Introducing Sitecore 7.5: A Sneak Peek from Wednesday’s Partner Announcement

Author: Harender Kumar | Categories: CMS, Sitecore CMS

This past Wednesday Sitecore held a global “what’s new” webinar for their key Sitecore partner network, and I was lucky enough to attend. However, rather than the traditional “state of the CMS union” to keep their partnerships energized for the summer months, this webinar very quickly got my attention. What was so interesting? (Drumroll, please.)

Sitecore formally announced their new 7.5 platform, beginning with a Lighthouse pilot program this summer and rolling out to the wider public later this year. For example, their new database platform, xDB, will be available in July.

Also new is the business solution’s name. Henceforth, the platform will be the “Sitecore Experience” – a branding change which obviously takes into account recent trends to improve end-to-end customer visibility and analytics.

Indeed, according to their spokesman, the new Sitecore 7.5 Experience will offer a more holistic suite of analysis to users, with boosted tracking capabilities and a 360 degree customer vision that tabulates both offline and online data – all on one platform.

(Though, I am betting that tracking your offline data will either necessitate some kind of data entry, and not that Sitecore has also somehow harnessed the power of osmosis.)

So what is different in Sitecore 7.5?

As a Sitecore power user, I was excited about the possibility of new technology upgrades to play with. I also immediately took out my notebook and began scribbling ideas on what this means for our clients. Here is a quick and dirty summary of the key changes you should know about:

New Names

The Sitecore umbrella will now cover the following products:

New Name Old Name
Sitecore Experience platform Customer Engagement Platform
Experience CMS Sitecore CMS
Experience Marketing Digital Marketing System (DMS)
Email Experience Manager Email Campaign Manager
Experience Analytics Engagement Analytics
Print Experience Manager Adaptive Print Studio
Experience Automation Engagement Automation
Sitecore Experience Database (xDB), built with a MongoDB integration Analytics Database

New Experience Database

The new Sitecore experience database (xDB) will still have many of the existing platform capabilities, but we discovered a few key differences:

  • Technical Infrastructure: The new xDB system is built on MongoDB. It will available on site, or hosted in the cloud in an Azure cloud, and will connect directly to the Sitecore Experience Platform.
  • Automatic Connectors: Don’t worry, the xDB includes automatic data feeds from other critical marketing tools, such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, and Demandware.
  • Back-end Database: Sitecore 7.5 Microsoft will still use SQL databases for all content and reporting capabilities.
  • xDB on Premise: Specific to on-site hosting, the new xDB is available as a local installation or via the cloud edition, and hosted on Azure.
  • xDB on the Cloud: The new xDB cloud is reportedly a fully-managed experience database that should scale seamlessly – and hold literally billions of experience records. It will include fast purchase and onboarding through the Sitecore app center, and be priced by the number of total customer profiles.

New Experience Profile

The new Sitecore Experience Platform will create a new user profile on the Sitecore Experience Platform, which takes disparate channel tracking and instead offers a single location for visibility on all your customer insights, such as visit, campaign, goal, profiling automation, etc.

According to Sitecore, this change should improve your visibility and understanding of your contacts to improve their strategic outreach. It will also allow marketers to compare profiles and set up rules to send out triggered messages or campaigns a group of similar profiles.

 Here is an example profile from the company website:

Sitecore CMS 

New Lighthouse Pilot Program

As I mentioned above, the first stage of the Sitecore 7.5 rollout is a pilot program available to just Sitecore MVP users, that is, companies who have successfully implemented a Sitecore solution and are recognized by the company for creating best-in-class customer experiences.

Lighthouse Eligibility

To be eligible for the Lighthouse program – and get a first look at the new Sitecore product before your competitors – you need to meet the following criteria:

  • You have significant website traffic
  • You are not currently using a DMS
  • You already have Sitecore 6.5 or higher
  • You follow Sitecore recommended practices for implementation and usability
  • You are willing to participate in customer reference and promotional activities

Summary: The Key Benefits of Sitecore 7.5

In summary, I see three major benefits for the new Sitecore 7.5:

  • Increased scalability
  • Improved performance
  • Single customer dashboards
  • New seamless integration with other mission-critical apps
  • Global reach via the app cloud

What do you think? Are you excited to see the new Sitecore experience platform?

Editor’s note: If you interested in a development evaluation to become a Sitecore MVP – and get a first look at the new Sitecore product, you can send an email to contact@edynamic.net, and we can check for you. 

Sitecore Experience platform