Monday, 31 March 2014

A Beginner's Guide to Sitecore DMS - Part 1

Friends, recently got opportunity to explore Sitecore DMS and I found it very exciting. I have read about Sitecore DMS but never got chance to deep dive in, and that is what called your journey - Sitecore Journey.

Few of you may have situation like me, so to make you well prepared in advance - I am writing this post. The best part of this post is - it includes everything about Sitecore DMS at one place from installing to implementation and testing. Everything mentioned in this post can be found on web easily but on scattered posts.

For those who don't know definition of Sitecore DMS:
Nonlinear Digital has already briefed very well about What is Sitecore DMS? So I am not going to repeat introduction of DMS. You can read it at: A Marketer's Guide to the Sitecore DMS
Thanks to Nonlinear Digital!

Let's start your Sitecore DMS Journey now...

First of all, how can you check whether DMS is installed in your Sitecore instance or not?

If you are not sure whether Sitecore DMS is configured/setup in your local Sitecore instance or not and want to confirm it, then you can do it by visiting your ConnectionStrings.config file. If you find any entry of Sitecore_analytics database then it means that DMS is configured in your environment.


So from where can you find Sitecore DMS setup?

If you find Sitecore DMS is not configured in your local instance, then you need to visit SDN portal - and download respective Sitecore DMS version.

The downloaded ZIP file will contain Sitecore.Analytics.config file and Sitecore.Analytics database.


Now how to configure Sitecore DMS after downloading?


First, you need to add connection string for Sitecore_analytics database in ConnectionStrings.config under App_Config folder and attach Sitecore_analytics database in your SQL Server.
<add name="analytics" connectionString="user id=[usename];password=[pwd];Data Source=(local);Database=Sitecore_analytics" />


Copy downloaded Sitecore.Analytics.config file to your App_Config/Include folder.

How to confirm Sitecore DMS is working now?

You may be wondering how can you check whether you have configure Sitecore DMS successfully or not. You may want to check whether Sitecore DMS is working and recording any data or not.

In order to check it, visit/preview couple of pages of your Sitecore instance where you have configured DMS and then go to Sitecore Analytics database. Check Visits table under Sitecore Analytics database, you should found records of your visits there.

This means your Sitecore DMS is working, enjoy!

But how can you start using Sitecore DMS as you are noob?

So far, you have only configured Sitecore DMS and confirmed whether it is up and running in your local enviroment.

Now Let's use it to get real advantage of DMS - for which it is made.

There is dedicated menu option given for DMS under Sitecore menu - Marketing Center
To work with DMS, you need to go to Marketing Center. Here you will find many options like setting Goals, Campaigns, Engagement Plans, Personalization and many more.

So let's start with Goals, add a new goal as suggested below.

Hey, someone of you may have question - what is goal? why should you create goal? So let's see why are we going to create goal? 

Suppose that you want to track visits of all people who have downloaded ProductManual PDF from your website. This is called Goal in Sitecore DMS terminology, hence you need to create Goal under marketing center and assign it to respective PDF (ProductManual).

This process is also called as CAT in DMS:
Create goal
Assign goal
Track goal

Hope you are now comfortable with terminology - goal. So let's proceed further and create goal, I have created goal named - BrochureDownload.

Please note that you must have to deploy goal in order to assign it.

If you forget to deploy goal then you will not be able to see your goal in goal list as mentioned in below screen capture.You need to now assign this goal to ProductManual PDF, use below mentioned steps to assign the goal.

That's it - your ProductManual PDF has goal now. So let's link this PDF to your product page and rest of all things will be managed by Sitecore DMS.

It's time to track the goal now. Preview your page where you have linked ProductManual PDF and click on link to download it.

This will of-course download PDF and trigger the your BrochureDownload goal that you have set and assign to this PDF.

Again you may have question - how can you check whether my goal is triggered and achieved or not?
Yes, you have valid question. In order to confirm that, go to Analyze menu - select Reports option and then select Page-Goals and Events report type.

You can also check all such analytics report at Executive Insight Dashboard under Sitecore menu.
If you are not able to see Goal records in reports (as shown in above figure), please make sure that you have published that goal. Publishing goal will start showing data in Goals and Event report.

In case you are not able to view any visit data under Dashboard, that means you don't have enough visit data. To bypass this rule, you can change default sitecore configuration to pull whatever data you have. This can be achieved by changing MinimumVisitsFilter value from 50 to small value like 5 at: \Website\sitecore\shell\Applications\Reports\Dashboard\Configuration.config

So how did you like it? How was your first goal in Sitecore DMS?
There are many more things about Sitecore DMS in Part-2 post. Click here to read DMS Part-2 post.