Full headless experiences with Sitecore Omni™

In the keynote during Sitecore Symposium 2018 in Orlando we introduced Sitecore Omni™, a range of products that support headless scenarios for the different business needs in digital marketing.

Sitecore Omni™ supports all headless scenarios including all author and marketer functionality that the Sitecore Experience Cloud offers, including inline editing, analytics, personalization, multivariate testing and Sitecore Cortex machine learning.

Headless is often positioned and offered as the solution for your digital marketing challenges; digital marketing challenges that are becoming more and more critical to solve.

Customers are expecting seamless experiences on every channel, both online and offline. Because of the exponential growth of the channels the digital marketing channel is are getting more complex.  There is no silver bullet headless approach, there is no single headless solution that fits all.
In the real world there are different customers, with different digital marketing challenges and business cases. These challenges often need a different (headless) approaches.

A headless approach can be the used from solutions where the CMS is only the content hub for a static Progressive Web App, it can be used to track offline customer interaction with IoT or build a full powered native mobile app with tracking and personalization. For all these business cases is the headless approach the correct one, but you can understand that the technical requirements and implementation are completely different.

With Sitecore Omni we introduce a range of products that supports the different headless scenarios.

Before we dive further into Sitecore Omni I would like to provide some context around headless. What is headless and more important why would you choose a headless approach.

Headless

What is headless? (the really short version)

Headless is a the ‘new’ way to say using the CMS as a content API. Only get content data from the system, as opposed to final rendered content such as HTML.

Sitecore has supported Headless since 6.5 with the introduction of the Item Web API. Since then, options to extract content in a headless fashion have only become richer, with the introduction of Sitecore Services Client, Item Service, OData Item Service and now with Sitecore Javascript Service (JSS).

Why choose a headless approach?

The primary advantage of headless is flexibility – de-coupling content delivery from rendering.

This allows for separating front-end technologies from the CMS, only using the CMS for delivering data as opposed to rendered html. Because it’s “just data”, it’s easier to deliver across non-web channels and it provides more options for scaling apps, not necessarily bound to how the CMS scales.

Host it in many more places than ever before! Hosting an app in a cheap PaaS Node host like Heroku? You got it. Hosting an app in a CDN? Yes!

The other benefit is to scale your team with the talent pool of front-end developers. The JavaScript world, for example, is massive compared to the pool of .Net developers.

Why Sitecore Omni™?

There are a lot of benefits for a headless approach. Sitecore Omni™ provides a range of products that solve different needs.

  • Full flexibility. Sitecore Omni provides you with flexibility in technology.
  • Technology is not a restriction in presentation, there is no limit in creativity.
  • Scale your workforce with front-end developers and creative agencies.
  • Different solutions to fit different headless scenarios
  • Build headless applications without sacrificing Sitecore’s personalization, analytics, and A/B testing features.
  • With the use of Sitecore Omni you can build Sitecore applications without .Net knowledge.
  • Language agnostic, supporting the mayor Javascripts framework
  • EAsy to scale
  • Collect events from your customer interactions, both online and offline.

There are a lot more details in every headless solution and product within Sitecore Omni, I’ll dive into those in the upcoming blog posts series; Introducing Sitecore Omni™.

What is Sitecore Omni™

Let’s dive in a bit deeper into the range of products within Sitecore Omni.

Sitecore Omni product suite

Sitecore Omni product suite

Sitecore Javascript Services (JSS)

Creative teams can build full-fledged experiences such as websites or single page and progressive web applications, with marketers maintaining full control over content, presentation, and marketing features while developers have complete freedom to use any development environment, operating system, and developer workflow.

Sitecore GraphQL

Sitecore GraphQL is a modern query language to the Sitecore API. GraphQL is a query language for the content API, designed to be the ultimate API for solution that have the need to efficiently consume content without over-fetching. Sitecore GraphQL is for a developer easy to work with as it’s a self-documenting and strong typed API with an amazing graphical tooling available.

Sitecore Services

The Sitecore Services Client offering services based on the industry standard OData to access Sitecore content. Sitecore Services Clients offers full CRUD (Create, Update and Delete) operations on the content, with considerations of access permissions and authentication.

Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA)

Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) speeds up the production of websites by reusing components, layouts, and templates across a variety of sites. SXA is not only an excellent site builder it also enables you to model the data in JSON (JavaScript Object Notation). For example, you can build a mobile app and feed it with content from your SXA site.  You can define and edit the content structure in SXA and have output content in JSON instead of HTML.

Universal Tracker

The Universal Tracker is a scalable tracking service based on web API technology designed for full freedom of collecting events as they occur real-time on any device.

The Universal Tracker allows you to collect events from interactions and stores them in the experience database.

The Universal Tracker is built with .Net Core and is designed to perform and to scale to support large numbers of interactions and traffic. It has a pluggable architecture, open for you to extend and customize to your customer needs.

Learn more about Sitecore Omni and Sitecore 9.1 release

Sitecore Omni was part of the Sitecore 9.1 release. More info on the 9.1 release can be found in my blog series on Sitecore 9.1 What’s new.

There is a lot more to share on each individual product within Sitecore Omni. For further introduction please watch Mark van Aalst his introduction to Sitecore Omni Video.

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