Matthew McQueeny - Relationships & Community Lead
7 Feb 2024
In October 2023, Sitecore announced the launch of Sitecore XM Cloud Plus, a significant step in the company’s drive to be the key provider for the modern Digital Experience Platform (DXP). The offering is a testament to Sitecore's commitment to innovation and adaptability, aiming to revolutionize how businesses in the enterprise deliver digital experiences.
At its heart, XM Cloud Plus is a pivotal element of Sitecore's composable DXP strategy. This approach emphasizes flexibility and modularity, allowing organizations to tailor their digital experience platforms to their specific needs. A key component of XM Cloud Plus is its focus on content optimization and delivery. It aims to ensure that the right content reaches the right audience at the perfect time, leveraging AI-powered personalization to engage users effectively and drive conversions.
Over the past few years, Sitecore has been hard at work building - through acquisition and strong internal roadmap leadership - its own set of products that compromise a headless, composable suite of best-of-breed solutions. Now numbering a dozen products across content, engagement, and commerce verticals, its stable of composable options has grown impressively. This, coupled with its Platform DXP products, which are slotted to be supported for the next 6-7 years themselves, provide customers with great optionality for their own digital maturity progression and roadmaps.
What XM Cloud Plus is attempting to do is, in essence, bundle a few of the main composable products – XM Cloud Content Management System (CMS), Sitecore Personalize, Sitecore Search, Sitecore Customer Data Platform (CDP), Content Hub ONE Headless CMS, Sitecore Connect - into a logical grouping that reassembles what you might expect from your previous, legacy DXPs. But, with this comes composability and modern agility at its core.
One surprise to customers entering the composable fray from a legacy system point of view is that they now need to rebuild their DXP one layer at a time. These layers could be a headless CMS, a personalization engine, search, commerce, email platform, and many more. When coming from all-in-one systems, where many of these elements are included, this can be overwhelming and generate “analysis paralysis.” Therefore, Sitecore assembling several of these key solutions into one composable bundle – with XM Cloud as the fulcrum - is something that could provide a balm to a key customer pain point.
Another potential benefit for this cohort of customers - newer to the ways of composable and looking towards Sitecore - is in the authoring experience. A descriptor you will often hear for headless is “hybrid headless.” This term represents a mix of full headless technology with some accounting for the front-end presentation. For XM Cloud, Pages Editor is that hybrid aspect, providing marketers with an authoring experience that visualizes content creation for the front-end web experience.
A standout feature of XM Cloud Plus is Sitecore Search. The search functionality is designed to deliver personalized results across various channels, ensuring a seamless and relevant user experience. This focus on tailored content discovery is crucial in today's digital landscape, where user expectations for relevance and convenience are at an all-time high.
An interesting aspect of XM Cloud Plus is the inclusion of Content Hub One. Initially, there was confusion about its role in the package, but it has been confirmed as a central element. Content Hub One serves as an omni-channel content center, offering a true headless CMS experience. This feature allows businesses to manage and deliver content efficiently across different channels, including mobile apps and other digital platforms. Akin to a tender boat attached to a large ship at sea, which can ferry people and goods to shore and back quickly and efficiently, Content Hub One could be seen as the nimble complement to XM Cloud, allowing marketers to launch campaigns and landing pages quickly and without developer intervention.
The platform also includes a Customer Data Platform (CDP) for in-depth analytics and insights, crucial for understanding customer behavior and preferences. Additionally, Sitecore Connect facilitates seamless integrations, ensuring smooth interoperability in a composable and headless digital ecosystem. This connectivity is vital for businesses looking to leverage various systems and tools cohesively.
Sitecore XM Cloud Plus appears to be particularly targeted at existing Sitecore XP customers. It offers a comprehensive set of features and functionalities that Sitecore users have grown accustomed to, especially in personalization and analytics. The platform provides a more integrated and robust solution compared to the basic personalization capabilities of the pure-play XM cloud.
A notable absence in Sitecore XM Cloud Plus is Sitecore Send, the equivalent of the Email Experience Manager in Sitecore XP, known for its personalized email campaigns. However, this omission underscores the composable nature of the platform, where additional features like Sitecore Send can be integrated as needed. This flexibility is at the core of Sitecore's philosophy, allowing customers to build a DXP that precisely fits their unique requirements.
Sitecore XM Cloud Plus marks a significant step forward for the digital experience leader, offering a versatile, AI-powered, and integrative platform tailored for modern digital experiences. Its focus on personalization, omni-channel content management, and seamless integrations positions it as a comprehensive solution for businesses seeking to future-proof their digital presence and platforms.
Check out this video about Kamruz discussing his expertise on XM Cloud Plus:
Checkout the Konabos Wayfinder on Sitecore:
Matt is a digital marketing professional and web project manager with over 15 years of experience. He has worked with clients ranging from Fortune 500 to startups. Industries of digital project experience include healthcare, publishing, technology, telecommunications, education, retail, entertainment, manufacturing, and transportation. In 2023, Matt was awarded his first Sitecore MVP, in recognition for his work in the Sitecore community.
He loves the intersection of technology, marketing, and communications. Throughout his career, he worked with many licensed and open-source content management systems, in editorial, social media strategy and advertising, search engine marketing, lead generation, analytics, and podcasting.