Sitecore 9 – Your steer for 2018

The Challenge

To increase your customer’s consistency of experience with your company’s products and services.

The Direction

  • Understanding where the opportunities lie for collecting data within your company.
  • Collecting the right type of data (securely) from your interaction points
  • Reaping knowledge from the data to increase consistency across platforms
  • Analysing and acting on feedback to respond quickly and constantly

The Actions

Let’s assume you know where people experience you and yours, typically: adverts, at the tills, trade fairs, award ceremonies, social media, ticket collection point, email, website, product download, newspapers, in the shops, in the press, in the aisles etc. It was the lack of integration between them that was a major challenge.

Get on Sitecore 9 in the cloud

We’ve gone past the tipping point of cloud hosting, so you really should get on it soon grandma, if not your speed to market and feedback loop will get even slower. Sitecore are pushing Azure hard and the benefits of the partnership with Microsoft are there to see, however you’re always free to use AWS, GCP or a private cloud. Whether you’re upgrading, lifting-and-shifting, starting afresh or a hybrid, look at cloud hosting.

Collect data using Sitecore

Sitecore Experience Management/Platform © ™ ® includes:
– Multi-site and Multi-language management
– Marketing Automation
– A/B & multi-variant testing
– Machine-learning based optimisation

Which all brings useful and usable data into Sitecore’s Experience Database (xDB) © ™ ®. If Sitecore’s own features and modules don’t do it then…

Plug everything else into Sitecore

Bring together your data sources into xDB;  ticketing systems, internal databases, Salesforce, Eloqua, payment providers, this API and that API and all website interactions. Headless Sitecore is a beautiful thing, it’s not just an expensive CMS, it’s a door opener. If you’ve got multiple CMSs, fine, use Sitecore’s Federated Experience Manager (FXM) to correlate data.

Use the Data Luke

Personalisation is one way but it’s not the only way. Please don’t just focus on making Barry from Cardiff feeling special on a Tuesday morning as the buys a can of Special Brew. He feels special enough already, and he won’t remember anyway.

Use the data to be relevant, valuable and and remember the Challenge you should be focussing on, to provide a consistent experience. Re-visit the high value areas where you’ve touched each other, was it good, was it as expected, was it consistent, would they want to do it again? Hopefully it’s a yes to all of those but you will only find out through…

Constantly reviewing and acting on feedback

Not at a quarterly where Sharon in sales says she’s heard that someone said popcorn prices are too high. Did that recommendation work? Yes/No -> act. You have the data, you have the knowledge so what’s it saying that needs to be acted upon and then act upon it quickly, then again, then again until it’s happening so regularly that you wish a computer could do it for you.
If you’re not improving then what’s the point?

Postscript

Although I work on Sitecore and it’s technology remember it’s not the technology that’s the driver behind this, it’s the people. Always maintain the human element of interacting with the customer.


About me – I’m an Account Director at True Clarity where we focus on getting the most out of Sitecore for our clients, who include easyJet, Dyson, ASOS, the Conservative Party and Sophos. I’ve also just come back from the most excellent 2017 Sitecore Symposium where Sitecore 9 was launched.


 

Sitecore xDB Personalisation at the client

Nick Hills’ headed over to SUGCON last week to share his infinite wisdom with the rest of the Sitecore community, if you missed it or want a recap you can listen to his talk below:

This talk shows off techniques that allow you to combine two great tools: the personalisation capabilities and power of xDB along with the benefits of CDN edge-caching. Editors can configure and design personalisation rules as normal yet still harness all the power and gains that CDN’s offer.

He’s also handily put together a whitepaper weighing up the pros and cons of the various approaches – http://blog.boro2g.co.uk/personalization-at-scale-whitepaper/

Get in touch if you want to find out more on +44 (0)117 932 7700 or info@trueclarity.co.uk

Graduating Soon?

bham

We love hiring graduates!

We hire a lot and we’re getting pretty good at training them…

Over 50% of our company joined us straight out of Uni. Last year we have had 7 graduates join us in Development, Test and Project Management. Some of the developers we hired as graduates 10 years ago are still with us , including two of the computer scientists we first met at Bristol University, who are now Sitecore MVPs (an award given to only 0.53% of the Sitecore certified ecosystem).

Our graduate recruitment is under way and we are keen to see applications from budding software developers who would like to work in Bristol.

We’ll be at https://www.siliconmilkroundabout.com/ on the 8th May, come and say hello to me (and some of the team) to find out more.

If you can’t make it, feel free to drop me a line for an initial conversation about the roles on 0117 932 7700 or alternatively send a copy of your CV to: Ed.bootle@trueclarity.co.uk

Commerce and Digital Content Event

Feels like the year has just started but we’re over a month in and we’ve already held our first event.

The event was a great success, it was oversubscribed and we had a great list of brands speaking and attending. For those who missed out, or those who asked for the slides you can grab them below:

Econsultancy – The digital retailer, trends, opportunities and challenges

Fenwick – Avoiding creating content for vanity’s sake

Quill – Using e-commerce content to power growth

JLL – Food in fashion, a newsjacking case study

Now to get planning the next one 🙂

January 28th event – Commerce and Digital Content, Trends, successes and what to avoid

Ciprian Muresan - THE UNBELONGING

We invite you to hear from our panel of digital marketing experts on whether editorial content really is all it’s cracked up to be in driving web traffic and sales. Come and join in the discussion on their experiences across a variety of sectors including retail, fashion, travel, media and leisure.

Running Order: 

  • 13:00-14:00: Arrivals, lunch and drinks
  • 14:00-14:10: Welcome note
  • 14:10-14:30: Econsultancy, “The Digital Retailer: Trends, Opportunities and Challenges”
  • 14:30-14:50: Fenwick, “Avoiding creating content for vanity’s sake”
  • 14:50-15:10: Quill, “Using ecommerce content to power growth”
  • 15:10-15:30: JLL, “Food in Fashion” A newsjacking case study
  • 15:30-15:50: Panel Q&A, “Where should you be putting your efforts?”
  • 16:00-onwards: Networking and drinks

Who should come?

The event is aimed at sharing experiences across sectors from people who are responsible for driving their online sales and strategy. Heads of/Managers of – Digital, E-commerce, IT and Marketing will get the first pick of tickets.

Register now: http://tccommerceandcontent.eventbrite.co.uk

We hope to see you there!

Sitecore 8.1 – What you need to know from those who know best

The Sitecore experts (MVPs) were lucky enough to get their hands on XP 8.1 two months before it was publicly released in October 2015. The early access allows them to get a head start on mastering the new release and provide Sitecore with essential feedback for improvements and the roadmap. As part of this Sitecore have released a whitepaper on the MVP’s initial reactions to three questions:

  1. What’s your favorite feature of Sitecore XP 8.1, e.g., what part do you think businesses couldn’t live without?
  2. What in your opinion is the greatest benefit of Sitecore XP 8.1 for digital technologists and IT leaders?
  3. What in your opinion is the greatest benefit of Sitecore XP 8.1 for developers?

You can grab your copy here. We’re pretty p

Going digital to save Taylor & Francis 150 hours a week

“Our e-copyright system was a relatively simple idea that required some fairly complicated problem-solving to make a reality. We worked side-by-side with True Clarity throughout the process to make sure the product we ended up with didn’t limit our flexibility. We appreciated the willingness of True Clarity to have people doing the development work available to us throughout the process. ”

Edward A. Cilurso Vice President – Production

Taylor & Francis Group are one of the world’s leading publishers, releasing over 2,100 journals and 4,000 books annually, with a backlist in excess of 60,000 specialist titles.

What was needed

Taylor and Francis (T&F) have to handle around 250,000 copyright agreements annually in order to publish articles on their site. Getting these agreed involved a lengthy process of emailing out forms, toing and froing through lots of amends and relying on scanning, faxing and emails to log author’s approvals electronically. The business case was crying out for moving this process online, in order to eliminate the pain for authors and staff, save time and keep up with the competition’s online offering.

How we tackled it

Prototypes and early delivery

We kicked off with a discovery phase, involving a few workshops and sessions to completely map out the process, then put together some flow charts to illustrate how we would automate the copyright process. At this stage we carried out some proto-types to validate the approaches, flesh out the unknowns and start delivering to T&F as early as possible in the project. Beyond the author approval on-site, we also needed to map out the integration points with internal legacy sites, such as the production and content management system, and map out some complex workflows to keep the site as self-sufficient as possible.

Designed for Flexibility

The site was designed to present the author with a set of questions, which dynamically change based on their response. The outcome is then used to generate a personalised version of the copyright agreement for the author to agree and submit. Key to this project was to ensure migrating the process online didn’t take away the flexibility of the manual process, so we worked with T&F to create a sophisticated back end allowing T&F to define the routing of questions and answers used to generate the copyright agreements. We also created a number of customisable email templates sent out for different statuses, including reminders for authors who may not have completed an agreement after X amount of time.

The Value

Copyright agreements turned around much faster

T&F sent out 193 author publishing agreements upon launch. 118 were approved within a week, with the vast majority clicking standard options, requiring no further intervention from T&F and minimal enquiries. The approval of 118 licenses would have averaged a longer turnaround, with inspection of each form, using the old process.

Saving staff time on menial tasks

T&F are able to compile detailed weekly reports from the author approval system based on the current status of manuscripts, licenses assigned per country and APAs completed by day. T&F have calculated from the initial launch stats that the new system will save them up to 150 man hours per week – the equivalent of four full-time staff members.