Sitecore Omni

Sitecore Omni
25th April 2019

Discover what Sitecore Omni can do for enterprises looking to build valuable user experiences

What is Sitecore Omni?

Sitecore Omni ™ is the collective name for a suite of marketing tools.

If you’re already using the Sitecore platform then you may be familiar with some of the key Sitecore features that enable marketers to derive contextual insight from a user’s behaviour. Both online and offline. These insights can deliver personalised experiences that increase engagement and conversion rates.

What do we mean by Sitecore Omni?

Omni is normally used in conjunction with other words like omnipresent, omnipotent or omnishambles (thanks to The Thick of It for introducing this last term to our vocabulary). In DXP speak we often hear omnichannel. The simplest definition of omni is “all” and so with that in mind Sitecore Omni is referring to the fact that Sitecore is the platform that can work in all forms of interaction between a brand and its customers.

Put even more simply, Sitecore Omni allows you to use your content and data across all your channels, and to gather contextual insight from all interactions.

In other words, Sitecore Omni is Headless content, context and analytics.

Is Sitecore Omni new functionality?

Yes and no.

Headless content delivery is not new to Sitecore. In-fact Sitecore has always served content separately from presentation, it was one of the unique features of Sitecore that helped it become the market leading CMS.

When developers talk about headless, what we mean is that we can retrieve and manipulate Sitecore items with code. We use standard formats of data like JSON to represent content items. This grants the freedom to present the data however we feel fit. It promotes flexibility and allows us to focus on our areas of specialism such as frontend presentation.

While headless in not new to Sitecore, what Sitecore Omni represents is the evolution of a suite of options to consume content. These include Sitecore JSS, Sitecore GraphQL, Sitecore Services and Sitecore Experience Accelerator (Sitecore SXA). Some of these have been around for the last couple of Sitecore versions, but 9.1 has seen them reach a level of maturity that make them fully fledged products.

A big new feature is the Universal Tracker. This is the part of Sitecore that is optimised for collecting analytics from offline behavior and combining it with the insight gained from a user’s online activity.

Importantly, Sitecore Omni now allows the content that is delivered in a headless way to be tailored to the individual user using the power of Sitecore’s suite of personalisation capabilities. It is this combination of old and new capability and the range of ways that it can be accessed that make Sitecore Omni ™ such a key part of what distinguishes Sitecore from its competitors.

What are the features that make up Sitecore Omni?

There are five core components that can be used to make Sitecore works across all your channels. Whilst each of these components could warrant a blog post in their own right, we’ll take a brief look at each of them in turn.

Headless Content and Context:

1. Sitecore JSS

JSS started as a bit of an experiment. Since 2017 the team at Sitecore have developed it into a full product and included it with the release of Sitecore 9.1.

The key idea behind JSS is to give developers the freedom to build Sitecore sites using the tools, processes and frameworks they are comfortable with. Traditionally, Sitecore has been built by Microsoft certified developers using the powerful .Net framework running on Windows based operating systems. But lots of developers, particularly the more visually creative types prefer to use other technologies. If they were to pick up a Sitecore project, the overhead of learning and adapting to new technologies would be significant. A frontend specialist with years of .Net experience is a rare beast and so finding the right people to build a site has been problematic.

Well JSS, now removes the reliance on a particular technical stack. It means teams can use the stack they are most productive with without compromising the experience of marketers or any of the platform functionality.

2. Sitecore GraphQL

GraphQL is what Facebook use to deliver an omni-style experience to their billions of users. If you consider the sheer amount of data Facebook process each time a user opens the app, GraphQL is a query language used to efficiently manipulate massive volumes of data.

Now no Sitecore site would get as large as Facebook, but the performance and efficiency of the GraphQL language, and the fact that it is industry standard make this an important feature of Sitecore Omni.

3. SXA

SXA is Sitecore’s accelerator product. It does more than deliver headless content, but it is the ability of SXA to allow editors to edit content as JSON instead of HTML that make it an important feature of the Sitecore Omni product suite.

4. Sitecore Services

These have been around for a while but have been revamped with the latest release. Similar to GraphQL, Sitecore Services present an interface that developers can use to manipulate Sitecore items programmatically. This component is OData complaint, meaning that the two main data format standards in use in the industry today are supported by Sitecore. This fact should remove any technical barriers to delivering successful projects on the Sitecore platform.

5. Headless analytics – universal tracker

Sitecore 9.0 brought us Sitecore xConnect. This development removed the ties between the website and the analytics engine. xConnect literally sits in between running as a service that exposes the data in the analytics engine. However, fundamentally the analytics engine was still eared around online interactions. xConnect can consume data from other sources, but it wasn’t suitable for gathering data about offline interactions.

This is where Universal Tracker comes in. Universal tracker gives an endpoint that can accept data from anywhere, process it, and store it in xDB via xConnect. This feature gives marketers the potential to use valuable data from offline interactions and use it to drive greater engagement across all channels.

Ready for your organisation to harness the power of Sitecore Omni?

If you’d like to learn how the Omni could benefit your business, get in touch with us. We’d love to discuss with you how we can use these capabilities to deliver your successful projects.