What’s new in Sitecore 9 – Report from Sitecore SUGCON 2018

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SUGCON (Sitecore user group conference) India 2018 was a Sitecore community driven conference packed with the latest insights and advice from some of the most experienced, skillful Sitecore experts in the world, from both Sitecore and the community. Whether one is new to Sitecore or a diehard veteran, they could take advantage of this opportunity to gain new skills, and stay up to date with the latest innovative strategies.
In SUGCON 2018, there was  lot of buzz around Sitecore 9 and there were many technical sessions on the key Sitecore 9 features

Here are a list of some cool new features in Sitecore 9 –

  • xConnect
  • Sitecore Cortex – Machine Learning
  • Marketing Automation
  • Sitecore Cloud
  • Sitecore Headless and JavaScript Services (JSS)
  • Sitecore Forms




Source : Sitecore

xConnect feature is used to deal with Sitecore’s xDB analytics database making it one of the best systems in the market for marketing technology.
The new service layer for Sitecore’s xDB allows you to connect Sitecore analytics data with customer data coming from any other system in your marketing database.

It implements this using new xConnect Client API. This new ODATA based endpoint is used to read, write and search xDB data. And that’s not just for external applications – Sitecore’s own application now use the Client API for all data access.  In almost all areas of Sitecore development, we count on there being an API that allows us access to the data, enabling us to create unique applications and “headless” CMS implementations. We now have that same access and ability with xDB data.

xConnect is doing even more. It is fundamentally changing the xDB architecture. xConnect is provider based and defines new services and new providers for those services.
The new services are:

  • xConnect Collection Service
  • xConnect Search Service
  • xConnect Search Indexer

Sitecore Cortex – Machine Learning



Source: Sitecore

As we know customer has lots and lots of data but we aren’t able to use all of it. Here comes Cortex, Sitecore machine learning advanced algorithms which tries to get the maximum usage value for the data.
Cortex’ advanced algorithms deliver real-time insights across both native and third-party customer data.

Customer behaviour, decisions, interactions, and outcomes are continuously processed and optimised to unveil new customer segments and revenue opportunities, giving brands a competitive advantage.

Marketers not only benefit from a rich, holistic customer view, but can now act on intelligent insights to generate Omni-channel experiences that are highly personalised for each individual.


Marketing Automation


Source: Sitecore

Another new tool in Version 9 is an incredibly sleek and easy to use drag and drop user interface to create automated marketing campaigns. This is a replacement for Engagement Automation plans.

Marketing Automation will allow you to set up some complex campaigns, enabling marketers to set up triggers to enter a contact into the plan and effectively track them throughout their journey. The drag and drop functionality makes it simple to set up conditions and rules allowing marketers to validate campaign decisions on numerous data points gleaning demographic data, device detection, list membership, personas, campaign and goal triggers, allowing marketers to deliver a deeply personalised online experience.


Sitecore Cloud


Source: Sitecore

Sitecore has been offered as an ‘on-premise’ platform, with a licensing model based on upfront cost to match. Under Sitecore 9.0 and the new Subscription Model, you can now buy licenses and hosting on a cloud consumption model.

Depending on the volumes of traffic that your website has to deal, or, in other words, your own digital success, you can now license Sitecore in a more cost-effective way. The functionality that you get is the same, regardless of your size, and so you can enjoy the benefits of Sitecore straight away and you only pay more as you grow. This makes the ROI potential of Sitecore 9.0 better than it’s ever been.

Couple this with new Azure based app hosting services and suddenly you can be on Sitecore 9.0, paying only for what you use from both a software licensing and hosting perspective – all supported by Sitecore and Microsoft Azure’s support SLAs.
There are lot more features of using Sitecore cloud like more analytics / reporting tools, Geo-IP Support etc. But above features were more standout for me.


Sitecore Headless and JavaScript Services (JSS)


Source: Sitecore

Sitecore XM and XP, both are equipped with the ability to separate creation and management of the content and content delivery to a web page, app, or any IoT (Internet of Things) device. Sitecore JavaScript Services (JSS) and Client Services allow developers to request content without having in-depth knowledge of Sitecore and give marketers a complete view of the customer’s data that has been fetched from every connected experience.


Sitecore Forms


Source: Sitecore

Sitecore 9 introduces completely new way for creating forms in parallel to WFFM. As we all know there was many challenges we all faced while implementing WFFM custom solution. And Sitecore 9 Forms covers most of them in a positive way like its Native, customizable, integrated. These new forms gives a new way for uses Sitecore forms once again.

Sitecore 9.0 delivers innovation, enhancements, and time-to-market capabilities with benefits for both IT and digital marketing teams. Sitecore 9 aspires to improve overall user experience and provide more integrations. This version promises to make the platform more powerful and smarter

SUGCON helped to get an early ideas about some of the cool new features. Meetups lead to insightful ideas, and thought provoking points of view. I highly encourage increased participation in such conferences  for keeping aligned with the upcoming technology trends.

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