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The Sitecore Symposium Experience For You

Jamie Stump, Parshva Vora, myself, and others from the Perficient family attended Sitecore Symposium this past week. We absorbed a lot of knowledge about what is upcoming with Sitecore 7.5 and Sitecore 8. The cadence communicated from Sitecore is around “experience”. The building blocks are being put in place for you, our clients, to help your customers have a custom and personal experience while we as a The Sitecore Symposium Experience for Youpartner provide solutions that allow you to place “experience before content”.
Sitecore is moving forward to be a top-tier provider for your marketing and communication goals through the Sitecore Experience Platform. With real-time marketing, growing demand through multiple channels, and customizing your content to your individual customers, you have the abilities to have dedicated customers for life through an enriching experience for them through you.
Now trying to empathize by putting myself in your shoes after reading those paragraphs, I would probably think – “Well that is a great bunch of words, but what does that really entail for me”.
Well it means a new approach to analytics data. Sitecore’s xDB, using MongoDB, provides the ability to store large amounts of data about your customers. It plays well with your current infrastructure and is extensible to your profile needs as well as scalable through various database design principles and patterns. Along with this, reporting of the analytics information is improved to use all of that collected information.

Multi-channel capabilities to capture your client’s information to place in Sitecore’s xDB from both online and offline sources, using it to add to your customer’s profile so you can better build that relationship experience through better targeted information and social interactions.
Parshva Vora’s post, Connected Customer Experience => Lifelong Customers, touches on the multi-channel approach and his experience while out at the MVP dinner.

“If the information gathered over variety of channels, over period of time can become a knowledge and can be used in real-time to transform your customer into a lifelong customer.“

With the acquisition of Commerce Server, Sitecore is working to provide integration and connectivity through the Commerce Connector. This will not only to provide an enterprise level commerce system but to allow the numerous technical partners of Sitecore to provide commerce products to integrate into the Experience Platform.
Sitecore is adding content testing, so that you as marketers and content authors can have better tools to determine the impact of your content changes before putting them out to your public domain. These tools truly provide the ability to train, observe, forecast, and calculate the results of your content changes – something you couldn’t do before without your own content testing process.
With Sitecore 8, there is a newer look and feel to your tools thanks to the SPEAK UI framework. Mark Stiles has provided a great overview and images of the new interface in Sitecore 8 among other observances in  a great Sitecore Symposium summary.
Also, any search engine indecision you have had in the past has been made easier with the announcement from Coveo. Coveo for Sitecore is now offering a free version. So you have an additional choice. Need a little bit more from your search for the enterprise or support? No worries, Coveo still offers their fully functional paid version as well as additional support for both versions.
So, again empathizing with you, I would think you might ask what do you need to do to get there.
The path to Sitecore 8 goes through Sitecore 7.5 which is intended to be available this month. If you are beginning your experience on Sitecore you would preferably start with the Sitecore 7.5 version until Sitecore 8 is available later this year. If you are already using Sitecore, then the process at a high level is as follows:

  • Perform the upgrade path from your current version to version 7.2.
  • Run the update installation wizard for 7.5
  • Convert your analytics data through the data conversion tool.

Are you ready to start looking at what Sitecore 8 can provide you to drive customer loyalty and revenue.

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Mark Servais

Mark Servais is a software solutions professional with experience in creating solutions using Sitecore and the Microsoft stack of technologies. Experienced in project and development lifecycles through several viewpoints that include project management, development, and leadership. Mark has over 25 years’ experience in software engineering and application development. Mark has been awarded Sitecore’s Technology MVP award from 2014-2017 and currently holds a Master’s degree in Software Engineering from Carroll University.

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