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New Sitecore announcements: the journey to the cloud and generative AI

  • By 3chillies

This year Sitecore’s flagship conference Sitecore Symposium has been replaced by a series of regional one day events, with the full in-person Symposium moving to an alternative year schedule. However, this hasn’t stopped Sitecore using their latest one-day event in Minneapolis to announce key some product updates.

In this post we’re going to explore three of the latest Sitecore roadmap announcements and what they mean for the broader Sitecore platform.

Sitecore Accelerator speeds the journey to the composable DXP

Over the past two years Sitecore has reinvented itself, moving from a monolithic integrated platform to one which better supports a composable architecture with a series of cloud-based offerings which can be deployed independently.

However, there still remains what is likely to be a considerable proportion of Sitecore customers who are still using the existing “monolithic” version – either Sitecore Experience Manger (XM) or Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) – sometimes based on a perpetual license. It is understandable that Sitecore wants to move these customers onto its cloud-based offering; at some stage Sitecore XM and XP as they are now may become legacy offerings, although there has been no announcement that they will be discontinued.

A new service called Sitecore Accelerate is being launched that helps customers move over from on-premises to a cloud-version of Sitecore, either XM Cloud, the newly launched XM Cloud Plus (more on this below) or OrderCloud (for ecommerce customers). Accelerate appears to be a set of knowledge resources and guidance to encourage and support customers on their journey, with access to Sitecore experts and consultants. Although the details are a little vague about the finer detail, having a more guided approach to cloud migration will certainly help to encourage organisations who up to now have perhaps been dithering to make the move.

Launch of XM Cloud Plus encourages more customers to move to the cloud

Another product announced by Sitecore at Minneapolis is the launch of XM Cloud Plus. This is an extension of the existing XM Cloud oproduct, and extends what was at its core a SaaS-based CMS with a range of new services. Thsese including AI-powered search and content recommendations, a Forms builder, an “omnichannel content centre” to manage digital touchpoints from a unified interface, a greater ability to integrate with an organisation’s existing tech stack and more.

Extending XM Cloud to include more features may encourage organisations who are already using the wider feature set available through Sitecore XP to make the switch to the cloud. How successful this will be remains to be seen but we can potentially expect more announcements, product offerings and support resources which speed up the cloud journey.

Generative AI comes to Sitecore

The release of ChatGPT has elevated the possibilities to use generative AI to develop customer experiences and generate content. Many vendors in the CX space are now working on integrations with OpenAI’s GPT Large Language Model (LLM) and also emphasising their AI-powered features and credentials.

Sitecore has already been emphasising the use of AI in the platform for a while but has now announced a future release of a “complete OpenAI chat integration across its array of fully composable software solutions”. This has previously been announced and was referred to again at Sitecore’s Melbourne one day event in September. Examples of new AI specific capabilities include the ability to generate text and images within Sitecore Content Hub One, author content within the Content Hub , deploying advanced search, and more. It seems likely that any ChatGPT integration will be dependent on a customer’s subscription with OpenAI.

The rise of Generative AI may is highly likely to see a relatively rapid evolution of capabilities across different Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) and Content Management Systems (CMSs) products. The use of generative AI has also raised customer expectations about the possibilities of what can be done, and vendors will need to respond to that challenge. In some ways the cat is out of the bag and there is no turning back.

Sitecore’s announcement feels like the opening salvo in the platform’s use of generative AI, with potential integrations to other LLMs as well as enhanced native features going forward. In fact, there are more AI capabilities to “roll out in the coming weeks” and Dave O’Flanagan, Sitecore’s Chief Product Officer, has mentioned that generative AI can be used for personalisation and search.

Sitecore continues to evolve

Sitecore continues to evolve by expanding its offerings, investing in the platform and actively trying to drive change across its customer base. The new announcements provide an intriguing signpost for a more cloud-based, AI-powered Sitecore platform in the future.

If you’d like to discuss Sitecore and what the new announcements mean for you then get in touch!

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