As I made my way back from Orlando to Brussels, I had some time to reflect on the vast magnitude of information that was handed down to all attendees during this 5-day event. That is right, a total of 5 days, as I attended both the Symposium as well as the MVP Summit.
Moreover, since all that content is spread out across different types of tracks as well as multiple breakout sessions, it is nearly impossible to cover everything. However, a few topics really stuck with me that seem to interweave just great in the grand scheme of things.
So, without further ado;
- Sitecore goes SaaS
- Sitecore Content Hub
- Exploring FaaS capabilities
Sitecore goes SaaS
This announcement had been hanging in the air for quite some time. Over the course of the last years we had seen a number of evolutions and new products in the product ecosystem that were already starting to level the playing ground for the introduction of SaaS.
Two years ago, Sitecore introduced their vision of a new editor interface. With that, Horizon was born as a concept that would have to tear considerably at the fabrics of the CMS in order to come into being. In addition, as of last year, Sitecore started on the re-development of their architecture into becoming micro services-based through the creation of Sitecore Host, introducing a standardized approach to logging, configuration and the use of .NET Core. That same year, Sitecore had also released a public release of JSS - https://jss.sitecore.com/, allowing you to build full-fledged solutions using Sitecore with modern JS UI libraries while still leveraging the power of Sitecore.
A first release of Sitecore as a Service (smart marketing naming) will be made available in the summer of 2020. More factual information of the SaaS offering will be released in the coming months obviously, but from what was announced it will be all of the below and more:
- Fast – Having a headless approach with micro services hosted on an environment managed by the actual product vendor has quite some advantages.
- Agile – A more granular architecture will allow for quick market corrections and product changes to be rolled out and tested across the platform.
- AI – Having the same platform used for Artificial Intelligence as a Service solution carries quite some benefit. However, the concept of data ownership will require some additional fine-tuning and tweaking but that can be handled over the next steps.
- Automated upgrades – One of the main struggles for Sitecore customers is the cost and effort related to keeping up with the fast evolving Sitecore platform. SaaS will have you covered there.
- Content Hub – A scaled down version of the Content Hub will be made available to all SaaS customers. If more features would be desired, the switch into a full-fledged solution can easily be realized.
Sitecore Content Hub
It goes without saying that, if you follow the Sitecore product, you already know what this Content Hub is all about. As one of the big announcements made during the Symposium of 2018, Sitecore acquired Stylelabs Marketing Content Hub.
This SaaS-based (synergy anyone?) DAM / CMP and MRM solution has since been integrated into the Sitecore platform as the Content Hub. With the release of version 3.3, the platform introduces more integration features to leading third-party solutions as well as reporting capabilities to analyze on the use of content within the experience platform solutions.
We can look into the future to see further development on the integration of content exchange between Content Hub and Sitecore Content, the exchange of Media Library into Content Hub for SaaS and the exchange of knowledge as well as lessons-learned on the full SaaS approach chosen by Stylelabs a few years back.
Exploring FaaS capabilities
During the breakout session “Extending Sitecore using serverless architectures” by Rob Habraken, we may well have received a little unveiling of what most high-end platforms such as Sitecore may hold in store for us in the future. No longer focusing on the capabilities of PaaS and SaaS, this session went above and beyond in order to showcase some of the potential of moving into cloud functions and the use of Logic Apps.
The premise, from my point of view, is to leave the actual solution as untouched as possible in its core, and offload those functionalities and features to specific roles (or functions) so that they can run individually and independently. In doing so, you create a clean separation that can help minimize on complexity, cost and maximize on modularity and error handling.
From what we can tell, there is an enormous amount of change ahead of us. And an enormous amount of work that is being realized inside Sitecore to bring all these elements such as JSS, SXA, Horizon, Content Hub, SaaS, Host and so many others together.
It will take Sitecore one more season to tunnel their way out into the future, but the light at the tunnel is very bright indeed. In that light, we can see a combined platform approach on a fully managed scalable, fast and stable SaaS solution!