Sitecore Symposium 2020 Overview and New Content Hub Updates

In this year's special Sitecore Symposium, there were a lot of new updates and news surrounding Sitecore Content Hub. Much has been shared through the roadmap keynote by Desta Price, EVP Product Management at Sitecore and Tom De Ridder, Chief Technology Officer at Sitecore. The news begins with Content Insights and Content Coverage until the new Content as a Service (CaaS) offering arrives in early 2021. Also, we heard about the news around the CMP connector that has been recently released and the new versions on the roadmap. If you want to know more about this news and updates, keep reading!

What is the Problem? What is the Solution? 

To start, we should all understand the problem and the solution around content and content hub, so I'll quickly summarize the problem and solution based on a couple of sessions I attended at Sitecore Symposium 2020. It begins with the Content Crisis problem, caused by a Disparate Systems across dozens of business units and content scattered across multiple soiled systems. Content Management lacked control of duplicate content, Digital Rights Management (DRM) over content issues, complex multichannel, multi-brand requirements and associated governance. Systems used are legacy and disconnected which leads to inconsistent customer experience across different digital channels. This could also results in an Inflexible Content Data Modal. At this point Content Hub claims to be the solution for all of these issues, but how?:

  1. Single, centralized content repository. 
  2. Auditability and traceability across all content and assets, in addition to the technical capabilities to integrate with different solutions.
  3. Deliver best value and fastest time to market.
  4. You can use Digital Asset Management (DAM), Product Content Management (PCM), Digitals Rights Management (DRM), Marketing Resource Management (MRM) in a single unified platform.
  5. Integrations with other business applications like Salesforce.

What's Coming? 

Content as a Service

One huge piece of news is the publishing of data managed in Content Hub to Sitecore’s distributed content delivery platform. With provided API and using GraphQL endpoint, this makes it flexible for developers to retrieve and conduct presentation of content in different channels.

GraphQL is an open-source data query and manipulation language for APIs, want to know more about GraphQL?  Click here.

GraphQL with the CaaS, this allows us to control what data is fetched. The endpoint can be used to fetch as much or as little data as needed. 

  1. Fetch data for rendering page HTML in response to a page load request.
  2. Fetch data to dynamically change sections of a page with AJAX.

At this point you may start to make comparisons between CaaS and DXP or XM. The simplest answer is, CaaS is not a competitor, nor a replacement of XP or XM. CaaS is a new offering that complements XP for brands that do not need the full functionality of a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) and Content Management System (CMS).

Here are some considerations you would need to think of when choosing between CaaS and XP:

  1. CaaS serves as a truly headless, highly scalable offering. It does not have the same DXP and WYSIWYG page authoring functionalities that XP has.
  2. XP provides full DXP and CMS capabilities, provides experience optimization, and personalization. Sitecore Headless SDKs (JavaScript SDK or ASP.NET Core SDK) can be used to achieve a “hybrid headless” solution with XP.

Here are some consideration you would need to think off when choosing between CaaS and XM:

  1. XM keeps business users in control of presentation through Horizon and Experience Editor.
  2. CaaS allows business users to manage content, but developers build the presentation in the apps that consume the delivery API.

Content Strategy Board New Features:

Content Strategy Board in Content Hub is used by markets to visualize their content and see how it delivers key elements of their strategies. 

Content Insights and the Engagement Value

This represents performance of content, average engagement value by country and by region, which provides insights to where content performs best.  

Content Coverage using Sitecore AI:

This is based on segments, which enables the marketer’s team to build the best strategy to create additional content by clicking a specific segment. *Segments is a categorization of contacts based on some conditions.

CMP Connector

The entire content lifecycle from planning, publishing (content hub and XP) and delivery (XP). The bridge is the CMP connector, with the improved connector between Sitecore 10 and Content Hub. It allows customers to leverage the combined power of both platforms. 

How it Works

  1. The connector needs 3 places to be configured:
    1. Azure Service Bus
    2. Content Hub
    3. Sitecore Content Management 
  2. When changes made in Content Hub (entity creation, modification, deletion), using a trigger and action, changes will be messaged to the service bus where the app is listening. The app will receive the targeted entities from Content Hub and write it into Sitecore. Data like where used messaged will be shared will be send back to Content Hub.

CMP Connector 3.0 (September 2020):

  1. Fault tolerant for sync - retry 3 times to complete the sync after entity failure
  2. Support all simple field types - support all non-complex field mappings between Content Hub entity and Sitecore items
  3. Sync of tags - sync taxonomy values from Content Hub as tags to the corresponding items in Sitecore
  4. Introduce related entities - brings an entity and maintain the relationships from Content Hub to Sitecore
  5. Enhanced DAM & media link support - attachments asset from CMP to public in Sitecore, images can be pushed from CMP to XP if they are part of rich text, content piece as pdf. 

CMP 4.0 (and Future) is Close to Being Released:

  1. The content in CMP is written to target certain personas which will map profile cards in XP that will allow us to infer the interests about a contact based on the content they are browsing
  2. Knowing where and how content is being used which allowed editors/authors to make the right changes to the content. 
  3. Support of item versioning from the changes originated in CMP
  4. Support Item workflow from changes originated in CMP 

I hope the above gave an overview of what's coming around Sitecore Content Hub, if you have any questions please feel free to comment here or send me an email.

About Author

Mohammed Syam
Mohammed has a Masters degree in Computer Sciences, has been a Sitecore Most valuable Professional (MVP) since 2016 (2016-2020), and is a Sitecore Hackathon 2019 winner. He has been in software development since 2009, and working with Sitecore since 2015. He has also been working as Sitecore Architect with since 2017.

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