Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Marketing Case for Upgrading to Sitecore 9

Thomas John, Senior Director and Commerce Practice Lead
Content / Mobile / Platforms / Technology / Strategy

Today’s consumers expect highly personalized experiences and digital marketers leverage both their agency partners and technology to deliver on that expectation. Sitecore has long been a trusted platform; however as previous implementations of Sitecore have aged, companies discover that their needs have outpaced the capabilities of the older versions. Marketers are often challenged with minimal visibility into a clear view of the customer and their behavior with the website, A/B and MV testing limitations, disparate data sources and hurdles regarding delivering true Omnichannel experiences. 

The latest release of Sitecore 9.0 has empowered these same marketers to effectively use the data they currently possess. In addition, it has minimized the role of frontend developers and maximized the control of the marketing team. Below are a handful of scenarios that call for upgrading to Sitecore 9.0.

Headless Content Repository: Take Control of Your Content

This is one of the more exciting capabilities released with Sitecore 9.0. “Headless” capabilities empower marketers to take control of their content, reduce development time, and connect content back to the customer experience. It also allows developers to build modern cross-platform solutions using Sitecore and JavaScript. A developer’s environment is completely disconnected during development and can be deployed to any platform in a headless configuration with full Experience Platform capabilities preserved. 

Federated Authentication: Additional Security 

Sitecore 9.0 introduced a new and very useful feature to easily add federated authentication to the platform. Sitecore has implemented the ability to use ASP.NET Identity functionality that is based on Open Web Interface for .NET (OWIN) middleware. With ASP.NET Identity, users have access to a number of capabilities such as two-factor authentication and password recovery. In addition, it will allow Rightpoint to use other identity providers to help extend and centralize authentication capabilities for clients.

Marketing Automation Upgrades: New Forms and UX

Sitecore has introduced a brand-new Marketing Automation Suite where “ease of use is the primary focus.” The UI has been completely redesigned and UX has been improved with features like drag and drop, which makes building forms much easier. Form elements are split into five groups: 

Basic (for data such as email or telephone number)  
Lists (for adding elements like drop down lists and checkbox) 
Media (for adding images and similar elements) 
Security (an option to use passwords) 
Structure (for defining sections, pages, the submit button and other elements) 

Additionally the existing Web Forms for Marketers module has also been updated for Sitecore 9 so your existing forms will remain functional for now. Sitecore Marketing Automation offers a real replacement for Engagement Automation. Same as Forms, it has improved drag and drop UI and other UX improvements. Now it is much easier to create an engagement plan, review it and follow the visitor flow. 

Marketing case for upgrading to Sitecore 9

Omnichannel: Data Collection at Scale 

Sitecore will allow you to collect and connect customer activity and interactions to create a unified view of each customer. The Sitecore Experience Platorm (XP) utilizes the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) that collects all of this comprehensive data. In addition to the customer’s website’s interaction history marketers can also collect interaction data from external apps, mobile channels, IoT devices etc. An additional benefit with Sitecore 9.0 is the removal of dependency of MongoDB to run your Experience Database (xDB) repository.  

Wrapping Up 

As with any platform upgrade discussion, the upgrade to Sitecore 9.0 is more than a pure technical decision. The platform upgrade provides a great opportunity to revisit critical parts of a Sitecore instance such as content strategy, content cleanup, modern feature buildouts, etc. A content management platform with outdated content is very ineffective. 

Recently recertified for another year, Rightpoint has been a Sitecore partner since 2007, and is one of only a handful of companies in the world to be named a Platinum Implementation Partner. Working with Sitecore, we create user-focused, platform-based digital experiences by integrating our strategy, UX, design, and technology teams to deliver transformative results. We have 9 Sitecore MVPs on staff and hundreds of Sitecore implementations, digital workshops, and strategy engagements under our belts. So, you can trust that your project and internal teams are in great hands. Each project is implemented using Sitecore best practices and time-tested techniques based upon our extensive experience.

Reach out to us today and discuss your upgrade needs. We’ll work together to plan and onboard an upgrade to Sitecore 9.0.