What do we know about Sitecore SaaS?
Sitecore isn’t just yet another content management system; it is an experience management system meant to make life easier for marketers, brand managers, project managers, and practically anyone who uses it.
The platform binds content, commerce, and data together into a single, connected platform that helps in creating contextual, personalized experiences. American Express, L’Oréal, and Volvo Cars are a few names on its long list of noted clients.
In the present age of technology and modernity, focusing on contextual marketing, personalization, and automation is essential to build long-term brand-consumer relationships based on loyalty, trust, and value.
Although the existent Sitecore offerings are powerful and innovative, they miss out on the following two pain points:
- The difficulty of coping with the cost and time required for upgrading and feature management.
- The dilemma of where to begin and how to support contextual, personalized experiences.
Sitecore addresses these pain points in the form of its newest offering, Sitecore SaaS.
The Sitecore Symposium
Sitecore Symposium is an annual, 3-day event organized by Sitecore to talk about its future vision, road map, upcoming releases and other important news.
The news of Sitecore planning to release a SaaS offering was made public during the Sitecore Symposium 2019. In recent years, Sitecore has shifted from being an on-premise software:
- First to PaaS via deployable Sitecore applications on the Microsoft Azure cloud, and
- Then to IaaS via Sitecore Managed Cloud
Consequently, the decision to offer Sitecore as a SaaS option is only a natural follow-up step to the evolution of the platform.
Before heading out to know about all the details of the upcoming Sitecore SaaS, let’s first gain (or refresh if you already know about it) a brief understanding of the SaaS model.
The Software-as-a-Service Model
Software as a Service, a.k.a. SaaS is one of the 3 (the other two being Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)) major categories of cloud-based services.
Any software owned, managed and delivered remotely by a provider qualifies for terming as a SaaS software. It typically follows:
- A one-to-many consumption model, and
- A pay-for-use subscription model
Rather than installing and meticulously maintaining software, SaaS users access a centrally hosted application through the internet from the provider’s servers.
The ability of the provider of a SaaS software to manage access, such as availability, performance, and security, saves users from investing their time in complex and arduous software and hardware management. Thus, they can focus more on the core aspects of their business.
All Known Details about the Sitecore SaaS
Although not a great deal is yet known about the Sitecore SaaS offering at this point in time, the spurted-out information during the Sitecore Symposium 2019 is enough to check whether it suits your needs or not.
Following are the various facts about Sitecore SaaS that we know at present:
1. Releasing this summer 2020
Sitecore SaaS is expected to be launched during the summer of 2020 as a SaaS-based CMS version. The very first release focuses on providing core content management functionality. Additional features for providing capabilities consistent with Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) and Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) will be rolled out in later releases.
2. AIaaS (Artificial Intelligence as a Service)
The concept of AI-as-a-Service benefits organizations, as well as individuals, by allowing them to experiment with AI for varied reasons while minimizing risk and uncounted stress of huge initial investment.
The Sitecore SaaS will feature an inbuilt AIaaS functionality, available across the entire platform. This will further expand the possibilities offered by the reputed experience management platform.
3. An all-new platform
The SaaS offering from Sitecore will be a brand-new platform and not just an add-on or module for the existing Sitecore platform.
4. No marketing suite
Sitecore SaaS most likely won’t be having the marketing suite that Sitecore is tremendously famous for.
5. Evolving along the way
It is a new product that has been in development for quite some time now and will, therefore, continue to evolve in order to include all present XP and XM features. This also means that Sitecore SaaS will provide support for limited use cases initially.
6. Targeted market
The target market for the Sitecore SaaS offering will be:
- The lower middle market, and
- Midsize enterprises (MSEs)
7. Customization still available
Sitecore’s latest SaaS offering will be highly configurable and extensible just like its other non-SaaS offerings, granting customers the ability to:
- Build custom web and mobile app experiences
- Integrate the same with internal systems, albeit on a hosted and supported version of Sitecore featuring a continuous upgrading system (Hence, the pain point of manually upgrading to newer Sitecore releases will be addressed.)
Hence, Sitecore SaaS users will be able to accommodate customer needs by customizing and extending the platform.
Staying true to its partnership with Microsoft, Sitecore SaaS will be hosted on Microsoft Azure.
9. Integration with marketing technologies
Sitecore Content Hub is a SaaS-based solution, which can be integrated with Sitecore CMS and the media library. The upcoming Sitecore SaaS offering will have an option for integration with the aforementioned and other martech (marketing technology) products.
10. Not a replacement, at least for now
Sitecore has given its commitment for a 3 to the 5-year time period for providing full-fledged support and development of non-SaaS Sitecore offerings.
The initial release of the Sitecore SaaS isn’t meant to be a replacement for the advanced capabilities that non-SaaS Sitecore products have up for offer.
Post the exhaustion of the committed time period; however, Sitecore will extensively re-evaluate customer requirements. The results of the same will determine the future of its SaaS and non-SaaS offerings.
Why Sitecore SaaS? What are the Advantages?
Sitecore focuses on Content, Commerce, and Cloud. Thanks to the ceaseless increase in cloud accessibility, offering and consuming SaaS solutions are becoming more convenient, better, and easier.
Organizations (and individuals, as well) are preferring SaaS over other models of business software distribution owing to the galore of benefits, such as faster implementation, increased scalability, and simplistic upgrading system, that the software distribution model has to offer.
Sitecore envisions its SaaS offering to offer a faster, flexible, and better software solution that has the following advantages:
- Elegant and modern – Offering a modern and elegant interface while keeping it simple such as to conceal the intricate underlying technology and offering a fitting, pleasing user experience on the outside.
- Greater degree of customization – The market today is diverse and rapidly changing. As such, developers must accommodate changes based on the latest market conditions and user requirements. By maintaining a good level of configuration and extensibility, this is easily achieved.
- Connected with martech, at all times – With the ability to integrate with the existing marketing technologies, such as Sitecore’s very own Content Hub, Sitecore SaaS remains up and running continuously.
- Artificially intelligent – Fully-integrated AI and ML technologies readily available as a service across the platform allows Sitecore SaaS customers and partners to act on data, predict user/consumer behavior and serve the fitting content in real-time.
- Swift – As Sitecore continues to automate content services and personalization, customers will benefit continuously in terms of usability. The TTM (time to market) is hastened by cutting costs required to build, design, deploy, and support the Sitecore platform.
Sitecore SaaS is meant to push the capabilities of the Sitecore CMS platform further, while at the same time benefiting customers to cut their time in dealing with the complexities of the same and focus more on revenue generation and building long-term customer relationship.
Exactly how good the Sitecore SaaS turns out to be can only be known once it goes public in full force. Observing the track record of Sitecore so far, however, promises of something brilliant and powerful while being straightforward and modern at the same time.