Sitecore symposium 2019 took place last week in Orlando, Florida for the second year, and as with all previous Sitecore Symposiums, it came with some big announcements. The biggest one was the new Sitecore SaaS offering that will be available in its first version by Summer 2020. Sitecore SaaS will give the ability to focus on the innovation part of building solutions using Sitecore, like custom solution design, component development, content strategy, and creative content and presentation, and take care of the heavy lifting like installing, managing and upgrading the software. Also, this means a new developer experience for working with the platform.
Sitecore’s CEO Mark Frost announces Sitecore SaaS Vision
What is SaaS?
SaaS stands for Software as a Service, which is one of three cloud computing methods, the others being Product as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). SaaS means a distribution of software model by which the provider hosts the application and provides customers with access via the internet, in this situation customers are free from installing and maintaining the software and they focus on the experience innovation.
But you may be confused of how this is different from cloud computing or PaaS, for example. The main difference is the responsibility of maintaining the software application; with PaaS you will be responsible for managing the software application, and with SaaS, Sitecore will manage the physical infrastructure and the software application.
Why is Sitecore moving to SaaS?
Sitecore SaaS brings a lot of advantages, including quicker implementation and deployment, increased scalability and simpler upgrades. Sitecore SaaS will hide the complexity, accelerate the time to market by reducing the cost of design, build, deploy and supporting the platform, along, of course, with the upgrade process. In addition to automating content services and personalization, Sitecore SaaS will still allow developers to extend the product to create a unique experience per customer and demand, not to mention the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities that will provided as services. The SaaS product will also be connected to other surrounding eco-systems, including the full integration with Sitecore Content Hub [already SaaS].
When will Sitecore SaaS be available? And what it will offer?
As announced during Sitecore symposium 2019, the Sitecore experience management solution will be available by Summer 2020.
As moving to SaaS means kind of developing a new platform, Sitecore SaaS initial release will provide a core content management functionality, and with coming releases new features will be added to have a full Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) and eventually Sitecore Experience Platform (XP). With this mentioned, Sitecore SaaS initial release will not be a replacement for customers with high analytics, automation and personalization needs.
So, what does the Sitecore SaaS means for current on-premise platform? And for Sitecore solutions providers?
As stated on Sitecore’s official website, Sitecore will continue to support and invest the on-premise platform for the coming 3 – 5 years and after that the market predictability will affect the decisions, but Sitecore will make sure to meet customer needs and to make the transition as easy as possible.
Sitecore partners and customers will still need to customize the platform, and Sitecore will preserve this need in the new SaaS vision. Through the new Sitecore headless developer experience, developers will be able to extend and customize the platform based on their customers’ needs and demands to create a unique experience for each.
The following screenshot shows the new Sitecore Headless Developer experience that has been inspired by the JSS developer experience:
Lastly, how to prepare for the Sitecore SaaS era?
To be prepared for the transition to SaaS, Desta Price, Sitecore Product Management EVP, recommend updating your Sitecore solution to the latest version.