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Sitecore Experience Edge FAQ

Updated February 2021

This FAQ is provided for informational purposes only to address common questions our customers may have regarding Sitecore Experience Edge and where it fits in Sitecore’s vision as it relates to SaaS. The information provided herein is general in nature and not intended to provide an exhaustive explanation of Sitecore’s SaaS platform development plans.

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 products and features that are currently available.

What is Sitecores approach to SaaS? What are the benefits?

Our customers consume marketing and digital experience management software in different ways – mainly on-premises, via private cloud, managed cloud, managed services, and SaaS. Our strategy is to ensure that we have options to support the model that best supports our customers’ businesses.

Sitecore already has SaaS products in our portfolio, including Sitecore Content Hub™ and Sitecore AI. As we continue to expand our SaaS portfolio, we will be bringing in new, additional use cases to meet our customers’ needs, including the ability to deliver omnichannel content and personalized experiences.  

Our SaaS vision is to enable customers to derive even more value from our applications through software that is:

  • Connected through the ability to integrate third-party martech systems, as well as full integration with Sitecore Content Hub, which is already SaaS.
  • Simple with a modern, elegant interface that controls the complexity of the underlying technology while tailoring the user experience to their specific needs.
  • Agile by accelerating time-to-market, reducing the costs to design, build, deploy, and support the Sitecore platform, and 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.

What is Sitecore Experience Edge?

Sitecore Experience Edge is a set of services for headless content delivery to any touchpoint at scale, helping marketers create differentiated digital experiences quickly, engage customers longer, and increase revenue opportunities. Sitecore Experience Edge empowers marketers to quickly deploy content with the tools they need for content planning, authoring, collaboration, and analytics — without adding architectural complexity. It also helps IT teams by eliminating the need to maintain delivery architectures and frameworks.

Sitecore Experience Edge will initially be available in two different ways: 

When will Sitecore Experience Edge be available?

We announced Sitecore Experience Edge on December 7, 2020. Sitecore Experience Edge for Content Hub will be generally available on February 9th, 2021 and Sitecore Experience Edge for XM will be available shortly thereafter. Expanded SaaS functionality, including Experience as a Service (XaaS) use cases, is planned for later in 2021.  

What’s the difference between how Sitecore Experience Edge delivers content from Content Hub to a website and the existing method through Sitecore Experience Platform (XP)?

The existing method of delivering Sitecore Content Hub data uses a connector to export Content Hub data into Sitecore XP, and then relies on standard publishing and deployment options for content delivery available in the Sitecore XP architecture. Since the static Content Hub data is converted to Sitecore items, Sitecore’s authoring features, like layout management and personalization, can be applied.

Sitecore Experience Edge makes Content Hub data available in the cloud using a distributed data delivery platform with a GraphQL endpoint that can used by applications directly to the distribution edge without any connectors needed. With Sitecore Experience Edge, Sitecore XP tools for manipulating layout and presentation are not available, so developers must do this manipulation in front-end applications.

What technology does Sitecore Experience Edge use to serve data?

Sitecore Experience Edge exposes a GraphQL endpoint for consuming Content Hub or XM data.

The service uses HTTPS only for connections and employs a static JSON Web Token (JWT) created via a token service for authorization. 

Can I use Experience Edge with Sitecore Experience Platform (XP)?

Yes, you can! Currently, you can get Experience Edge for Content Hub or Experience Edge for Experience Manager (XM). The use of “XM” in the name is not a product licensing or installation restriction, but it does have a restriction on functionality. Customers running Sitecore XP can use Experience Edge for XM. However, personalization, marketing automation, and other XP functionality is not supported in the initial release.

Does Sitecore Experience Edge replace Sitecore JavaScript Services (JSS) and Headless services?

The existing JavaScript and ASP.NET Core SDKs are intended to be used with Sitecore Experience Edge. Sitecore Experience Edge allows you to more easily scale your content delivery needs, effectively replacing the need for your presentation layer to directly call the Sitecore Headless Services that traditionally run on a content delivery instance. Instead, your presentation layer can call Experience Edge, which will have a static copy of the data needed.

Headless services continue to be used on the content management system for editing and preview functionality. You may also need to use headless services on a content delivery instance if you have specific scenarios that require dynamic processing of a request, such as personalization.

Does Experience Edge support multiple languages?

The Experience Edge schemas for both Content Hub and Experience Manager (XM) support multiple languages. When publishing content from Content Hub or XM to Experience Edge, only the most recent publishable version for a specific language will be published.

Who will benefit from Sitecore Experience Edge?

Sitecore Experience Edge for Content Hub builds on the capabilities of Sitecore Content Hub and is beneficial for those looking to centralize everything from content ideation, creation, workflows through publication on a solid content backbone, and seeking delivery flexibility when choosing between front-end and content delivery frameworks. 

Teams and organizations that are going through digital transformation are oftentimes evaluating their existing digital ecosystem and looking for ways to streamline digital processes. 

Sitecore Experience Edge can benefit organizations that are seeking the following:

  • Flexibility in choice of front-end and content delivery framework
  • Centralized practice of reusable atomic content
  • Flexible content modeling with robust collaboration workflows
  • Structured atomic content and high-performing APIs for scalable content delivery

Ultimately, our goal with Sitecore Experience Edge for Content Hub is to further extend the reach of content managed within Sitecore Content Hub for direct use in digital channels, while also providing our customers with maximum optionality to achieve their digital strategy. 

Sitecore Experience Edge for XM will allow static publishing of Sitecore JSS sites and runtime content delivery for headless sites – thus offering additional options for delivery of scalable, high-performing experiences.

For customers seeking turnkey DXP capabilities (layout, personalization, etc.) delivered headlessly, Sitecore XP and JSS together fit the bill.

How long will Sitecore continue to innovate on and support its on-premises/cloud digital experience platform?

We understand that our customers approach deploying their digital customer experiences in different ways, and we want to ensure that our customers are not bound by a single technical architecture.

We also have a responsibility to protect our customers’ current investment in Sitecore and we take that commitment seriously. As such, we will continue to invest in and support our existing on-premises/cloud platform to continue to provide options and flexibility to meet customer needs and use cases.

What does migration from existing Sitecore solutions look like?

For Sitecore Content Hub customers, no migration is required to use Sitecore Experience Edge.

As we expand our SaaS offerings toward experience-oriented use cases, we will seek to offer options for customers to transition to and/or incorporate Sitecore SaaS offerings into their existing DXP stack. For example, with Sitecore Experience Edge for XM, Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) customers will have an added option to leverage a highly scalable delivery platform for static publishing of Sitecore JSS sites and runtime content delivery for headless sites.

As noted, we understand that our customers consume marketing and digital experience management software in different ways, and we are committed to providing solutions and options that work best for their needs.