Like anything else, be it your car, your mobile phone, or your digital experience platform (DXP), in time everything is due an upgrade. As customer behaviour, technology and business needs evolve, products develop to keep in-line with demand.
Updating your DXP gives you access to take advantage of a host of new features and enables you to gain better insights into customer data, improve digital experiences for your customers, and simplify the lives of your developers and digital marketing teams who are operating in the environment on a daily basis.
When it comes to Sitecore, there really hasn’t been a better time to upgrade, particularly if you’re currently working on version 7.5 or earlier, as Sitecore's extended support either ends on the 31st December 2020 (version 7.5, 7.2) or has already ended (version 7.1 or earlier), leaving you in a difficult position should anything unexpected happen to your digital channels.
If you’re looking to modernise your Sitecore platform, but you’re looking to justify the cost, and gain consensus across your team that it’s a worthy investment, here’s a handful of benefits of upgrading to Sitecore 9 that are worth mentioning.
Optimised for the cloud
Microsoft Azure PaaS has more integrated support in Sitecore 9 than what was available in 8. This means it’s much simpler to run your digital environment on Azure PaaS, and easier to access Sitecore’s support should you encounter any issues.
As many companies are moving to cloud-based environments, reaping the benefits of their websites scaling automatically and in real-time to meet customer demand, reduce costs, and setting up environments much quicker than previously possible in physical environments, now is a good time to consider making the move if you haven’t already done so.
Superior marketing automation capabilities
Building on Sitecore 8’s Engagement Plan toolset, Sitecore 9 comes with a redesigned marketing automation tool that simplifies the process of creating automated marketing campaigns and engagement plans.
Marketing Automation enables digital marketers to create complex campaigns and communications that are relevant to specific customers based on their interactions with your website. For example, you can create plans that allow you to automatically send a promotional email to a customer seven days after they register their details with you.
Building on the success of their pre-existing Web Forms For Marketers solution, Sitecore 9’s Forms feature enables easy and efficient creation of multi-step and dynamic forms, with an easy to use drag and drop interface, enabling digital marketers to create and manage forms easily.
Sitecore Forms also has a performance reporting feature that enables users to view how many visitors have seen specific forms and how many of them didn’t submit the form, providing analytics and insights to evaluate how well a form is performing; the time spent on each and average form abandonment rate.
Gain Intelligent Insights
Sitecore Cortex enables users to gain deeper insights about their customers and access potential revenue opportunities with machine learning, turning large amounts of data into actionable insights.
With game-changing customer personalisation features, Cortex can be used to analyse enormous data sets in real-time, leveraging machine learning outcomes to deliver personalised experiences, extracting insights and recommendations on what content your customers want to see.
For example, insights gained from Cortex can be used to understand the most likely needs and intentions behind every interaction, enabling digital marketers to deliver relevant deals, promotions and products to individual customers
Built-in GDPR compliance tools
When hurrying to ensure that your website was GDPR compliant back in 2018, it’s likely that many businesses either missed a couple of points in the process or rushed to be GDPR compliant and overlooked some key factors. Upgrading to Sitecore 9 removes any problems in this space.
Previously, digital marketers experienced significant difficulties around tracking all the different pieces of data relating to an individual across multiple parts of the Sitecore system, including the experience database (xDB), list manager and email experience manager (exm).
Due to its privacy-by-design approach, Sitecore 9 has GDPR-compliance features built in, helping you to easily protect your customer’s data.
Access to Sitecore Support
Mainstream support of Sitecore 8.2 ended on 31st December 2019. It’s vital for any business solution to have access to the full coverage of Sitecore’s support services, including ad-hoc fixes and patches. If you’re not covered by mainstream support, Sitecore will not provide assistance with errors or unexpected behaviours during development and will not address any product defects.
Sitecore xConnect has made integrating with other systems like CRMs far simpler than it was previously. xConnect acts as an interface between the xDB and the rest of your digital channel’s infrastructure, giving users a single, unified view of their data that makes it simple to record analytics data and integrate that data with other systems.
Upgrading to the latest version of Sitecore isn’t something that can be completed within a couple of minutes or clicks, and there are many moving parts involved in a Sitecore upgrade process. But we’re here to help.
The upgrade process is an opportunity to revisit your content strategy, redefine your digital marketing strategy and develop plans to deliver unified and contextual user experiences.
If you’re looking to upgrade your current Sitecore solution to Sitecore 9, but you’re unsure of how to progress, then talk to us about how we can help. We have completed upgrade projects for several clients, helping them to advance their Sitecore solutions in line with industry best practice.
We remove the complications around the upgrade process, helping your teams to map out your customer journeys and personas, auditing your technology and content and defining your key metrics, leaving you with a solution that provides an outstanding digital experience for your customers, and a digital experience platform that is tailored to your requirements.