Sitecore 8.1 is the latest version of Sitecore's market leading customer experience platform
Sitecore 8.1 is here. Sitecore has been locked in a battle with Adobe for web content management supremacy – reflected in the WCM Gartner Magic Quadrant 2015. Not surprisingly, Sitecore 8.1 features major enhancements designed to keep Sitecore on top. To help you better understand Sitecore’s latest release we take a closer look at the changes.
A new Sitecore brand term that replaces Experience Marketing (previously Sitecore DMS), this is where the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) now resides.
Sitecore 7.5 and Sitecore 8.0 introduced xDB. A database for storing data collected from multiple channels in one place. There are many benefits to xDB, but it adds complexity and cost that some businesses just aren’t ready for.
Although you lose some of Sitecore’s more powerful marketing capabilities, CMS only mode makes Sitecore a savvy investment for businesses keen to increase their digital maturity. You don’t want to be constantly re-platforming. With the CMS only mode you can move to Sitecore and get your feet wet.
There will be new dedicated licensing to reflect the CMS only mode offering. With CMS only mode your server requirements are lower, so there’s a cost saving there too.
CMS only mode is fully compatible with:
It’s compatible with limited functionality with:
The following won’t work with CMS only mode:
Businesses on CMS only mode can upgrade to get xDB functionality when they’re ready.
Previous versions of SItecore only let you personalise user experience on a per session basis. Sitecore 8.1 introduces personalisation based on a user’s historical activity that’ll decay with age. A huge deal for marketers. The current session will provide the most relevant data for personalisation. But content based around interests from past sessions can be sprinkled in for better engagement.
This has been added to complete omni-channel marketing support. A venue is the physical location of a customer interaction. An example of Sitecore’s aim to let you track customer’s offline as well as online. And build up a single view of all their activity with your brand.
For the first time Sitecore has IP Geolocation built into the platform without needing a third party provider. The available data returned includes: city, country, region, latitude, longitude, area code, metro code, postal code, timezone, business name, ISP name, DNS address and IP address.
IP Geolocation is fully supported and integrated to:
IP Geolocation is also available for Sitecore users on earlier versions 6.4 to 8.0 through the Sitecore App Centre.
Also backwards compatible with Sitecore 8. You can set rules for:
For marketers these added detection services enrich the data that you can collect on visitors and add to your personalisation options.
Sitecore 8.1 introduces a revised Campaign Creator. A marketer can easily create and manage campaigns through a new interface. You’ll have a filterable view of all campaigns. And it integrates with Experience Analytics.
There are lots of improvements and new features added to Experience Analytics including:
These will let you drill down further into charts and reports to get richer data on your customers or campaigns.
The ability to test content is essential for marketers. And Sitecore have ramped up their content testing features with:
These changes will make content testing simpler for marketers. You’ll have a better visibility of what’s working and what isn’t.
Small enhancements have been made to the experience editor. These are to the manage version functionality and shared layouts. Plus page validation notification errors or warnings now appear in page editor.
Not a big deal but they help make life easier for content editors.
For those using Sitecore to manage external non Sitecore sites FXM will now let you use Web Forms for Marketers. There’s also support for Google Tag Manager. And new features for capturing custom data values on external sites.
Path analyser is very handy for marketers looking to track customer journeys through their site. Sitecore 8.1 lets you create custom maps built from the sequences you choose. You can see which channels drive to a goal or landing page. It’s easy to see which campaigns bring most value per visit or which channels lead to more goals. Gold dust to a marketer.
The central Sitecore CMS will now feature fall back language as default. This is very useful for businesses operating multi-nationally. For example, if you have operations in the UK and the US some content may apply to both. So instead of needing separate content for each you can fall back to an English language version.
This is a significant update from Sitecore. They’ve broadened their offering with the CMS only option. Sitecore is now a tantalising proposition for businesses that may have previously dismissed it as too complex and costly. At the same time they’ve added a raft of powerful marketing features for their core platform. It’s safe to say the market leading customer experience platform is even stronger with this release.
We’re one of the UK’s leading Sitecore partners. If you’re new to Sitecore and want to see how it can benefit you, contact us and arrange a Sitecore demo. If you’re already on a version of Sitecore 7 or earlier now may be a good time to upgrade. For more get in touch with our award-winning team.