It's been nearly 3 years since the previous version of Sitecore (version 8) was released back in December 2014. Since then Sitecore have continued to release security patches and improvements but last month Sitecore announced the much anticipated release of Sitecore XP Version 9.
Below we have listed some of the main business reasons we think stand out when making the decision of whether to upgrade:
MongoDB Is No Longer A Requirement
Sitecore has updated their list of providers and now supports xDB providers for both SQL Server 2016 and Cosmos DB. This is useful as it means you can deploy Sitecore to a Microsoft only platform and lose the MongoDB dependency, if required.
XConnect is a new stand-alone service for Sitecore that provides a secure oData RESTful API that enables clients to read, write or search the xDB database. This new service provides an interface that sits between clients and the xDB database facilitating the retrieval or sharing of useful analytics data.
Sitecore have also ensured that XConnect is extensibly enough to implement custom modules to ensure PII and GDPR compliance.
Marketing Automation Replaces Engagement Plans
The Marketing Automation is a complete replacement for the Engagement Plans module which was available in earlier versions of Sitecore. Marketing Automation enables content designers and marketers to configure complex campaigns using the new drag and drop interface.
Image by jammykam (see https://jammykam.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/sitecore-9-is-here/)
Marketing automation campaigns allow you determine how your brand should interact with your contacts depending on their online behaviours and initiate marketing actions based on your contacts specific attributes.
Web Forms For Marketers Is Obsolete
WFFM is still supported in Sitecore version 9 however a new module called Experience Forms has been released to supersede it. Sitecore have redesigned the form builder interface allowing marketers to easily create new forms using the new drag and drop functionality and also improvements have been made making it easier to implement multi-page forms.
If you need advice with Sitecore feel free to contact us and we'll do our best to help.