How Sitecore will elevate the experience with version 9.1 and more innovations on the roadmap

by Koen Roos, Sitecore Ambassador MVP

 
Last week my colleague Koen Heye and I attended the Sitecore Symposium 2018 and Sitecore MVP Summit. The event was well organized and the content was really good, and I’m eager to get my hands on the new stuff that’s been announced.

Our MVP's at the Sitecore Symposium 2018

In the following topics I’m summarizing the most interesting stuff I learned, trying not to go too technical:

Sitecore Content Hub with the intent to acquire Stylelabs

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration

Horizon: Next generation experience for Sitecore content management

Sitecore Cortex

Sitecore Omni


Sitecore Content Hub with the intent to acquire Stylelabs

Well, this is a good move: Sitecore has announced the intent to acquire Stylelabs – a SaaS digital asset management (DAM), marketing resource management (MRM), and product information management (PIM) platform - which will be integrated as the Sitecore Content Hub. 

Sitecore Content Hub

Sitecore Content Hub

For me, the most exciting pillar of Stylelabs is the Marketing Resource Management system. 

The Stylelabs platform centralizes the ability to define content strategy and easily create, manage, and publish marketing content across channels. You can plan your marketing calendar and streamline content production with a clear process. This way all stakeholders can collaborate on the content production, managed through a workflow of tasks and approvals. 


Sitecore Content Hub - MRM

In the last keynote on Thursday we saw a demo of Stylelabs and this looks like a well implemented platform! The plan is to have a first integration (DAM) ready by the end of 2018, and by Q2 2019 it will be possible to (optionally) replace the Media Library.

Sitecore Content Hub - Integration

Sitecore Content Hub - Short Term Roadmap

I also had the opportunity to talk with Tim and Tom from Stylelabs during the MVP Summit. Awesome guys who know their stuff, it’s very nice to see how a Belgian company has grown successfully and I’m glad they will join the Sitecore family.

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration

In the beginning of this year, we worked together with our Cronos Salesforce experts from GEN-C to create an integrated solution with Sitecore Experience Platform and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The capabilities of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud are impressive and I was eager to see the demo of the first integration with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Connector.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud - Integration

The first use case is the integration of Sitecore images in Salesforce Marketing Cloud emails. From within the Sitecore Media Library users can push media (folders as well as individual items) to Salesforce. From that moment on, the changes of the items / folders will be synchronized between Sitecore and Salesforce.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud - Push Media to Salesforce

The synchronized files will be available in the Salesforce Content Builder. With the files in the content builder, emails can be setup in Salesforce to be used in the journeys.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud - Content Builder

The next use case to be implemented in the connector is the synchronization of behavioral data.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud - Behavioral Data

The team also gave an overview of other use cases that will be on the roadmap: 
Salesforce Marketing Cloud - Use Cases

We are digging deeper in this integration. If you want an integrated demo or if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

Horizon: Next generation experience for Sitecore content management

On last year’s Symposium a new project “Horizon” was announced. This will be a new user interface for content editors and marketers using the Sitecore platform. For Sitecore 9.1 a technical preview will be available of Horizon – we got a preview of the mockups and future functionalities that looks pretty awesome! Keep in mind that the following mockups are work in progress and not all functionalities are available in the Sitecore 9.1 preview version of Horizon.

The Sitecore Launchpad

Sitecore websites are all about providing the right content in the right context based on what we know about the visitor. This is what the UX team wants to do in Horizon as well: in the Launchpad dashboard, the logged on user will only see what is relevant and will get suggestions for his role in order to optimize his marketing platform.


Sitecore Project Horizon - Launchpad

Sitecore Project Horizon - Launchpad


Sitecore Project Horizon - Launchpad

Content editing experience

Next to drag & drop functionality, it will be more efficient to configure personalization for specific audiences:

Sitecore Project Horizon - Content editing

Sitecore Project Horizon - Content editing

I saw a live demo of Horizon, and I must say I can’t wait to play with this – looks like the UX team has found the sweet spot of how content editing and applying the marketing features should ideally work.


Marketing toolbox

The Marketing toolbox will be updated as well. The dashboard will be personalized to show the relevant data and actions for the logged on user. And hey, an overview of an activity calendar! Is this already a Stylelabs MRM integration?
Sitecore Project Horizon - Marketing toolbox

You will be able to quick start creating an audience in a wizard-like style, you’ll even have a list of audiences suggested by Sitecore Cortex (machine learning).

Sitecore Project Horizon - Marketing toolbox

Sitecore Cortex

Project "Cortex" was also announced at Symposium last year. With Sitecore 9.1, the first implementation will be available of this Machine Learning engine to have automatic content tagging, predictive outcomes and suggested personalization. Also, developers can hook into Cortex to implement their own Machine Learning algorithms on Microsoft Machine Learning Server.

 

Sitecore Cortex Overview

Sitecore Omni

Another new name: Sitecore Omni! Sitecore Omni includes Sitecore JSS and a new Universal Tracker:

  • Universal Tracker is a new technical light-weight integration API layer to register events and interactions from all channels (apps, IOT devices, … you name it) to have a full overview of all interactions in Sitecore Analytics in order to personalize the experience across channels.


  • With the new Sitecore JavaScript Services (JSS) headless approach content authors can manage the content of (micro)sites with the Sitecore Experience Editor as they would edit any other web page - including advanced features like testing and personalization. Front end developers can use the Angular, React or Vue.js framework to create your dream interface!
JSS Webinar

Marketers want to experiment and quickly deliver rich experiences to audiences on campaign (micro)sites.


JSS is built to support JavaScript frameworks that are putting component architectures and atomic design principles at the center. This is a strength that both Sitecore and modern JavaScript share. In the end, the goal of the headless approach to create your content once and use it many times.

In this webinar we'll explain what headless means for your business and how Sitecore can support a marketer’s need to collect interaction data and personalize the experience on different channels.

This webinar is available on-demand