional intelligence needed to create that relevant experience, he added.

Latest Features

The latest release of SDL Web includes:

  • Instant site: Launch a new website, product section or campaign without IT involvement, officials promised
  • Adaptive BluePrinting: Promote regional content or campaigns to be used globally or share content across lines of businesses
  • Unified authoring and translation process: Aid global launches through a content workflow with integrated translation reviews
  • Microservices: Modular approach to system deployment that provides connectivity to front end and backend systems.
  • Topology manager: Centralize the configuration of Web delivery environments, both on-premise and in the cloud
  • Enhanced digital media: Leverage a new video player or your own by streaming content through a new JSON API, with support for YouTube API v3

Van der Veeke said medium- to larger-sized enterprises with web and mobile presences that typically span multiple sites, brands and/or language variations use SDL Web. 

"With SDL Web," he claimed, "marketers are empowered to easily manage digital content to quickly build multi-lingual, multi-brand websites. They can deliver contextually relevant omni-channel experiences on a global scale on any device. ... Marketing operations typically operates the system, supported by business IT and core IT to perform application management. Alternatively SDL Web can be used as a fully managed PaaS solution in which case all management is handed over to a partner and/or SDL."

Content management with SDL, he added, is based on a componentized content approach that "drives ultimate reuse and efficient and cheap translation."

Integration Considerations?

Asked about integration challenges, van der Veeke said SDL Web has a "great track record of sophisticated integrations with various front end and backend technologies such as portals, CRM systems, PIM/e-commerce systems, enterprise search and many other solutions."

A regular perpetual license for a medium-sized deployment costs approximately $250,000 including development licenses and passive failover facilities. A fully managed services PaaS version from SDL starts at $120,000 per year. Major on-premise updates are released annually with minor updates throughout the year. SDL's cloud offering is on continuous delivery and is updated at least weekly.

"When it comes to managing the complexity of the sheer amount of content required these days to drive a personal and locally relevant experience," van der Veeke said, "SDL Web is unique and unparalleled by its competition due to its unique BluePrinting."