Sitecore XM Cloud is an end-to-end, SaaS-based enterprise CMS solution and an entry point to composability. What can that mean for your business? Hint, say goodbye to version upgrades.

Sitecore Solution Partner Accenture took the stage at the first Sitecore DX 2023 event in North America to dive into this and other benefits, plus provide brands with practical insights for successfully making the move to XM Cloud.

Here’s what speakers Stephen Knight, Global Sitecore Lead at Accenture, Mike Sabin, Head of Technology & Delivery at Avanade, and Gary Wu, Product Lead at Sitecore shared during their breakout presentation in Boston.

Why move to XM Cloud?

Sitecore XM Cloud solves for a variety of digital experience challenges that brands typically face, Mike said. Challenges include brand and design consistency due to the lack of a global, centralized CMS, the inability to adapt to rapid change, the need for speedier site performance, complexities with architecture, and upgrade delays.

With XM Cloud, a brand doesn’t have to do another platform version upgrade and can reap the benefits from quicker automated updates, Mike explained.

“The business can take control back,” Mike said. “It’s no longer IT telling the business what to do; the business refers to the ‘what’ and ‘why’ and IT deals with ‘how’ — how they build the APIs, how they integrate is up to them — and ultimately, the business need is what’s driving it.”

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In addition to quicker automated updates, the benefits of moving to XM Cloud also include accelerated time to market and a better overall customer experience, Stephen added.

“You’re able to get better customer experience because of your ability to hone and focus and tailor it quicker and quicker,” Stephen said. “And you have an opportunity as you’re going to XM Cloud to clean up the old world and rethink the journeys you’re delivering.”

5 things to consider when planning your move to XM Cloud

  1. Know your situation – Ensure you have a clear view of where you are currently, so you know how to move forward.
  2. Recognize it’s a business change – It’s not a tech upgrade; it’s an opportunity to rethink your approach, so it’s best to include all stakeholders to maximize benefits.
  3. Define the journey – Clearly define what needs to change to drive agility and maintain your competitive position.
  4. Accenture’s proven approach – You are not the first to make the move to XM Cloud and there are clear pathways to drive your journey based on your situation.
  5. Positive value – Experience redesign enabled via a move to XM Cloud has positive ROI, can drive improved TCO, increase ease-of-use for marketers, and eliminate complexities for IT.
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The XM Cloud roadmap

With the benefit of no longer waiting for the next upgrade to get new capabilities in your tech stack, Sitecore has a rich roadmap for what’s becoming available with XM Cloud through the new year, Gary explained.

“Because we’re delivering XM Cloud as SaaS, all of these updates will be made available in your environment as we release them,” Gary said. “So you’ll be able to consume and benefit from these new capabilities — when you’re ready and without further hassles.”

Here’s what XM Cloud users can look forward to:

  • Deploy – Launched in April 2023, this gives developers an easier experience with content management and front-end application code deployments. They’re able to see their environments within a deployed application and get access to all the logs to enable better productivity.
  • Lead front-end development – Launching in May 2023, this capability enables front-end developers to make changes that develop against the XM Cloud environment. They can see changes they’re making within their favorite front-end development tool, such as VS Code, and see the changes automatically push to the XM Cloud environment.
  • Component Builder – Available in early access for current XM Cloud customers until general availability later this year, Component Builder enables marketers to visually create components and developers will be able to import JavaScript libraries to protect investments already made with JS.
  • Forms & component-level embedded personalization and testing– Available later this year, these capabilities will provide marketers with more flexibility to personalize content by providing the ability to target component-level content to audiences.
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Where do you begin?

In a word, content. To maximize the benefits of the SaaS-based XM Cloud, Accenture identified the three elements where the migration plan must focus:

  1. Content management and operations – simplify content across all sites and domains and take the opportunity to streamline content operations.
  2. Standardization – Identify how you want to affect governance across the business to drive brand consistency with the customer experience, internal processes, content creation, and delivery.
  3. Architecture simplification – remove the need for upgrades and reduce costs by eliminating complexities

Accenture will work with brands to assess what type of transformation journey is best, based on the maturity of your tech stack, how complex your existing content is, and your level of standardization.

“In all of those journeys, you do not throw the product away and start from a clean field,” Stephen said. “You are taking elements with you. It just depends on how much you’ve got to do will determine how much you take.”

The Accenture + Sitecore partnership

Sitecore and Accenture have been partners for more than 15 years. Working together, they create a powerhouse combination of innovative digital experience platform (DXP) capabilities, leading industry expertise, creativity, and scale. Sitecore and Accenture have delivered more than 250 projects.

Accenture has been awarded Sitecore’s Delivery Excellence and Partnering Excellence award. Sitecore has just been named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for DXPs for the sixth year in a row.

Monica Lara is Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.