Sitecore

Sitecore Symposium 2022 – CTO Summary

FR 2052a

If you are a CTO or technology decision maker in a company either using or considering Sitecore as your CMS platform, here is what you should take away from Sitecore Symposium 2022 held in Chicago.

Next.js

The future of building Sitecore web applications will be on Next.js. Sitecore was consistent in their messaging around moving to XM Cloud, which is headless. While you can build your front-end on any platform you want, it is clear that Next.js is the preferred platform. While Sitecore would not agree that Next.js is preferred and would say that you can bring your own front-end technology stack (and it is true), they are giving Next.js preferential treatment. From the SDK to examples to the partnership with Vercel, Next.js is the recipient of the most public support for Sitecore. If there is anything I have learned in my time as a Sitecore partner, it is to follow the path of least resistance with Sitecore *if* it also aligns with a sound enterprise strategy.

Next.js is an extremely popular application framework using React. You will be able to find plenty of training support for your team and it is 100x easier to find new hires that know Next.js than Sitecore SXA. If you already have a robust headless site built with Nuxt (the Vue analog to Next.js), however, I would lean heavily towards staying with what you have. If you have a lot of custom application code baked into your ASP.NET MVC site, rather than rewrite everything in Next.js you should consider moving logic into services, or you could find success with the ASP.NET Rendering front-end. You don’t have to take on a full rewrite, though, you can add headless features to your Sitecore MVC or SXA Solution

XM Cloud

Sitecore - Understanding Development Approaches: A Sitecore Outlook
Understanding Development Approaches: A Sitecore Outlook

Designing, building, and implementing top-notch experiences not only requires a great deal of planning, strategy, and time – it also requires the right digital experience platform (DXP) and the right development approach for your business needs.

Get the Guide

If you are on Sitecore today, start thinking about your path to XM Cloud. It is clear that the investment in the CMS platform is happening there, and future updates and enhancements to the on-premises installs of XM and XP will be minimal. XM Cloud is not just “XM in the cloud”, it is a product suite that includes XM (yes, in the cloud), Experience Edge, Personalization features, and the new Pages editing experience. Perhaps some noisy on-premises customers will twist Sitecore’s arm until they agree to support running XM Cloud in your own environment, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Upgrading to Sitecore 10.3 will supposedly make your solution ready for XM Cloud, but you should assume you will still need to make significant additional changes before you can actually deploy your solution to XM Cloud. If you are considering a new build, XM Cloud is still early and brings a little risk, but Sitecore is committed to making it work and you will certainly have their support. If you already have an existing solution, upgrade to 10.3 first and let the dust settle with XM Cloud but you should start thinking about how to break off pieces of your current site and start going headless.

Everything Else

Sitecore Search looks great, but what will it cost you? Less than Coveo? More or less than what you pay for a scaled Solr environment to support your own basic site search? Talk to your Sitecore rep and find out!

Content Hub One should be where you plan to build omnichannel structured content, like articles or FAQs. You could use it to manage content for a small site but if you already have XM Cloud it won’t have much of an advantage. What will it cost you? Talk to your Sitecore rep and find out! If you aren’t yet a Sitecore customer, this could be a good entry point.

Engagement Cloud, which includes CDP, Personalize, and Send didn’t get many announcements, outside of the potential integrations unlocked with Sitecore Connect. While they are composable, API first products, they don’t yet offer a strong integration story with XM so their current value is really in the products themselves. While the products are quite powerful, with great power comes great responsibility… and a steep learning curve… and the need for serious enablement support. If you haven’t started your personalization journey, consider the basics that come with XM Cloud before jumping right into CDP + Personalize.

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Matt Connolly

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