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Amit Thapliyal Author's Perspective
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Sitecore XP 9.2: What’s new & all you need to know about upgrades

It’s time for marketers to break out, overcome their challenges in delivering a seamless omnichannel experience, faster go to market & breaking silos of data. And the time is NOW

Sitecore 9.2 is here - and it’s already enabling marketing & IT teams to:

  •  Improve their Time to Value
  • Undertake content marketing at scale with Content Hub
  •  Undertake personalization & CX orchestration like never before
  •  Leverage integrations across platforms  
  •  Reduce costs, improve privacy, deploy with flexibility

And most importantly, prove returns on martech investments

If you’ve not upgraded already, you are missing out on a lot!

Sitecore 8.2 is going to be out of mainstream support by the end of this year. If you want to continue using Sitecore, an upgrade is NOT an option. 

The more you delay, the harder it gets, and you end up spending much more. Also, an upgrade is a good time to re-look at what you might have missed w.r.t. scaling your marketing efforts & improve revenues. 

Sitecore through the years: A transformative journey

Since the release of Sitecore 6.0 in 2008, marketing has transformed by leaps and bounds. In fact, over the years, Sitecore too has made a transition from just being a platform that provides simple web experiences to today when it is a powerful and an effective tool for digital marketers to engage with their clients in a better manner.

When Sitecore 6.0 was launched more than a decade ago, it was referred to as the “most advanced CMS on the market”. It was aimed to improve the efforts of developers to design top-notch web experiences, while simplifying the work of content editors and publishers. In 2012, the Sitecore 6.0 series concluded with Sitecore 6.6, that had a strong mobile focus and also offered tools like a Device Simulator and Page Preview service to help developers build mobile web interactions and applications.

Post that came Sitecore 7.0 in 2013 that marked the beginning on an important two-year journey to bring digital experiences to every channel and device. The website also covered mobile and social platforms, that are an essential part of marketing efforts today and continue to grow at breakneck speed. By 2013, a completely different buyer - the millennial - was also a part of the target audience. Besides, it also became important to provide a seamless experience across different channels, which is how omnichannel experience management became important.

There were four releases of Sitecore 7.x, with the last release, Sitecore 7.5, launching in 2014.

The release of Sitecore 7.5 was an important milestone - from the Sitecore Customer Engagement Platform, it came to be known as the Sitecore Experience Platform. This also introduced the beginning of the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) and the Sitecore Experience Profile (xProfile™), around which Sitecore is based today! Built on an open-source NoSQL database, xDB is an extensive data repository that collects and connects all customer data from Sitecore and other external services and applications. Sitecore 7.x gave IT and web users the architecture and framework to create great customer experiences, but it didn’t address the several needs for marketing and business users.

While Sitecore 7.x did lay the foundation of customer experience management, it still had a few challenges to overcome. This is when Sitecore XP 8.0 came into the picture and enhanced that foundation to support marketing and business users in a more seamless manner, as they create, deliver, and optimize unique digital experiences for their audiences. Released in December 2014, it brought cross-platform visual design for client interfaces, applications, and modules.

Next, Sitecore XP 8.2 released in September 2016 and focused on improving the platform and introducing multiple usability and performance developments based on customer feedback.

  • Sitecore 9.2: Delivering machine learning and headless innovation

The Sitecore CMS platform allows businesses to capture an omni-channel customer experience that can be further personalized to nurture individual customers and prospects. Therefore, if you wish to boost your marketing efforts, migrating to the latest CMS version is a must. Some of the commonest reasons why enterprises move to Sitecore 9.2 include:

1. To enjoy the latest security fixes

2. To get rid of Sitecore-support files

3. To be able to explore the latest Sitecore features

4. To remove a hot-fix assembly from the current instance

 

Through a 360-degree customer view, Sitecore 9.2 lets marketers deliver personalized content basis how your customers interact with your brand across all channels and devices. Besides, it is natively integrated to Microsoft Azure and Sitecore Experience Commerce, that enables you to market faster and reduces the total cost of ownership, besides providing seamless experiences, before during and after its purchase.

How is Sitecore 9.2 a notch above other versions?

Sitecore believes in making a transition in parallel with the changing trends in digital marketing. In October 2017, they emphasized their cloud-first approach with the Sitecore Experience Cloud, that includes the Sitecore XP digital experience platform, the Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) web content management, Sitecore Cortex flexible machine learning for the marketer, Sitecore headless with Sitecore Omni to deliver content in headless applications while retaining personalization, and Sitecore Experience Commerce (XC), their natively integrated commerce platform. Besides, they also built a new feature, Sitecore xConnect, that drastically improved xDB by allowing the exchange of customer data across channels and at scale.

With the introduction of Sitecore Cortex, machine learning capability came into the limelight and was woven throughout the Sitecore Experience Cloud. In fact, several measures were adopted by Sitecore to minimise work by front-end developers, while maximizing control by the marketing team. In fact, developers who have no Sitecore or .NET experience can also deliver great experiences that are powered by Sitecore.

Next, Sitecore Forms (which replaces Web Forms for marketers) and marketing automation have been completely restructured in Sitecore in 9.0 to suit the needs of today’s marketers and developers for the seamless capture of improved quality customer data.

One of the most exciting additions in Sitecore XP 9.1, Sitecore headless with Sitecore Omni delivers a no-compromise approach to headless CMS. Thanks to this feature, JavaScript developers and digital marketers can access the best of all worlds, and can design and deliver content in headless applications without losing personalization data. Besides, this feature also enables marketers to continuously capture, aggregate, track, and report on data, and later apply testing and optimization (both online and offline) in real time.

Another striking feature of Sitecore 9.1 is xConnect, that can be described as a service layer that is sandwiched between the xDB and any trusted client, device or even interfaces that wants to read, write or search xDB data. Note that all communication must take place over HTTPs and it is a prerequisite for all clients to have an appropriate certificate thumbprint. As a result, Sitecore data from campaigns and actions can also be exchanged with the CRM so that both channels know exactly what the customer or prospect has been doing.

With the launch of Sitecore 9.2, Sitecore Content Hub is officially integrated with Sitecore XP. Sitecore Content Hub is a unified platform that integrates digital asset management (DAM), content marketing platform (CMP, marketing resource management (MRM), and product content management (PCM). Since it now directly integrates with the Sitecore Experience Platform, giving companies a more unified, efficient end-to-end content, experience and commerce pipeline.

Sitecore 9.2 comes with more striking enhancements which includes enhancements to Sitecore SXA with JSS for Headless, Active personalization dashboard and Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration bringing more power to the platform.

Contact us to learn why you should upgrade to Sitecore 9.2 & how you can do it - the most efficient way!

Watch webinar:

Our panelists will share do’s & don’ts, best practices & learnings - the “secret sauce“- across hundreds of Sitecore deployments to help you monetize your investment in Sitecore.

Agenda:

  • What makes 9.2 the most important Sitecore version yet
  • Why upgrade- the business case , what happens if you don’t
  • The dirty dozen- dos & don’ts in an upgrade process
  • Tools to automate your Upgrade process
  • How to maximise results- get the most out of Sitecore

Register yourself here to attend the webinar

Altudo is a Sitecore Platinum Partner with 500+ Sitecore projects delivered for 45+ Fortune 500 brands, across 7 industry verticals. We help you realize the true potential of your marketing efforts, speeding up the Time to Value by leveraging CX strategy, 1:1 personalization & our our global delivery expertise.

Amit Thapliyal VP - Marketing


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