This FAQ is provided for informational purposes only to address common questions our customers and partners may have regarding Sitecore’s vision as it relates to SaaS. The information provided herein is general in nature and is not intended to provide either an exhaustive explanation of Sitecore’s development plans or address any one specific SaaS solution from Sitecore, except where noted.
This FAQ contains forward looking statements about products and services not yet released by Sitecore. Our product and service offerings, future updates or other planned modifications are subject to ongoing evaluation by Sitecore and subject to change.
This information is provided without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Customers who purchase Sitecore offerings should make their purchase decision based upon features that are currently available.
What is the SaaS (software as a service) model?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is software that is owned, delivered, and managed remotely by a provider, and consumed by users in a one-to-many model on a pay-for-use or subscription basis. Instead of installing and maintaining software, users simply access a centrally hosted application via the Internet from the provider’s servers. The provider manages access to the application – including availability, performance, and security – freeing you from complex software and hardware management.
How is the SaaS model different from cloud computing?
Cloud computing and SaaS are different but closely related terms of the same idea. Both entail infrastructure technology and/or software applications that are consumed over the Internet. The primary difference pertains to who is responsible for maintaining the software application(s). With cloud computing, a third-party provider may maintain the physical servers but, the user is responsible for managing the software application. With SaaS, the third-party provider manages both the physical infrastructure and the software application.
Why is Sitecore transitioning to a SaaS model? What are the benefits?
With increasing cloud accessibility, organizations are increasingly considering the SaaS model because of the many potential advantages it provides over traditional models of software installation, including quicker implementation and deployment, simpler upgrades, and increased scalability. As Sitecore advances its development of its SaaS platform, our vision is to enable customers to derive even more value from our applications through software that is:
- Simple, with a modern, elegant interface that hides the complexity of the underlying technology while tailoring the user experience to their specific needs.
- Agile, accelerating time-to-market by reducing the costs to design, build, deploy, and support the Sitecore platform, along with seamless upgrades that will allow customers to consistently benefit from improved ease-of-use and usability as we continue to make advances in automating content services and personalization.
- Flexible, by maintaining the extensibility that allows developers to make changes when needed based on shifting market dynamics, and empowers Sitecore partners and customers to create differentiated experiences so they can meet the wide variety of market demands seen today.
- Intelligent, with fully-integrated AI and ML technologies delivered as a service throughout the platform to help users predict behavior, act on data, and serve up the right content in real-time.
- Connected, through the ability to integrate with the surrounding martech ecosystem, including full integration with Sitecore Content Hub – which is already SaaS.
When will Sitecore’s SaaS digital experience management platform be available?
The initial version of Sitecore’s SaaS digital experience management solution is planned for availability in Summer 2020.
What can I expect from the first release Sitecore’s SaaS digital experience platform?
Sitecore’s transition to SaaS entails the development of an entirely new platform; it is not simply an evolutionary progression of the current Sitecore digital experience management platform. The initial release will focus on providing core content management functionality, with subsequent releases adding features to provide capabilities consistent with Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) and, eventually, Sitecore Experience Platform (XP).
With this in mind, the first release of Sitecore’s SaaS platform will provide a great foundation for building websites and getting them up and running quickly, but it will not be a replacement for customers who require advanced omnichannel content delivery, customer data analytics, marketing automation features, and so on. As such, it will be best suited to the needs of lower mid-market customers with more limited digital experience requirements, as well as mid-sized or enterprise organizations building micro-sites or who are interested in testing the platform for future production purposes.
How long will Sitecore continue to innovate on and support its on-premise digital experience platform?
As noted above, the initial release of Sitecore’s SaaS platform will address limited use cases, and it will evolve over time. We also have a responsibility to protect our customers’ current investment in Sitecore. As such, we will continue to invest in and support our existing on-premise platform for the next 3-5 years in addition to our support policy. Beyond that timeframe, we’ll make decisions determined by customer demand and market practicality. But when SaaS is the right choice for our customers – based on their needs, not our timetable – we will make the transition as easy as possible.
What should I do now to get prepared for Sitecore’s transition to SaaS?
As always, the best way to be prepared for Sitecore’s forthcoming innovations is to take advantage of the foundation-setting capabilities in Sitecore’s latest releases. For example, the new content editing experience in Sitecore 9.3 sets the foundation for the future and this will continue with updates in Summer 2020, which will introduce a new developer environment as part of ongoing platform development.
What does Sitecore’s SaaS vision mean for Sitecore’s Solution Provider Partners?
SaaS applications are often criticized for providing limited opportunity for customization, meaning everyone gets the same solution and has to adapt their business processes to the software. This isn’t the way it has to be. As part of the “agility” tenet of Sitecore’s SaaS vision – supported in particular by the new development environment noted above, which will enable developers to extend the solution to meet market needs – we will preserve our partners’ and customers' ability to customize Sitecore’s SaaS applications to fit their particular business processes based on a new developer experience which will also improve efficiency of upgrades on the existing platform.
This means that Sitecore’s Solution Provider Partners will still have a prominent role in the Sitecore community. The SaaS model will reduce the necessity for our partners to stand-up and manage infrastructure overhead – freeing them to focus their time on high-value work that optimizes both the user and customer experience, such as custom solution design, component development, content strategy, and creative content and presentation.