Why upgrading to Sitecore 9 should be at the top of your priority list


Are you considering an upgrade to Sitecore 9.2? With mainstream support for Sitecore 8.2 ending on December 31, 2019, leveling up could help you prevent headaches and unexpected costs. In 2020, businesses running Sitecore 8 will have to pay extra to fix errors and unexpected behavior during installation and development. They’ll also have to foot the bill to repair product defects with hotfixes and patches. In addition, compatibility fixes for supported tech platforms will be completely unavailable.

So, depending on how many helpdesk tickets you submit to Sitecore each year, an upgrade in the next couple months could be essential to ensure everything keeps running smoothly. Plus, now that Sitecore 9 has a couple versions under their belts, the tools are fully baked and the bugs have been ironed out.

Keep in mind—the extended support phase will still include access to online documentation, assistance with production incidents and security updates and fixes.


Key benefits of Sitecore 9.2

Sitecore 9.2 is all about omnichannel personalization and optimization. This platform builds on Sitecore 9.0 and Sitecore 9.1 by making major improvements to marketing automation, Headless JSS, email delivery, and data integration from xDB to CRM connectivity with xConnect. This allows marketers to coordinate customer journeys across touchpoints and deliver advanced customer insights to generate more sales leads.

In addition Sitecore 9.2 offers the Sitecore Content Hub as an optional add-on. The Sitecore Content Hub integrates every aspect of your marketing content and gives you a centralized home for your digital assets, media, product and other content.


Horizontal’s gameplan for Sitecore 9 upgrades

Your upgrade to Sitecore 9.2 should focus on three areas: planning and risk assessment, upgrade execution and testing and ecosystem upgrade and growth plan. At Horizontal, we provide a bite-sized audit of our clients’ existing platform to ensure a smooth transition. During this audit, we focus on the existing site’s architecture, code quality, security, infrastructure and software development tools.

At this stage, we conduct stakeholder interviews, map out customer journeys and segment users within client profiles to determine our implementation gameplan. We also audit our clients’ use of products like Salesforce and Pardot with a focus on cross-system data share. 


Two approaches to your Sitecore 9.2 migration

Once your business has decided to upgrade, there are two routes to consider. First, you could upgrade existing instances in your server. In this scenario, your upgrade is performed against the existing instances and rolled out to all environments. The advantage of this approach is that additional infrastructure isn’t required for your upgrade. However, this type of upgrade typically requires a code freeze during the roll-out phase. Plus, unexpected issues are likely to pop up during the upgrade that could cause delays in the development lifecycle.

Second, you could upgrade from scratch. In this scenario, you set up a clean environment and clean Sitecore instances before migrating data. This approach enables you to upgrade your operating system as well as your SQL server. Since your platform is upgraded and tested in isolation of the current production instance, rollback is easy if issues occur. There’s no need to code freeze your existing solution during the upgrade. However, this approach does require additional infrastructure to meet the requirements of Sitecore 9.


Final word

In today’s digital landscape, markets are expanding and becoming more and more competitive. 

Customer loyalty depends on trust, and building trust requires you to engage with your customers at the right place at the right time with the right message. If you don’t provide quality experiences, your customers will look elsewhere to find what they need. Upgrading to Sitecore 9.2 could help you provide exceptional personalized experiences to your customers and give you an edge over your competitors.

As you build out your 2020 Sitecore roadmap, set up your project for success with our downloadable step-by-step upgrade guide: Everything you need to plan your Sitecore 9 upgrade.