An always up to date guide on the different Sitecore versions
This bundle of joy arrived in the digital world back in 2001. Since then, there have been plenty of Sitecore versions. Each one’s brought fresh content management and digital marketing tools.
As Sitecore versions developed, so did Sitecore’s appeal. The humble website content management system (CMS) evolved into a sophisticated customer experience platform (CXP).
More recent Sitecore versions have placed a strong focus on building great customer experiences. Sitecore 7.5 onwards have offered clever, out-of-the-box marketing tools. Which have helped Sitecore position itself as the leading platform for mid-tier and large businesses.
Sitecore’s evolution from Content Management System to Customer Experience Platform
Sitecore’s been recognised by Gartner as a leading website content management system. So what does Sitecore offer that other platforms don’t? It works best for enterprise level businesses with heaps of content, multiple brand sites or multilingual sites.
Sitecore offers its users:
- .Net framework that feels familiar to anyone who uses Microsoft.
- Scalability that guarantees your site can handle high levels of traffic, horizontal scaling means you’ll never run out of growing room.
- Flexibility to do just about anything your digital strategy needs. With its many tools, an endless amount of plug-ins and modules, your site has endless possibilities. No two business needs are the same.
- Integration with your other sites and software couldn’t be easier. Sitecore is built to extend, but also to hold all data in one place where you can keep an eye on it.
- Multilingual capabilities built-in with translation software means your content can reach a global audience.
But over the years, Sitecore’s evolved. Sitecore CMS grew into Sitecore CXP and became much more than a content manager. It’s adapted to keep up with the age of the customer.
As a CXP, the platform is “contextually intelligent”. So it adapts to your users’ environment, device and region. It also remembers their past interactions with your business and tracks their current session. With all this data, marketers benefit from a single customer view. And clever analytics that help to shape marketing campaigns.
All of this helps you improve the customer experience. Which leads to higher engagement, increased conversion and higher quality leads. Sitecore CXP wraps a CMS and digital marketing tools in a nice, tidy package.
Four key Sitecore versions
As the focus of digital marketing shifted towards customer experience, so did Sitecore. They gradually introduced and improved marketing features geared towards personalisation. And they started to really push their tools for their ability to improve the customer experience. This personalisation focus fuelled Sitecore’s evolution from CMS to a CXP.
We think there’s four Sitecore versions, in particular, that helped them make the CXP leap:
Sitecore 6.1 (2009)
The first of the Sitecore versions to take a big step towards the latest personalisation capabilities. It laid the foundation for the Online Marketing Suite (OMS) which later became Digital Marketing System (DMS) and then Experience Marketing. It’s these easy to use marketing features that drove Sitecore from a CMS towards a CXP.
Sitecore 6.5 (2011)
This version ushered in the dawn of DMS. It set the framework for Sitecore’s Customer Engagement Platform and brought marketers some impressive features. This made real-time marketing personalisation and automation simpler. And gave marketers easier to read dashboards for analytic reports.
Sitecore 7.5 (2014)
Here begins the era of the Experience Database (xDB) and Experience Profiles (xProfile). This is when Sitecore really started pushing the platform as a CXP. They put more emphasis on simple and effective marketing tools. Sitecore xDB helped marketers capture customer data and join it together for a single view. This let them use the data to improve marketing campaigns.
Sitecore 8.1 (2015)
As we’ve explored in a previous blog about Sitecore 8.1, it has a lot going for it. This version offers outstanding Device Detection and content management. It also brings improvements to the Campaign Creator, Path Analyser, FXM and much more. Sitecore 8.2, released in 2016, built upon the success of Sitecore 8.1, aiming to “close the experience gap”. For marketers, Sitecore focused on its context marketing capabilities by making improvements to its content management features and analytics. Plus, we saw the addition of marketing funnels.
Developers saw a number of upgrades, bringing the platform up to date with the latest ASP.Net technology. This included MVC and API improvements, as well new ‘Experience Accelerator’ and ‘Express Migration’ tools which made it quicker and easier for developers to build and upgrade Sitecore solutions.
And the latest Sitecore version…
The latest version, Sitecore 9 released in October 2017, as part of Sitecore Experience Cloud. Excitingly, it introduced machine learning for better marketing automation and personalisation. It also features rebuilt marketing forms and increased headless CMS functionality.
How Kagool help customers upgrade Sitecore versions
As technology evolves Sitecore’s roadmap will continue to add extra features and benefits for Marketers to get even closer to customers. But Sitecore upgrades can be tricky. Once you’re on Sitecore it’s important that you work with an experienced partner, such as Kagool, to make sure that you’re on the best version.
At Kagool, we’re proud to call ourselves Sitecore experts. And we’re not the only ones who think so. We’ve earned Platinum Implementation Partner status from Sitecore. And six of our developers have been named as Most Valued Professionals at the Sitecore MVP Awards.
We build Sitecore projects for all kinds of enterprise level customers. We’ve got a lot of experience upgrading Sitecore from older versions to the current one. We help our customers create smart digital strategies and improve their customer experiences.
If you want to know more about the latest Sitecore versions, we’d love to hear from you. We offer a free Sitecore demo for new customers. And if your Sitecore website needs a pick-me-up, we can help with a Sitecore audit.
We hope you enjoyed our look at Sitecore versions. And please check back regularly as we’ll be updating this post with each new Sitecore release.
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