A Landmark in Sitecore’s History?

Is the new Sitecore XM Cloud a landmark for the digital experience software provider? This longtime developer seems to think so.

In mid-July Sitecore announced the launch of Sitecore XM Cloud, the culmination of a process which has seen Sitecore make the main components of its platform available on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis. Critically, Sitecore XM Cloud makes Sitecore’s main content management system (CMS) available on a SaaS basis, a core missing piece of Sitecore’s support for a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) based on composable architecture.

Sitecore’s marketing has been emphasizing using Sitecore as a composable DXP for a while. A string of acquisitions has resulted in an expanding portfolio of SaaS services including Sitecore Content Hub (resulting from the acquisition of Stylelabs) and Sitecore CDP, based on the more recent Boxever acquisition.

No Longer Work-in-Progress Digital Experience Platform

Despite more elements of Sitecore becoming available as independent SaaS-based services, up to now it has been hard to present a coherent and complete picture of Sitecore as supporting a cloud-first, composable DXP when the core of the product was still not available in this way.

The overwhelming majority of Sitecore customers we work with use the CMS on a daily basis; their everyday experience of using Sitecore involves the CMS. For them, the message that Sitecore supports a composable DXP when their most-used part of the platform is not part of that architecture sent mixed messages and caused some confusion in the marketplace, and to a certain extent sold a story that was a work-in-progress. The launch of Sitecore XM Cloud means that this is no longer the case.

The launch of Sitecore XM Cloud therefore represents something of a landmark in the history of Sitecore and a pivot away from the integrated platform available either managed on an organization’s own infrastructure or on a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) basis. While these options are still available, Sitecore is clearly prioritizing the fully cloud-native, composable route.

Related Article: What’s Behind Sitecore’s New Cloud-Native CMS Launch?

What Is Sitecore XM Cloud?

At its heart Sitecore XM Cloud is a headless CMS that also has an editing experience attached. Sitecore themselves position it as a “cloud-native, modern CMS empowering brands to create, manage, and deliver relevant content at lightning-fast speeds.”

Unsurprisingly, Sitecore has also used the new release to incorporate some new functionality and a redesign, some of which have been evolving over previous releases or were in preview. Improvements are again a result of the $1.2 billion dollar investment that Sitecore has received to support its acquisitions, increase its marketing efforts and enhance the platform.

Of particular note is the Sitecore Pages functionality which allows for in-page editing based on the Horizon editor which has been enhanced over recent releases; it provides a more appealing and easy-to-use interface than the existing Experience Editor. The editing experience is also improved to build components which can then be re-used across multiple sites; there are various refreshed interfaces to make it easier to manage a multi-site environment.

A “cloud portal” also allows administrators to access the different SaaS-based Sitecore components within your composable architecture. Overall, this feels like a significant upgrade to the core CMS which has arguably been less of a priority in the past couple of years.

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