Upgrading your CMS doesn't have to be painful. Let’s take a look at five great reasons to upgrade or migrate and some tips to help you get the most out of your Sitecore solution.
1. Better understand your customers with superior data flow
Are you struggling to seamlessly integrate with third party systems like Salesforce and Microsoft dynamics? With Sitecore 9, it's now easier than ever to achieve a 'single-customer-view' of data in your chosen platform.
Improving on Sitecore's Experience database (xDB), xConnect allows you to connect with, and store, data from nearly any third party data system, giving marketers the richest view of their customer and their behavioural activity to date.
Their Data Exchange Framework offers a series of triggers, connectors and mapping functions to simplify integration with third party systems – data can now easily flow back and forth with other systems.
2. Slick and simple forms for smooth data capture
The great news is that the whole forms functionality has been rewritten from the ground up and is now a delight to use.
A new drag and drop interface for building forms gives authors more control over their data capture forms than ever before. Want to quickly change a field? No problem. Fancy tweaking your thank you landing page to improve customer experience? A doddle.
The save actions feature for forms can now include triggering a Sitecore goal or subscribing someone to a contact list.
And the beauty of it all? The data gets stored natively into the xDB meaning you can review and use it in future campaigns or for personalisation – making it a core element for Sitecore.
3. Faster publishing = streamlined workflows
Not to be outdone, Sitecore 9's shiny new publishing service has also had a major overhaul. It’s faster and a lot more efficient in getting your content from Management to Delivery.
How have they done it I hear you ask? By offloading the publishing process to a background task, the author can carry on creating and publishing content and then check back in the new dashboard for info on the status of the jobs. This speeds up workflows and frees up more time to create world class content, influenced by the improved data view of your customers.
4. Email marketing is now easier than ever
So you've got all this lovely data. You're harnessing and optimising it across the rest of your site, and ensuring your customers are being fed beautifully personalised content. Now they just need a little nudge to revisit your site.
With Sitecore 9, email marketing has now been merged into the core platform, making it easier than ever to run connected campaigns and track customer behaviour through to on site goals.
Email templates can be created with the easy and familiar Experience Editor interface. Once you’ve got them up and running, you can use the experience functionality to adjust and build them dynamically as you would a page on the website. Now it's time to use the rules engine and personalise your emails with all the stellar data you have collected in the xDB.
It comes with all the usual mod-cons and if you opt to use the Sitecore Email Cloud (it’s very useful) you can ensure emails are delivered using a trusted email delivery network. It goes without saying, you can still track bounce backs and bad email addresses so your data is as accurate as possible.
5. Headless at its heart
Headless is a hot topic and even hotter technology right now. The beauty of headless? It separates the management of raw content from the way that it's displayed.
Sitecore, by its very nature has always been headless, as it stores content in items separately to its style. Items can have multiple ‘renderings’ or ways to view/display the content depending on its location or channel.
Interface developers can also define the content model in an offline format (not needing Sitecore). When they’re ready, they can import this back into Sitecore, creating all the required templates and structures ready for authors to edit.
Whilst headless typically means losing the ability to view things in a WYSIWYG fashion, JSS allows this functionality to be maintained. Finally, JSS also includes connectivity to Sitecore’s tracking and xDB storage meaning that personalisation and componentisation can also be used.