If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that things can change fast. But it’s important to note that what we’ve seen in this past year isn’t necessarily a divergence from pre-Covid trends. Rather, it’s an acceleration of those trends, including the need for brands to work more quickly than ever toward digital transformation.

Brands are having to revisit digital strategies and learn how to deliver great experiences with unprecedented speed, because customer expectations and behaviors are changing more rapidly than ever. Consider some of the latest trends:

Exceptional customer experience (CX) is essential for winning and maintaining customers today. Thus, the focus of our latest release — helping brands speed their delivery of the CX we’ve all come to expect.

Sitecore 10.1: Delivering at the speed of 2021

Sitecore Experience Manager® (XM) and Sitecore Experience Platform™ (XP) 10.1 are now available, with features and functionality to help brands deliver experiences at warp speed. The 10.1 release builds on the innovations delivered in 10.0, reinforcing Sitecore XP as the leading platform that creates efficiencies for both Marketing and IT — providing tools that help teams launch and evolve unique experiences that drive successful engagements.

Evolving experiences rapidly

As marketers and brands continue to monitor and navigate the changing digital environment and evolving consumer expectations, the pressure is on to ensure that experiences don’t get stale. The ability to update quickly is essential. Advancements in the Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) improve site authoring and workflows. Updates to Horizon improve content search and authoring scenarios as well. Both increase time to market for CX. And Sitecore XP 10.1 also features a tighter integration between the two, significantly increasing the speed at which a brand can edit and evolve experiences to match the rate of CX change.

Optimizing technology spend

A focus of this release is on platform optimizations that help reduce run, upgrade, and hosting costs — from improved cold-start times to a new data purging tool for Sitecore® Experience Database™ (xDB), to name only two. Digital transformation and CX are more important than ever, and we recognize the need to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) for tech investment.

Support for extended, high-performing delivery models

A whopping 53% of visitors will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Sitecore XP 10.1 introduces a Next.js SDK — an enterprise-ready JavaScript framework used by brands such as Netflix, Hulu, Marvel, Ferrari, and Starbucks. This framework provides flexible delivery models ranging from static site generation (SSG), to server-side rendering (SSR), to hybrid approaches. It also accelerates Sitecore implementations that use JSS with out-of-the-box features and provides performance improvements for sites using Next.js for a hybrid-SSG model.

Accelerating personalization and deepening customer segmentation insights

When it comes to personalization, quickly identifying something known about a visitor (even if they are relatively anonymous) is a critical to delivering targeted, relevant information that drives trust and loyalty. This release introduces rules-based content profiling, significantly speeding the identification of visitors' interests and preferences based on their behavior and matching content to them.

Sitecore AI

It would be remiss to not talk about the eagerly anticipated release of Sitecore AI Auto-Personalization, which we announced at this past year’s Sitecore Symposium. Sitecore AI Auto-Personalization Standard, which is now part of both Sitecore XP 10.0 and 10.1 with this release, enables brands to jumpstart personalization, without any manual definition of user segments.

For brands that have already begun their personalization efforts, Sitecore AI helps by analyzing visitor behavior to learn where they are in their journey, deepen understanding of them, and determine the best content to optimize their experience.

Staying ahead of the curve has always been a challenge. Today’s accelerated rate of change increases it. It’s good to know you’re not alone. We’re committed to offering the best marketing and commerce solutions to support your organization’s competitive evolution. To learn more about our new advancements to support yours, visit here. Or, if you’re for a demo our latest release, you can request a demo here.

Jill Grozalsky is a Product Marketing Director at Sitecore. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter