#1 Sitecore Forms
Sitecore has listened to the feedback that it has received over the past couple of years. Sitecore Forms (no longer Web Forms for Marketers) is revamped with a drag and drop interface. The redesign and updated functionality now puts form building as a first-class citizen within Sitecore. Let’s take a look into all of the changes.
Notice that the toolbar is on the right. You are able to drag any of the fields to the canvas. It is now easier to use placeholder text instead of labels. There are tracking and validation tools for each field. You also get data for each field performance. One of the interesting data points is the time spent on this component. This can help to identify where on a form people may get stuck.
Controls are separated by category: Basic, Lists, Security and Structure. Structure enables you to break up a form into sections. Additionally, a much-requested feature of multi-step forms are now easily created by adding a page.
The submit button now has options for the action. This is part of being able to create multi-step forms.
The submit actions are also much easier to utilize. It is clear what has been chosen and what is available.
Lists are managed within the UI of the form. These can also be populated from lists within Sitecore.
Each part of the form is separated so you can see the steps. The Sitecore Forms module is much improved for marketers and worth the upgrade.
#2 Marketing Automation
Engagement Plans have become Marketing Automation in Sitecore 9. Silverlight is gone, so creating a plan can be done in any browser. That is the least of the changes. Full drag and drop functionality is included. The automation plan has intelligence to let the user know what is expected. Much of the guess work of the past has been removed. The design follows the Sitecore Forms, with the available tools on the right and actions like delete across the top.
The toolbox is once again divided into different sections: marketing actions, listeners, decision points and other elements. It is now easy to remove or send someone to another campaign through these actions. Editing actions is also much simpler. Clicking on something in the plan provides a context specific editing experience.
When you are building the automation plan, you are given hints as to where you can insert specific elements.
Overall, Sitecore 9 Marketing Automation is a large improvement over engagement plans. Marketers are now able to build complex automation plans without requiring any developer intervention. The Sitecore 9 Marketing Automation tool always ensure that actions are correct. The UI and UX has been simplified to be more approachable. If you have not yet started with automating your marketing, the new Sitecore 9 Marketing Automation is the perfect place to start.
xConnect enables you to connect any data source with Sitecore. Your data from kiosks, beacons, IoT devices and more can now add data to Sitecore. With xConnect understanding your customer across all of your channels becomes much easier. The power that this provides for personalization is immense.
Imagine being able to understand a customer journey from the store, through a mobile app to your website. Using data from each channel to drive contextually relevant experiences for the entire journey. xConnect opens up a world of possibilities for creating personalization at scale.
Additionally, xConnect has a crucial benefit. GDPR compliance. US companies have not spent much time thinking about GDPR, but it is important as it protects any EU citizen. The architecture of xConnect as a service layer to the xDB, makes it easier to implement GDPR rules such as cookie opt-in and right to be forgotten.
As shown Sitecore 9 is a major release. For marketers it is a big step forward in what can be accomplished with Sitecore. Not only will Sitecore 9 enable you to create more personalized experiences, but it will get you closer to GDPR compliance.
Reach out and we can show you the many other benefits of upgrading to Sitecore 9.