Last year, when Sitecore announced the release of their new headless SaaS-based CMS, XM Cloud, it immediately sparked debate around the Sitecore community. The Sitecore CEO himself hinted that within a few months of the announcement, customers would start moving their products into the SaaS platform. The Sitecore landscape was about to change and this prompted future upgrade planning to be fast-tracked and some key questions arose for both new and existing customers.
Many Sitecore customers who are currently on existing Sitecore XP versions find themselves in a predicament of needing an upgrade but not necessarily sure if they need to take the leap to XM Cloud. We need to be cautious about upgrades on Sitecore XP at the moment as the traditional upgrade doesn’t make a ton of sense anymore with how the platform is changing and the direction in which Sitecore is moving.
Saying this, it’s important to mention that Sitecore XP is still around and XP upgrades are still happening if you are on much older versions of Sitecore. For example, I’ve seen some clients still planning to upgrade from Sitecore XP 9.0.1 to 9.3, mainly to extend the support available to them (extended support for 9.3 is still available until the end of 2025). However, if you feel the features available to you on XP are being under-utilized, there is room for improvement in your website, or even if you want to make better connections with your audiences, then XP probably shouldn't be part of your long-term solution. A lot of organizations are exploring and actually executing the idea of 'downgrading’ from Sitecore XP to the latest version of Sitecore XM in order to position themselves for an eventual move to Sitecore XM Cloud. Doing this still gives you access to headless front-end development using SXA and JS-based frameworks. Sitecore XP 10.x has the same core as XM Cloud.
A large part of XM Cloud is all about speed and improving your team’s productivity and agility. A major piece of your planning should revolve around infrastructure and flexibility. Moving to XM Cloud will reduce the overall cost of ownership, especially taking into account that no further upgrades will be required. If you have aspirations of a new brand with a new website to boot then having XM Cloud in place will allow for maximum flexibility in approaches when rolling out the new brand. The XM Cloud platform consists of a headless CMS. In the purest sense, this essentially means the content management backend is decoupled from the presentation end. This allows developers to leverage a new modern tech stack while giving marketers the flexibility and freedom to design the frontend experience.
XM Cloud also allows you to be more adaptive as gone are the days of complicated upgrades since new features and capabilities are simply added.If you did make the switch to this new SaaS model it comes with a number of advantages over previous Sitecore versions:
After digesting all the differences in architecture you still probably want to know your reasons for upgrading. Basically, if your organization believes a new SaaS model and headless CMS is your future then you should seriously consider making the jump. These are probably the reasons you would want to consider XM Cloud as the platform to go with:
Essentially, a potential move to XM Cloud requires careful planning and a roadmap to get there. Moving to XM Cloud would result in more of a re-architecture but would undoubtedly prevent the need for future upgrades. However, if you are deeply invested in XP and legacy components you may not have the budget to rebuild everything from scratch. If at all possible though, you should build on top of the latest and greatest, which is XM Cloud.
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