My Summer with Sitecore 9

This morning, at its annual conference, Sitecore will announce the release of Sitecore 9.  This release is significant, with a major advancement to its marketing foundation, a next level API for centralizing data from all systems & ‘things’ (xConnect) and a meaningful buildout of the underlying data model & associated analytics.  There’s a lot more to the Sitecore 9 release; I’m focusing more on the big rocks that I see, that impact the business’ ability to deliver context marketing at scale. 

Sitecore 9 Certified Developers @ Symposium

Sitecore 9 Certified Developers @ Symposium

As part of the Sitecore MVP program, Chris Auer (@christopherauer) and I (@jbwmson)  got to spend the Summer with a technical preview of Sitecore 9.  It’s kind of how we spent our summer.  At Sitecore Symposium yesterday, we had the opportunity to take (and pass) the Sitecore 9 certification test - joining a very small group of peers within the Sitecore community.

Over the coming weeks I expect we’ll all see a lot of blog posts inventorying the list of Sitecore 9 feature points.  Those posts alone should contain enough rationale to justify an upgrade once the release is market tested.  I’m going to share another perspective on why you shouldn’t wait.

The vast majority of Sitecore customers that I speak with are significantly behind the curve with respect to making use of Sitecore’s context marketing functionality.  Even those that have made the investment in upgrading to 8.X are using just a fraction of the software tooling that they’ve bought & paid for.  A significant part of the value of Sitecore lies in its vision — its market insights and its product roadmap.  We’re in effect, buying that vision from Sitecore, with the intent of applying it to our business.  The further we get from that vision, the harder it is to grab onto it.  The train is leaving the station and picking up speed.

There’s a lot of reasons (excuses) for pushing marketing functionality off to a phase 2 and launching a brand new CMS only website.  There are a lot of reasons — but none of them are any good.  The opportunity cost of the status quo is significant and rises on a daily basis.  It manifests itself in the form of rigidness, inability to connect with the customer and loss of competitive advantage. 

Good Sitecore Partners are very aligned with Sitecore’s vision and are equipped to help organizations execute on that vision.  They bring ideas, direction, practical experience and industry context to the table.   Good Sitecore Partners invest in the product (on their dime, not yours), ensuring that they can deliver the strategy, tactics and software that you need to execute your vision.  Make sure your partner has the skills and the vision to get you where you need to go.  Ask them, how they spent their summer.