Latest Sitecore updates and upgrades
Sitecore has been top of mind for many of our clients as well as other organizations we’ve spoken with lately. Several recurring themes keep coming up, including Sitecore’s newest acquisitions, upgrades to the latest 10.1 release and the best ways to take advantage of Sitecore’s newer features.
We thought it would be helpful to share highlights from these trending topics in case others have similar questions and are looking for more guidance.
Topic 1: Sitecore has made a bunch of acquisitions this year. What does it mean for the platform and our use of Sitecore?
Earlier this year, Sitecore announced a large $1.2 billion investment and has made several strategic investments since then in acquiring Boxever (CDP–Customer Data Platform, personalization, decisioning), Four51 (OrderCloud–cloud-native headless B2B commerce), Moosend (SaaS marketing automation, campaign management), and, recently, Reflektion (AI-powered digital search). These investments help innovate and expand Sitecore’s software portfolio to allow more choices across customers’ marketing technology ecosystems.
Sitecore’s growing portfolio of features aligns with the changes we’re seeing across our industry. The marketing technology landscape today is complex and continues to grow each year, as shown in the latest Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2020).
Marketing Technology Landscape–The Martech 5000 April 2020 | Source: chiefmartec.com
With more MarTech options available, One North can partner with clients to help them navigate through the choices and select (and connect) those that best align with their company’s business goals–empowering them to deliver amazing experiences to their customers.
Sitecore Digital Experience Solutions Graphic | Source: Sitecore
We highly recommend that you attend Sitecore’s upcoming annual Sitecore Symposium conference October 5-6, 2021, to learn more about Sitecore’s growing portfolio of digital experience solutions and discover how you can take advantage of your investment in the Sitecore platform. One North is a sponsor this year, so feel free to virtually connect with our team during or after the conference.
Topic 2: What are the benefits of upgrading to 10.1?
For clients planning to upgrade their Sitecore XP or XM to the latest 10.1 release, there are many benefits to gain. Keep in mind that Sitecore’s releases are cumulative, so if you are on an older version, make sure to check out the great features that were included in 10.0 (see our previous post 7 highlights of Sitecore XP 10).
- Sitecore AI Auto-Personalization Standard–helps companies more efficiently apply personalized experiences through automating some of the manual work around visitor trends, customer segments and page elements.
- Horizon New Content Editing User Interface–Introduced in 10.0, there are more enhancements to the new content editing interface in 10.1. Horizon has a more intuitive and streamlined user interface that combines the best of Content Editor and Experience Editor.
- Advanced Marketing Improvements–Rules-based content profiling helps marketers be more productive through the use of automatic behavioral-based profiling of content. Sitecore Forms includes Simple Send Email action, which means a separate EXM license is no longer needed for basic email functionality in form fields.
- Additional Back-end Tools for Data Management–Several additional tools like Data Purge Tool for XDB and reporting role consolidation allow for more control of storage resources and allocations.
- Sitecore Forms Enhancements–Additional features and enhancements around form element styling, element messaging and web form validation have also been added.
For additional details on Sitecore 10.1, see the following resources:
- Sitecore XP 10.1 Update 1 Download Page Sitecore Downloads: Sitecore Experience Platform 101 Update1
- Sitecore XP 10.1.1 Release Notes Sitecore Downloads: Release Notes
- Sitecore XP 10.1 Release Notes Sitecore Downloads: Release Notes
- What’s New in Sitecore 10.1 Sitecore Developer’s Documentation
Topic 3: When do we really need to upgrade to the latest version?
When clients look to us for guidance on whether they should upgrade to the latest Sitecore release, there are several factors and considerations to keep in mind to better understand the options.
Review Product Support Lifecycle Dates
It’s important to understand the Sitecore Product Support Lifecycle dates for Mainstream Support, Extended Support and Sustaining Support of the current version of Sitecore you are on.
See Sitecore Product Support Lifecycle here: https://support.sitecore.com/kb?id=kb_article_view&sysparm_article=KB0641167.
The Extended Support End Date is key because you don’t want to be on an old version that no longer receives security updates. Staying on an older version that is in the Sustaining Support phase creates unwanted liability and risk to your company.
Note the upcoming Extended Support End Dates for Sitecore versions 8.0-8.2 on December 21, 2022, that were recently updated on August 24, 2021.
Support Phases for Specific Sitecore Products | Source: Sitecore
Assess Latest Version Features
Evaluate if the features in the new release warrant an upgrade. For example, clients about to start a marketing automation and personalization project may want to upgrade from an older version of Sitecore to the latest so they can leverage automated features and improved AI to help streamline the implementation and ongoing maintenance of personalization activities.
Include Upgrades with Other Projects & Enhancements
There are efficiency gains and cost savings when you time Sitecore upgrades with other similar projects for the same website compared to doing an upgrade separately. For example, if a client wanted to upgrade their site search functionality to a smarter AI search engine, they should also time the upgrade work at the same time so testing for both changes can happen once during the course of the combined project and upgrade.
Unable to Accomplish Your Ask
It is likely that the feature that is not working in your version of Sitecore has been resolved in a new version. As an example, we have found simply upgrading to Sitecore 9.2+ replaced Lucene with Solr for search and has drastically improved our clients’ section and global search capabilities.
It’s best practice to be on a recent version of Sitecore, as this helps future-proof your Sitecore instance longer so it’s more compatible to add on future product features and enhancements.
We’d love to learn more about the trending topics you are hearing about in the Sitecore community. Connect with us at the Virtual Sitecore Symposium next week, or get in touch with our of our reps here.
Photo Credit: Ivan Mercado | Unsplash
As Director of Technology Operations and Offerings at One North, Ethel is responsible for the management and execution of leading digital technology solutions and product management, continuously identifying new strategic technology opportunities for One North and its clients. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Ethel once zip-lined, upside down, in a rain forest in Costa Rica.
Favorite movie quote: “With great power comes great responsibility.” – Spiderman
Favorite hobby: I love to cook. Delicious food makes everything better!
As an Architect, Stephanie provides clients with quality products and services to ensure 100 percent satisfaction, continuously working to find best-in-breed technology to improve testing capabilities and solution performance.
Favorite breakfast food: Pancakes all day!
Most unusual job: Growing up on a farm, every summer from about age 10 I was a “bean walker.” A bean walker walks down a designated row in a bean field with a hook and cuts out weeds from the fields. This job of course no longer exists thanks to technology and chemicals.