Why Now is the Right Time to Upgrade to AEM 6.4

Waiting might cost you big money

I’m sure you’ve heard this line before, “Act Now!”  Marketers and advertisers are always trying to get you to do something right away, quick, hurry!, before it’s too late – and before you really think about what you’re doing.  This isn’t one of those times.  I’d like for you to consider deeply why it behooves you and your team to move from whatever version of AEM you’re on to AEM 6.4.

First of all, if you’re on AEM 6.2 or earlier, you’re already seeing a degradation in your capabilities.  The non-touch UI has been deprecated for you.  Storage has been refactored.  The DAM evolved into AEM Assets. You might have lost some comfortable functionality already, and you’re not having a great time.  Sensei was also still in its infancy when you implemented and now it’s EVERYWHERE in AEM. 

If those few reasons weren’t enough, consider that if you’re on 6.0 or later, you can still upgrade to the substantial benefits of 6.4 without it costing an arm and a leg and taking a significant amount of time.  If you’re making a bigger jump between versions, it will, sadly, cost you more time and money, but the improvements are still far worth taking advantage of.

It's All About Timing

So just what are these advantages I’m talking about?  Before I dive into technical details, let me first say that timing is the first advantage to act on.  6.4 has been out for about six months now, meaning that bugs have been fixed, patches are out, and contributions from the community have been made – our experts think it’s a perfect time to implement to maximize this release.

The Rise of Fragments

But on to the more concrete advantages of 6.4.  Let’s first talk about maturity in fragments.  Fragments are a modern content management approach.  A strategy of managing content as 'pieces' outside the context of a page to enable better content re-use and support omni-channel content strategy.  Before fragments, it was reference components and manuscripts that tied content to pages, which had limitations, especially when leveraging content as a service.  With this evolution, the reusability of content skyrockets.  In 6.3, content fragments were less useful outside of the context of AEM.  In 6.4, fragments are becoming more exposed via the Adobe Core Services to other areas of the Adobe Experience Cloud, like Target and Campaign, and to non-Adobe products via web services.

Consider Your Assets

AEM Assets continues to mature and become an option as a standalone Asset Management System, too.  If you’re an asset-heavy company, upgrading for the advancements in DAM alone would be worth moving to 6.4.  Asset Share Commons is now available and responsive and can be stood up with out-of-the-box capabilities in weeks instead of months.  If that wasn’t enough, the Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Marketing Cloud now work seamlessly together in Assets, allowing you to create, edit, and use your assets all in one place.

At this point, I’ve covered the upgrades that affect marketing functions primarily, but that’s not where the reasons to upgrade end. 

More Than Marketing Updates

AEM 6.4 upgrades benefit your technologists, as well.  Your system administrators will be happy with what's new from Adobe.  6.4 shows that Adobe is making a significant investment in core services and core service integrations. The investment in upgrading DTM to Adobe Launch and fragments being available to Adobe Target make it easier to manage the services that share content and data with each other and to other products.

We won’t forget the developers, either.  From a development point of view, 6.4 is an investment in stability and support.  Adobe's commitment to core components and expanding their reach and connection to other products shows their future-oriented approach to the platform.  The change to Solr being the universal search within Author is an example of this, making search easier to integrate.

To conclude, the AEM 6.4 upgrade is good for just about everyone- marketers, developers, and admins, and the best time to act on it is, in fact, now. If you’re on 6.0 or later, upgrade to 6.4 before it gets prohibitively expensive.  This will also position you well for when Adobe inevitably moves to a headless content model.  It’s coming – all the moves they’ve made have well-positioned AEM to be a comprehensive content management system, beyond just the web.  We’ll have more on headless content management in the next few weeks – stay tuned!