Talking about upgrading from a lower version to Sitecore 8.1, I had outlined a plan in part 2 of this series. Since I started writing about how customers can consider a tool that automates the version upgrade process, I have received a number of questions and comments around – should we upgrade now or wait for Sitecore’s next product/version release?
There are many compelling reasons to upgrade to 8.1, especially with the range of marketing and highly sophisticated CMS capabilities that version 8.1 provides out of the box.
Enable your marketing team, don’t surprise them
With older versions, there can be browser compatibility and publishing issues to deal with if your version is not updated even after the latest one is released and established. Also, waiting too long for an upgrade can lead to a much higher level of feature enhancement when you eventually do upgrade (several versions in one go) - something that your marketing team may not be prepared or equipped for.
Support for cloud deployment
The new version offers complete support for cloud deployment. Sitecore xDB Cloud Edition is a service that enables companies to run Sitecore xDB in the cloud exclusively. This surely saves the cost of acquiring, configuring and supporting on-premise infrastructure.
Improved search functionality
The new search API offered by the latest version provides superior user experience. There are evidently high performing indices and facets available for filtered results.
Leverage the latest development tools
Sitecore 8.1 comes with improved integration tools and development frameworks which are often desired by development teams. The platform has always had a very flexible, secure but open API framework and in version 8.1, you can do more with 3rd party integrations than you could earlier.
Another new feature for marketers is the introduction of Versioned Layouts. From a marketer’s perspective, the new version gives them the ability to create different layout definitions for each language version of an item. For example, if you want to promote a 20% discount offer in French and a 50% discount offer in Russian you can now create this using presentation details and Versioned Layouts.
Moving to Sitecore 8.1 has serious benefits and if you can do so in an automated way at a fraction of the cost and time that a manual upgrade will take, then you must consider the move sooner than later.