Last week, hundreds of Sitecore fans, partners and clients attended the much-awaited Sitecore Symposium in sunny Barcelona, ready to find out more about the new Experience platform.

I spent two days attending presentations, all of which left me extremely excited about the release of Sitecore 8. In the Symposium’s opening keynote, Sitecore’s CEO, Michael Seifert, focused on the how the new platform will facilitate creating real-time, memorable experiences. Two releases are planned for the next few months, starting with Sitecore 7.5, the pioneer version of the Experience Platform which will replace the SQL Server DMS database with the new Experience DB, powered by MongoDB. This version will be released in October, followed by the launch of Sitecore 8, the full Experience Platform, just in time for Christmas this year. 

What became clear from the presentations is that Sitecore 8 is way more than just a Content Management System. It offers features and tools to handle every aspect of the online user experience through an entirely redesigned, intuitive, easy-to-use interface. 

The main features include: 

  • The opportunity to store large, easily customisable and accessible volumes of user data in MongoDB, which can also be hosted in the cloud.
  • The ability to test every bit of content before publishing it to the customer-facing site, empowering content editors and marketers to tell whether a version of a page performs better or worse than a previous version.  
  • Sitecore 8 will also be able to predict how a content change will perform on the site and make recommendations based on that. 
  • An advanced search functionality delivered via a partnership with Coveo, which will provide users a free version of their search product. 
  • Introduction of CxM, a Sitecore commerce plugin that will facilitate the personalisation and use of Sitecore Experience data with any eCommerce system. 
  • Competitive analytics and data visualisation.
  • Tracking offline user interactions.
  • Introduction of the Federation Experience Manager (FxM), which will allow the tracking and federating of content on non-Sitecore sites. Federated content can also be edited in the Experience Editor function. 

It is clear that Sitecore has evolved from ‘just a CMS’ to a complex system capable of satisfying all kind of business requirements in the digital area. We will have early-bird access to a technical preview of Sitecore 8 and are looking forward to exploring all these shiny features ourselves. 

We’ll be reporting on our first impressions soon.