Sitecore Symposium 2018 - What's new pussycat?

The Sitecore Symposium 2018 saw a record 3000 people connected to the Sitecore community gather in Orlando to find out the latest news from the organisation and to listen to some inspirational speakers. For example, Mark Frost, CEO at Sitecore, took to the stage and told delegates that ‘experiences, not products, are what customers are buying’. 

Then, Drew Neisser very cleverly caught everyone’s attention by sharing a photograph of some kittens… But, there was an important message behind the cute image. If you want to be a successful marketer, then remember CATS! Be Courageous, Artful, Thoughtful and Scientific. 

The annual Sitecore Symposium can always be depended on to deliver some big announcements and the 2018 event did not disappoint.

The biggest news came when Sitecore revealed that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Stylelabs, creator of the Marketing Content Hub® platform. According to the official announcement, Stylelabs is used by many of the world’s largest and most recognisable brands and centralises the ability to define content strategy and easily create, manage, and publish marketing content across channels. 

Adding Stylelabs’ platform to Sitecore will allow marketing teams to own the entire content lifecycle and understand the impact of specific content assets on individual customers’ behaviour, thus empowering them to deliver transformative experiences throughout the customer journey. 

Consumers today demand richer, more relevant and valuable interactions from businesses, and differentiated content is at the centre of delivering personalised customer experiences. Achieving this requires marketing teams to create content that matches each audience persona, for every channel, across all stages of the customer journey. 

By incorporating Stylelabs’ digital asset management (DAM), marketing resource management (MRM), and product information management (PIM) applications, Sitecore Experience Cloud will enable marketing departments to create and optimise the volume of assets needed to treat customers as individuals. In turn, businesses can provide the right information, products, and services right when the customer needs them, building engagement, trust and loyalty, and lifetime value. 

“I am thrilled to welcome the entire Stylelabs team to the Sitecore family,” said Mark Frost, CEO of Sitecore. “Companies thrive by exceeding their customers’ expectations. Together, Sitecore and Stylelabs will be the only company that can deliver functionality spanning the entire content lifecycle, from planning to publishing to delivering rich, relevant experiences tailored to customer needs.”

Although it was anticipated, visitors to the Symposium were still excited to discover more about Sitecore Experience Platform 9.1. As expected, this updated version offers exciting new capabilities as well as ongoing refinements and enhancements to existing functionality – and central to this, as ever, is personalising experiences. 

As the official literature explains: “We’ve taken a big leap forward to help our customers get to market faster and reduce the complexity of leveraging the full capability of Sitecore Experience Cloud to deliver exceptional personalised experiences.”

Here are some key points:

Sitecore JavaScript Services

Sitecore JavaScript Services provides a native developer experience to consume Sitecore content for those working in the extremely popular React, Angular, and Vue frameworks. This enables developers to build headless solutions in these frameworks, but unlike traditional headless delivery mechanisms, there is full support for tracking, optimisation, personalisation, and previews in the Sitecore Experience Editor. 

Sitecore Cortex

Version 9.1 brings the next level of machine learning innovation with a customisable and extensible data processing engine to process and train models of data at scale. This makes Sitecore Cortex fully customisable to allow customers and partners to integrate their specific machine learning processors for their own vertical use cases.

Enhancements to EXM and Marketing Automation

To help better govern email marketing campaigns, Sitecore has added several capabilities including:

Send Limits to manage how often a given individual can be mailed on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Message Types to classify which messages are vital and must be sent regardless.
Self-service unsubscribe and category preference management to allow end-users to control the types of messages they wish to receive.

Sitecore has also enhanced its automation capabilities to help ease the lives of digital marketers as they build and execute campaigns in Sitecore. 

If you’ve got any questions about Sitecore Experience Platform 9.1 and the benefits it offers your organisation, then do get in touch. 

Article Details

Ian Jepp
15 October 2018