Getting started with Sitecore Marketing Automation

With the latest Sitecore 9 release, a completely new Marketing Automation tool is available for users to quickly plan and extend their automation activities with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

Also, a new fully-scalable engine architecture is now available so that you can make sure to process new activities as quickly as you need to.

I have put together a video series as well as a blog post on the new capabilities in Sitecore 9 and published it to the Sitecore Technical Marketing blog!

Read more…

Evangelist Year One – a Retrospective

Just over one year ago, I wrote about a big change in my career as I joined the Sitecore Technical Marketing team to work as the North American Technical Evangelist. Over the last 12 months, a lot has happened, and in typical agile fashion I’m looking back at what has been happening, what worked well, and what didn’t!

FAIR WARNING: This is a long read, there is no TL;DR, this is mostly for me. Read at your own risk!

TL;DR: I lied. The short version is I had a blast all year and am way too excited about more big things this year!

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Sitecore 9 xDB Sharding

Have you ever wondered what is going on with those new Shard databases in Sitecore 9? This is the new xDB! The new Shard Manager stores data based on the contact ID. A contact ID is a GUID identifier that is unique for each contact. It looks something like this:

B9814105-1F45-E611-82E6-34E6D7117DCB

The xDB scales out by splitting these contacts across the various shards based on their contact identifier. A 16-byte hash of the GUID is used and assigned to each shard to ensure distribution.

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New Microsoft Planner Due Date Notifications

A short while ago I wrote about our team’s initial adoption of Microsoft Planner. At the time, we were having issues with the due dates feature because there seemed to be no way to view our schedule. A few months later, we ran into another issue with due dates. The complaint? Users were not being notified when their content was due. Since the team was not looking at the plan every day, and had no way to view a schedule, tasks were getting lost and we were having to work around this issue in other ways. What could we do?

As I spent some time after a team meeting discussing this, I discovered Microsoft had actually started development on this feature. As of January 16th, all users now have access! With this feature, you now get emails in your inbox reminding you of tasks that have expired as well as upcoming tasks.

planner_tasks

This was exactly the functionality we needed to make sure the team was reminded about the items that were coming up on their plate.

Bonus: Schedule view

The new Schedule view also gives us a calendar view of our tasks based on due dates. This will make reviewing upcoming tasks even eaiser so we can visualize the distribution of tasks over time. Sometimes, as we reschedule late tasks, we can wind up with too many tasks all clumped together and this is a good way for us to find those clusters.

A good start! I’m looking forward to seeing Microsoft continue to invest in this tool and bring it up to par with others in the field.

 

Scaling Sitecore 9.0 XP Services

The blog here has been a little quiet lately as I have started moving to creating content on the corporate site. I wanted to share something I worked on and has been posted on the Community blogs.

Here you go: Scaling Sitecore xConnect and XP Services architecture

In the linked blog you’ll get a brief overview but primarily you’ll get access to the video content I’ve created to help you understand the new Sitecore 9.0 services and how to scale them!

Continuous Improvement for Sitecore DevOps

Did you miss out on my Montreal SUG presentation a few weeks back? Not to worry, I got your back!

I recorded a run-through of my presentation and uploaded it so you can hear my thoughts on how we can continuously improve and invest in DevOps practices for our Sitecore projects. It’s not exactly what was in Montreal, but close enough 🙂

Want more? Come hear the Effective DevOps for Sitecore panel at Symposium 2017 on Wednesday, October 18th, at 11:15am. I’ll be moderating panelists Kam Figy, Derek Hunziker, and Joe Bissol. Great panel, great content!

 

Microsoft Planner – The task tracker we deserve

For years, I have been a dedicated user of Trello as you may have seen in some blog posts. Recently, however, my team has been using O365 and Microsoft Teams in an effort to push Teams to its limit and get the most out of the integrations Microsoft has put together between all their tools.

In this case, I needed the ability to get some planning put together for a content calendar, so in came Microsoft Planner. Built right into O365, I was able to get started quickly and start assigning tasks. However, I quickly learned that this tool was the hero we deserve, not the hero we need.

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