If you’re on Sitecore 6.x or 7.x, why go through the trouble of upgrading? This article will answer that question and more, as we go through Sitecore 6.x and 7.x and make a case for upgrading each. Sitecore has evolved over the years and has numerous advantages that your team can greatly benefit from.
Sitecore experience management
Since Sitecore released Sitecore 6.0 in 2008, Sitecore has grown from a platform that provides simple web experiences to one that enables marketing teams to become truly engaged with their customers. Through a 360-degree customer view, Sitecore now helps you deliver content in the context of how your customers have interacted with your brand across all channels and devices.
- Sitecore 6.x took you from basic web content management to web experience management
- Sitecore 7.x shifted the experience from web-only to omnichannel digital experiences.
- Sitecore 8.x builds on the foundation that 7.x created and focuses on empowering your business and marketing users. Sitecore XP 8.2 introduces functionality that helps you get to website launch much more quickly
Each release since Sitecore 6.0 has built greater capabilities to support marketing and allow IT to focus on performance and scalability. But taking advantage of the capabilities that enable context marketing and omnichannel digital experience requires an upgrade to Sitecore XP 8.2.
Sitecore 6.x: The case for upgrading
You made an early investment in web experience with Sitecore 6.x. But the difference in Sitecore 6.x and Sitecore 8.2 is significant. Outlined below are the most important benefits and strongest business arguments for upgrading:
- Support: Mainstream support for Sitecore 6.6 ended in December 2015; for Sitecore 6.5 and earlier, in June 2015. This means you no longer receive free support for errors and unexpected behavior during development, compatibility fixes for supported platforms or hotfixes, and patches for product defects.
- Ease of use: Sitecore 6.x was an IT or web department’s dream, but for content marketers it only scratched the surface of capabilities delivered today. It’s likely if you’re on 6.x, you’re using the platform for more than basic content management and rudimentary personalization. Sitecore 8.2 puts the power of experience management directly in the hands of the people most responsible for the customer experience— your marketing users.
- Connected data silos: With 6.x you don’t easily have a 360-degree view of your customers. Your business users still rely on IT and the analytics team to pull together customer data from various sources and run detailed reports on how well customer segments, campaigns, and/ or websites are performing.
- All-new marketing capability: The kinds of multichannel marketing apps your business users are asking for are built into Sitecore XP 8.2. Get ahead of the curve and equip them before they come to you.
- Visitor data accuracy: Web crawlers, spiders, and bots have continually evolved to find new ways to index. These have caused the analytics professional no shortage of headaches as reporting discrepancies from ads, promotions, and other significant spend channels are improperly tracked. Upgrading gives you confidence in your visitor data.
Sitecore 7.x: The case for upgrading
If you’re using Sitecore 7.x, you’ve likely progressed from managing only a website to managing an experience on mobile and other channels. Again, there are significant differences between what you’ll gain from Sitecore 7.x vs. Sitecore XP 8.2, as follows:
- A consistent user interface: A new clean, consistent user experience across the entire Sitecore Experience Platform ensures Sitecore is easier to understand and use, lowering training and support costs.
- Empower the business: Enable business and marketing to test and optimize content and experiences, and analyze engagement value independent of IT.
- Know every customer: At the heart of Sitecore XP 8.2 is the ability to connect and collect customer experience data to provide your marketing team with a single view of each customer. That’s the only way for them segment, personalize, and deliver contextually relevant content to each.
- Cross-channel experience delivery: Sitecore XP 8.x enables you to use Sitecore as a central hub to manage all your digital properties, Sitecore and non-Sitecore, seamlessly sharing content, customer data, and analytics.
- Test automatically: Testing is vital to knowing whether your content is relevant, and every experience must be tested on difference audiences. Sitecore XP 8 automatically tests every edit you make to an experience, without requiring you to go through training or change the authoring experience.
- Optimize automatically: Analyzing the results of tests consumes time, requires meetings, and can be overly (and unproductively) scientific. Instead of analyzing and calculating new segments, as you might be doing on previous Sitecore versions, move to simply “accepting” or “skipping” them with Sitecore XP 8.2. The platform will identify the common attributes of your visitor behavior and automatically suggest segments and personalization criteria for them.
- Embedded device detection: Sitecore XP 8.2 embeds Sitecore Detection Services, which allows you to detect two types of information— the IP geolocation of your customer and the device they’re using.
- Dispatch: Email performance and dispatch is tremendously improved in Sitecore 8.x as Email Experience Manager now uses xDB. The UI has also been overhauled and you have new tools such as List Manager and Campaign Creator to support your marketing campaigns.
Sitecore XP 8.2
The Sitecore Experience Platform 8.2 includes following benefits:
- Content Foundation improvements (Dependency Injection, Caching and Performance)
- Support for the Publishing Service (installed separately)
- Support for Express Migration (installed separately)
- Enhanced Experience Editor features
- Marketing Funnels
- New Experience Analytics reports and charting
- Improved Content Testing UI
- Enhanced Path Analyzer component
- Sitecore Experience Accelerator (installed separately)
- Includes all the fixes from 8.1 Update-3
This article is based on white paper Why upgrade to Sitecore XP 8.2 written by Sitecore.