It's rare that an organization uses a single application or service froma single vendor. Instead they tend to look for the best solutions andintegrate them together. Sitecore (news, site) recognizes this and has designed anApp Center that will make decision making, testing and integration muchsmoother.

Sitecore is taking its Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) to the next levelwith integrated support for a number of third party online applicationsand services through its new App Center.

Sitecore App Center

The App Center offers a set of cloud-based applications, services and integrated solutions for Sitecore's Customer Engagement Platform (which was recently rebranded and enhanced). The intent is to provide Sitecore's customers with a self-service portal from which to select additional services and apps they want to use. These apps are offered on a subscription basis and come ready to plug in the Sitecore CEP environment.

What's nice about the App Center is that customers will be able to turn things on and off as required, and in most cases test the new app/service before they actually subscribe to it.

Sitecore has been looking at a number of vendors whose solutions blend well with its CEP and vendors have come to Sitecore. Most of these are considered best-in-class solutions for services like SEO, SEM, social media monitoring, accessibility checking, translation and more.

The first service rolled out supports email marketing subscriptions and helps to reduce customer emails getting caught in SPAM filters. It also helps preview emails across browsers.

In all, Sitecore will bring 40-50 different vendors into the App Center over the next year.

Supporting Cloud Solutions

Darren Guarnaccia, Sitecore's VP of Product Marketing, told us that Sitecore recognizes that organizations want choices/options and that some services don't lend themselves well to on premise installs (which is what Sitecore CEP is).

Learning Opportunities

The App Center is a self-service portal integrated with accounts for the Sitecore developer and partner networks and is accessed inside the Sitecore desktop (or outside if you want).

The App Center is designed to support customer choices and streamline the vendor relationship, ensuring that the apps are easier to consume and deploy. Note that we aren't talking about white label here. In addition, all solutions subscribed to in the App Center are billed through Sitecore giving the organization one bill to pay. This increases complexity for Sitecore to manage the mix of relationships, but they see it as necessary.

The Sitecore App Center is the perfect idea for organizations without the IT budget or staff that is required to bring a number of solutions together, but it's also good for large organizations who want to quickly implement new functionality into campaigns or website for short periods of time.

App Centers have become almost a requirement for vendors offering a platform, whether its core is web content management (like Sitecore) or social software (like Jive Software) or a mix (like Microsoft). The key is understanding that organizations want options, but don't necessarily want the hassle of implementing discrete solutions on their own.