Best Features of Sitecore 9
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Presenting the most reliable vision on omni-channel content support, elevated collaboration  and increased productivity, Sitecore has been recently named as a ‘Strong Digital Experience Platform’ by Gartner. ‘Sitecore’ had always been the pivot of many CMS discussions since the beginning, but the launch of Sitecore 9 marked its shift towards building a cloud, commerce and data-based strategy to help businesses create compelling personalized experiences for their customers.

Why Sitecore 9 is trending?

Sitecore 9 is smarter and powerful than its predecessors, loaded with new features like Sitecore xConnect, Cortex, Marketing Automation, Sitecore Commerce, Forms, JavaScript Services (JSS), Federated Authentication and Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA).  These features represent significant improvements, including addition of new modules to enable Sitecore as an end-to-end solution for empowering marketers to create high-quality customer experiences.

Let’s take a brief outline of each of the features.

Reasons – Why should you upgrade to Sitecore 9x?

Sitecore xConnect 

Sitecore xConnect is a new single and unified API in Sitecore 9, for collecting and sharing of complete data in Sitecore including data for Content users and Analytics. This new feature replaces the current API that restricted the sharing to only core users’ data and content.

The all new Sitecore xConnect enables full data interoperability between Sitecore and 3rd party systems, making it the perfect choice for marketers to gain a holistic 360 degree view of customer at one place. Additionally, it supports a bi-directional data transfer to and from leading CRM systems for CRMs like Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce.

Sitecore Marketing Automation

Sitecore 9 no longer relies on Microsoft Silverlight for Marketing Automation. The new marketing automation tool is built on a high-performance angular framework to create end-to-end marketing campaigns considering Goals, Personalization and CRM – all in one place.

Sitecore 9’s marketing tool has an easy-to-use interface with automated functionalities for marketing campaigns and engagement plans. This tool empowers marketers with personalization to nurture contacts by adapting interactions for each unique communication. Additionally, it enables complete tracking of contacts throughout their journey.

This marketing automation is based on high-value scenarios like:

  •  Acquisition
  •  Conversion
  •  Account Development
  • Retention
  • Win Back
  • Omni-channel engagement across various behavioural points

Sitecore 9 focuses on personalization and retargeting options for promotion or conversion while the visitor is still in-session or navigating through the website.

Sitecore Forms

The previous releases of Sitecore featured Web Forms for Marketers (WFFM). The new Sitecore forms aren’t a refresh of WFFM, but a completely new module designed as a replacement of WFFM.
Forms modules provide a clean, easy-to-use interface and drag-and-drop functionalities to support advanced data capture scenarios with:

  • Multi-page forms
  • Forms templates
  • Forms Styling
  • Performance Reporting

Sitecore Headless and JavaScript Services (JSS)

Sitecore 9’s Headless isn’t new – Sitecore originated as a ‘Headless CMS’ by using Sitecore REST API, SPEAK applications and client-side JavaScript but it lacked personalization and support for front-end developers. But, the Sitecore 9 JSS is a complete SDK for JavaScript developers, such that it bridges the gap between back-end and front-end developers.

Sitecore 9 JSS enables developers to build full-fledged solutions using Sitecore and JavaScript (JS) UI Libraries and frameworks to enable a flexible and an independent development using any tool (even without Sitecore and its installation). This feature empowers marketers with access to:

  • Context Insights
  • Personalization
  • Optimized User Experiences

However, all crucial features from Sitecore Experience Platform are preserved including Experience Editor, Personalization, MV Testing and Analytics.

Sitecore Cortex

Sitecore Cortex machine learning empowers businesses to deliver targeted experiences to their audiences with detailed insights to what works and what doesn’t.

Cortex connects, collects and processes data from all sources on a continuous real-time basis to increase the relevant of data. It delivers compelling experiences by analysing every single purchase journey to identify and map high value audiences and their preferences followed by proactive cross-selling and up-selling products to them.

Cortex Insights

  • Predictions or Pattern recognition to automate engagement plans
  • Deep contextual insights to assess visitor engagement
  • A/B and multivariate testing to identify what’s working and what’s not
  • Rules-based personalization for targeting with relevant content
  • Targeting based on audiences’ preferred touch point across multiple channels

Federated Authentication

Sitecore 9 provides support for delegating authentication of users into the Sitecore CMS via an external authorization provider – Sitecore OWIN (Open Web Interface for .Net) Authentication Enabler. This enabler is responsible for handling the external providers and their miscellaneous configurations.

In the previous versions of Sitecore, permissions are simply synchronized with Sitecore membership database and are locally managed by Sitecore, which creates problems and permission errors when the numbers of users are dramatically high. Sitecore 9 facilitates authentication against OWIN middleware like:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • OAuth

Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA)

Sitecore offered Experience Accelerator as an add-on to its previous versions but, they have included this feature in the platform for Sitecore 9. Experience accelerator – as the name suggests, is focused on helping businesses build websites more quickly with faster tools, handy shortcuts and custom functionalities. The beauty of this accelerator is that it enables various teams like content authors, designers, developers to work on the platform simultaneously.

Tooling with Sitecore Accelerator

  • More Intuitive
  • Drag and Drop component toolbox
  • Wire framing mode for Content and components in custom design/theme
  • 12 column grid by Bootstrap
  • Page designs as per multiple devices: Mobile, Tablets, Desktop

Concluding

Sitecore 9 impresses with all the new features with upgrading advantages like real-time improvements, best-in-class technology features, enhanced security and amazing support. Want to learn more about Sitecore 9? Check out our Sitecore expertise.

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