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From Generative AI to Accelerator: Unpacking Sitecore’s Latest Product Announcements

The Gist

  • Generative AI integration. Across Sitecore solutions, generative AI makes its mark, unlocking potential for advanced content generation, marketing automation and enhanced digital customer interactions.
  • Start your accelerations. Launch of Sitecore Accelerate, a structured program aiding customers in transitioning from on-premises to Sitecore’s cloud-native offerings, fostering a smooth migration journey.
  • Hello, XM Cloud Plus. Debut of XM Cloud Plus, extending Sitecore’s SaaS offering with new features like Forms Builder and AI-powered search, nudging more organizations towards a composable Digital Experience Platform (DXP) model.

Sitecore Symposium was a regular part of the annual Sitecore calendar, and it was also the place you could guarantee that there would be a set of headline product announcements; each fall there was always something to be unveiled.

However, Symposisum as an in-person conference has now moved to being held every two years, and Sitecore has replaced it with a series of one-day events. But in a spirit of sticking to their normal fall reveal, Sitecore has recently unveiled a series of major product updates.

In this post we’re going to explore three of the major roadmap announcements — from generative AI to a new Accelerator service — and what these mean for Sitecore.

Generative AI Is Coming

Since ChatGPT was unleashed on the world in November 2022, generative AI has continued to receive incredible levels of media attention while also capturing the imagination of businesses, who continue to eye the potential for productivity gains. Of course, generative AI comes with its risks, but there are clearly many opportunities to transform aspects of digital customer experience, including generating content, delivering advanced marketing automation, transforming the performance of underwhelming chatbots and more.

Sensing that marketing teams want to innovate using ChatGPT and that many are likely already using it, it’s no surprise that some Digital Experience Platform (DXP) and Content Management System (CMS) vendors have been working on integrations with ChatGPT — or OpenAI’s GPT Large Language Model — allowing teams to leverage generative AI within their solution. This also helps vendors go to market with more AI-powered features, which is likely to resonate with customers. Other related products like Adobe Photoshop are also weaving generative AI into their solution, although not necessarily from OpenAI.

Although AI is not new to Sitecore, it has now joined those vendors who are committing to adding generative AI through a “complete OpenAI chat integration” across its range of solutions in a way which aligns with its existing composable strategy. In a speech at an event in Melbourne, CEO Steve Tzikakis mentioned a number of specific examples of how this will land, including:

It’s not clear whether an organization will require its own independent subscription to OpenAI to leverage these new features, but that seems likely.

These new integrations are potentially just the start of a deeper integration with generative AI. An interesting interview with Sitecore’s Chief Product Officer, Dave Flanagan, not only talks about generative AI’s power to work with content generation and content production, but also into delivery areas such as personalization and search. These integrations may also come quickly. Flanagan is quoted as saying “we’re entering a phase in Sitecore where we’re going to be super iterative and responsive.” I think we can expect new AI features to now thick and fast, particularly in the race to maintain Sitecore’s market share in the ultra-competitive DXP field.

New Sitecore Accelerator Helps Customers Move to the Cloud

Sitecore’s composable strategy has seen it move from monolithic platform to a series of cloud-native offerings that can be weaved into a composable DXP model. While much progress has been made with the platform evolution, there still remains what we expect may be a high number of customers who are yet to fully move to this new cloud-model. Sitecore therefore has to work to encourage to its customer base to make the move, and we may see more product announcements that address this issue.

At Sitecore’s recent event in Minneapolis there were two product announcements. The first of these is the launch of Sitecore Accelerate, a new service that is designed to move on-premises customers over to either XM Cloud, the new XM Cloud Plus (read on for more on this) or potentially OrderCloud for those with ecommerce set-up based on Sitecore.

Sitecore Accelerate is a guided program that incorporates a package of knowledge resources, access to consultant and experts and guidance that will support customers on their cloud migration journey. It revolves around four steps (Understanding needs, Build the business case, Plan for implementation, Deliver for long-term success) to set teams on the right path. While some details are a little hazy, organizations can register their interest now. It may well also be that Sitecore Accelerate may expand as momentum builds around cloud transition.

Launch of XM Cloud Plus Encourages More Customers to Move to Cloud

When Sitecore originally announced Sitecore XM Cloud, it felt like a significant step in Sitecore’s composable strategy: the core Sitecore CMS is now available as a SaaS product. The second product announced in Minneapolis is the launch of XM Cloud Plus, extending the existing XM Cloud product to bring in some new capabilities including a Forms Builder, an “omnichannel content center” that brings a greater ability to manage content across different channels, AI-powered search, content recommendations and more.

Again this feels like another product that partially aims to encourage migration. The extension of XM Cloud seems designed to try and make organizations who are on the Sitecore XP product or rely on a wider feature set to make the move to the cloud. This makes sense as Sitecore looks to establish momentum in moving more organizations over to its SaaS product set and potentially a composable future. How long this takes is hard to predict and may be dependent on how long Sitecore continues to offer and support its traditional, monolithic platform available on a PaaS basis.

Sitecore’s Composable Journey Continues

These new updates support Sitecore’s continuing journey towards a platform that fully supports the composable DXP, while also adding welcome features such as AI that will be attractive to marking teams. More details particularly about Sitecore Accelerate may emerge soon, and there also may be other announcements on the way. As it has always done, Sitecore continues to evolve and expand.

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