At the Sitecore Symposium 2021, Dave O’Flannigan, Sitecore’s Chief Product Officer made some very big announcements.
With Sitecore’s 4 strategic acquisitions and their huge investment in growth, Sitecore has reimagined the future of the DXP to a composable future where brands assemble a stack as they choose.
Sitecore is planning to define a new category of product that will help marketers build a next generation of visual experiences with a standalone, composable, multi-cloud platform that allows marketers to visually create experiences in a low code / no code environment.
So what exactly is this new composable DXP?
Sitecore is calling it Sitecore Experience Manager Cloud, and it is set to be available in Spring 2022.
Sitecore Experience Manager Cloud is the no compromise CMS that’s got native headless REST and graph QL interfaces for content management and delivery.
It will have truly open APIs designed for builders, and will be a cloud native CMS, that’s infinitely scalable. Best of all it will be the last Sitecore CMS upgrade you’ll ever do.
The new CMS will be headless, Jamstack ready, support Jamstack deployments and works with all modern frontend frameworks and CDN.
It includes a product called Sitecore Symphony - Sitecore’s new next generation visual builder that they’re calling Frontend as a Service.
Dave O'Flannigan breaks XM Cloud into 3 pillars, that we'll explore in this blog.
The Content Hub portion consists of the Content Hub DAM, which is the same market leading digital asset product we know today that provides brands with advanced control and security, as well as Content Hub content operations, which transforms how marketers define and execute their content marketing strategy. It uses collaboration and workflow to focus on high value tasks like strategy and creative execution.
One of the downfalls of Sitecore’s personalization capabilities has been the ability to use personalization with something like a CDN. Usually Sitecore users have to choose between personalization or performance, so I was super excited about this one.
Without revealing too many details, Dave says the DXP will be able to balance speed with relevancy, and can dial each of them up depending on how we want to tailor the solution to our customers. While thus far marketers have had to choose between speed or relevancy, that will be a thing of the past with the new DXP and we’ll no longer need to trade them off. Exciting stuff!
Just like the tradeoff between performance and relevancy, we’ve been faced with another tradeoff in the past: Agility and flexibility.
Usually headless CMS add the scale and flexibility but largely at the expense of the marketer.
Sitecore believes headless CMS should be combined with a best in breed visual editor to give everyone the best of both worlds.
The experience pillar has 3 core capabilities:
While Sitecore’s always had a strength in these areas, Sitecore needed a more modern approach as cloud becomes the new standard and APIs are microservices are expected.
Sitecore wanted to not only evolve the architecture, but excel the innovation as part of a truly cloud native multi tenant headless platform.
To do this Sitecore acquired 2 products:
Sitecore Send is an incredibly powerful marketing automation platform that balances simplicity with the power of data and AI, delivering a truly omni-channel automation platform.
It will be the messaging engine in the new composable platform.
Sitecore acquired Boxever to become the central nervous system of the new composable DXP.
The core customer data capabilities of Boxever are now called Sitecore CDP.
It infuses every product with real time analytics, customer insights and personalization.
You can aggregate customer data from multiple disparate data sources and build a golden profile of your customer, either anonymous or fully known, and can use the data to create segments or groups and easily distribute those to other parts of your stack, whether that’s a Sitecore product or another vendor.
Sitecore says the CDP is the most privacy centric and secure way to get better insights on your customers in an ethical and transparent manner.
Sitecore Personalize offers real time personalization and experimentation capabilities.
It’s based on Boxever’s capabilities too, and it can be integrated with just a simple tag on the site.
Sitecore Personalize also provides more sophisticated capabilities to personalize server to server via APIs or to personalize at the edge giving unrivalled flexibility and deployment options if needed.
Sitecore Personalize is not for XM Cloud users only. Today, Sitecore users with XM or XP already installed can use the solution quickly and integrate it into their current installation and start their cloud journey with Sitecore.
Dave says it’s so easy to use that personalization can be implemented in minutes in the client or at the Edge, and you can add more capabilities as you become more sophisticated.
The third pillar, commerce, has 2 core capabilities:B2X commerce Product discovery
Since a lot of Sitecore users need B2B or marketplace solutions that stretch beyond just a simple B2C market of one catalogue and one price, Sitecore has acquired 2 commerce tools that expand Sitecore’s capabilities beyond core XC in a cloud native way:
OrderCloud is a API first, headless platform that gives users the ability to bring commerce into channels or branded experiences that don’t typically fit the traditional mold of an online storefront.
OrderCloud is the perfect fit for those moving beyond a single website and starting to think about creating a commerce ecosystem for their business with APIs.
Powered by Reflektion, Sitecore Discover offers strong product catalogue management and visual merchandising capabilities, as well as AI expertise.
Sitecore Search builds on the enterprise search and AI capabilities Reflektion has today, but delivers cool things like instant preview search.
It allows users to index structured data directly from XM and Content Hub, or can scrape the rendered pages for quick deployment.
The interface looks intuitive and a lot more visual than the current Sitecore launchpad and content editor.
Sites are displayed by recency, and Dave says it offers marketers the power to create a game changing experience in a visual composer that takes learnings from Horizon.
During Dave’s demo, he publishes a site with a couple of clicks and says that the application is powered by Next JS and Versal, and published to the CDN instantly, without any IT involvement.
Analytics are powered by Boxever and will be included in every XM Cloud installation, allowing marketers to see simple analytics at the site and page level to understand how their digital experiences are performing.
All marketers need to do is install a simple tag to gather the data.
Dave also reveals that Sitecore’s developer experience has been lacking recently, so Sitecore has been trying to do more the developer, and has built a new developer portal.
Another announcement was Sitecore Health Cloud - a specialized offering of Sitecore XM deployed in MS Azure that caters to the intricacies of the US health market.
The technology, built to empower healthcare providers to offer engaging and personalized patient experiences in a secure and compliant manner, will be HIPAA ready and available in Spring 22, along with HIPAA ready Content Hub.
Dave says Sitecore is still committed to innovation and XP, XM and their PaaS product offering.