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Bold New Sitecore Symposium Announcements
Dec 09, 2022 • 4 Minute Read • Elizabeth Spranzani, Chief Technology Officer
Sitecore revealed game-changing SaaS headless tools at Symposium in Chicago. As a longtime partner, we're excited to see many new products and tools announced to hit the market in support of the 2023 digital experience landscape. Componentizing, connectivity, and reusability are the common threads throughout these product announcements and the themes you should look for to support your DXP.
Here are the four products announced at Sitecore Symposium that are on our radar as we move away from monolithic architecture and into a composable future.
1. XM Cloud
XM Cloud SaaS offering is more than a CMS. The new offering includes products and features like Portal for single sign-in across all Sitecore products, Experience Edge CDN, Sitecore Pages for page composition, Sitecore Components - a WYSIWYG page component designer, Embedded Personalization, Embedded Analytics, and integration with GitOps and Vercel for static site generation and CDN services, in addition to a SaaS version of the XM CMS. As a headless XM CM instance (a content manager and dashboard), Sitecore will manage and control the administration tools, while the end-user application will remain in a separate code base and be hosted separately. Sitecore intends for XM Cloud to be an effective replacement for 70% or more of current customers.
XM Cloud is a robust new offering that disrupts the content management process on the backend and front end, so much so that it requires a deeper dive into it. For now, here are a few callouts:
- The Experience Edge Content Delivery Network (CDN) exposes published content and media via GraphQL endpoints to your channels in a quick and scalable way that can integrate with any platform.
- While Components Editor is not on the market yet, it will manage and create atomic elements that can be connected to any content data source (including non-Sitecore) and assembled onto a page via Sitecore Pages, providing a drag-and-drop-like behavior.
- XM Cloud will leverage Vercel to include Embedded Personalization on the edge. What we love about this feature is your team can test audience segmentation and personalize your website with some limited Sitecore Personalize functionality, even if you haven't explicitly licensed Sitecore Personalize.
- Complementary to that is Embedded Analytics, which will give you visibility into visitor's behavior.
- It has automatic updates to keep your CM tools on the latest version for smaller iterations that don't need client or partner validation.
2. Sitecore Search
Sitecore's search engine, Sitecore Search, was announced. It's a stand-alone SaaS product that can be used on any platform to drive the search experience with relevant content. It's a heightened version of what we typically expect from a search product. Through out-of-the-box features like facets, highlights, related questions, suggestions, sorting, relevance boosts, multilingual capabilities, and personalization components, Sitecore Search provides an excellent search experience for your visitors.
This intelligent tool is feature-rich and has a low barrier for entry if you're looking for a new search tool that helps connect visitors to the right content. Here's a handful of highlights:
- Search can be used and stand alone on any CMS, not just Sitecore
- It includes a sandbox environment for developing and testing
- It's based on an elastic search and can be set up to support multiple sources for crawling - crawling the webpage or crawling via an API
3. Sitecore Connect
Sitecore Connect is a white-label version of Workato that Sitecore has embedded into the Portal product. All the connectors that integrate between Sitecore products and external systems will run through Connect, which:
- Helps to consolidate access across channels like getting your customer behavior data in and out of your Customer Data Platform (CDP) and connecting them to other systems.
- As of now, Connect will be ready in 2023 with a beta in the first quarter. Sitecore's focus is to work this into CDP and OrderCloud and will focus later on XM Cloud and Content Hub.
- You pay per connection, but you can set it up and build UAT connections for testing purposes.
4. Content Hub One
Content Hub One is Sitecore's lightweight headless CMS product that's based and built on Content Hub but doesn't include concepts of Sites, Pages, Presentations, etc. Instead, it's an agile omnichannel CMS that includes Content Types, Content, Assets, Settings, JSON Preview, Draft/Published Concepts, Content workflow, filters for lists, and scheduled publishing. With Content Hub One, marketing teams will be able to:
- Create and manage content with simplified tooling and interfacing made for content modeling
- Deliver authored content, query it, and send it to your headless applications
- Streamline content operations and reuse content for multiple touchpoints
- Leverage it as a data source within Component Builder in XM Cloud
Note that Content Hub One is not yet released.
In between the product announcements and Mindy Kaling's main stage event, there were a few notable updates:
- There's a dilemma that plagues the Sitecore technical world that came up at various sessions. There are two competing technologies for rendering hosts: Next.JS and .NET Core - a true technical divergence. Developers will need to weigh the pros and cons of each when evaluating a project. And at this point, it's preference and project-based as to which technology is used.
- While Commerce flew under the radar at Symposium sessions, Sitecore still talked about the importance and value of its commerce capabilities and commitments. The event teased Project Affinity, which is Sitecore overlaying Discover onto OrderCloud. This move would be a big push toward merchandising through search, facets, and recommendations. More to come on this trajectory.
Explore XM Cloud with Verndale. We'll dive into what the move to the new SaaS platform means for your current ecosystem and evaluate the benefits, cost savings, and considerations for your business. Fill out our form to schedule a workshop.
These product announcements and themes around cloud-enabled and composability are another very tangible leap in the direction away from monolithic and toward better digital experiences. The introductions of these products are just the start.
Learn more about Verndale's partnership with Sitecore.