With the release of the Sitecore 9 series, one key architectural change - xConnect - is going to drive the product to a new omni-channel paradigm and connect services to support a personalised experience, regardless of interface or device. Here are three reasons why xConnect is the service layer game changer for Sitecore.
A common misconception of xConnect is that it is a replacement of Sitecore’s Experience Database (xDB), released in version 7.5. Sitecore xDB is still alive and kicking in the version 9 series; xConnect, on the other hand, is a complementary API layer used as a vehicle between customer data sources, repositories and reporting insights, and Sitecore’s experience platform to deliver customer experience optimisation. This vehicle is what Sitecore describe as the ‘micro-service layer’. The micro-service layer can connect to a variety of new services that elastically scale to support the flow of real-time interactions, data and marketing automation across Sitecore and other systems.
Amongst other things, Sitecore’s new xConnect architecture abstracts the storage of data in order to scale to the requirements of cross-channel devices. The end goal for Sitecore is to be able to deliver a personalised message, triggered by xDB. This principle extends to consoles, kiosks, beacons and any meaningful data feed that can personalise this service to the customer. If IoT is an important element of your strategy, you can easily connect to Azure IoT services and leverage these readily available tools. These types of services will enrich the customer data as they become increasingly intertwined with your xDB and Sitecore engine, for true omni-channel experiences.
With the sophistication of micro-services at scale comes the responsibility to secure customer data transmitting between repositories. xConnect comes GDPR compliant by default and is architected to incorporate privacy-by-design principles. Sitecore has privacy controls and features to assist securing, managing and reporting personally identifiable customer data.