Migrating to Sitecore XM Cloud: Key Considerations for Digital Leaders

Blog | Digital
Written By: Sana KamalmazPublished On: Jun 28 2024

Exciting times are ahead for organizations considering the leap to Sitecore XM Cloud (XMC). This cutting-edge platform represents a significant evolution in the Sitecore ecosystem, offering a wealth of opportunities for digital innovation and growth. In a previous post, I have highlighted the what makes XMC a powerful tool for organizations looking to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

This post is dedicated to key considerations that digital leaders should think about and prepare for to ensure a smooth transition and unlock new potential for their digital experiences.

1. Embracing Headless Architecture

One of XMC's primary advantages is its headless architecture. This means that when moving from Sitecore XP or XM, components need to be rebuilt. However, this presents an opportunity to review these components, determine if any should be consolidated, and introduce design or functionality improvements during the rebuilding process.

What it means for you

XMC's headless architecture is a fundamental shift from traditional Sitecore implementations. While this means rebuilding components, it also presents an opportunity to optimize your digital experience:

  • Evaluate existing components for consolidation and improvement
  • Leverage the flexibility of headless to deliver content across multiple channels
  • Embrace modern front-end technologies for enhanced user experiences

2. Adapting to Custom Module Limitations

Sitecore clients using XP often utilize custom modules available on GitHub or Sitecore’s marketplace. Since XM Cloud does not support module installation in the same way, these modules cannot be transferred directly to XMC. New solutions must be created to meet business needs previously fulfilled by these modules.

What it means for you

XMC's approach to custom modules differs from XP or XM:

  • Assess current custom modules and their business value
  • Explore XMC-compatible alternatives or develop custom solutions
  • Consider this an opportunity to streamline and modernize functionality

3. Rethinking Third-Party Integrations

XM Cloud adopts an API-first approach, relying heavily on APIs for integration. Existing integrations with third-party systems and tools may need to be rebuilt or adapted to work with XM Cloud's API structure. This offers businesses an opportunity to audit and optimize their martech stack, replacing outdated technologies with more suitable options.

What it means for you

XMC's API-First approach necessitates a review of existing integrations:

  • Audit your current martech stack and integration points
  • Rebuild integrations to leverage XMC's API structure
  • Capitalize on the composable architecture to optimize your technology ecosystem

4. Evolving Personalization Strategies

Sitecore XP relies on xDB for marketing features and personalization, but XMC does not. Dependencies on xDB must be removed during migration. Marketing teams need to adapt their personalization strategies to fit within XM Cloud's capabilities. Although some advanced features are removed, personalization in XMC is streamlined and straightforward. Organizations requiring advanced features can use Sitecore Personalize or other suitable personalization platforms, leveraging the composable nature of XMC.

What it means for you

The shift from xDB to XMC's personalization capabilities requires adaptation:

  • Reassess current personalization tactics and their effectiveness
  • Explore XMC's streamlined personalization features
  • Consider complementary solutions like Sitecore Personalize for advanced needs

5. Upskilling for New Technologies

XMC's headless architecture shifts development focus towards front-end technologies. Traditional Sitecore developers must adapt to new tools and frameworks, such as:

  • JavaScript frameworks like React, Angular, or Vue.js
  • Server-side rendering with Next.js
  • GraphQL for querying content
  • JAMstack principles and static site generation
  • API-first development approaches

This is crucial not only for organizations with in-house Sitecore experts but also for those relying on Sitecore partners. Ensure your partner has a team of experts in modern headless architecture.

What it means for you

XMC demands a different skill set from traditional Sitecore development:

  • Ensure your team or partners have the necessary expertise

6. Prioritizing Content Modeling

The shift to a headless architecture in XM Cloud places greater emphasis on content modeling. But what is content modeling?

Content modeling is a way to organize and structure the information on your website. It involves defining different types of content (like articles, products, or events), deciding what details each type should include (like title, description, or date), and how these types of content relate to each other. In a headless CMS, the content model becomes the foundation for all digital experiences. Well-thought-out content modeling becomes the basis for efficiencies in creating and delivering content across various channels. Therefore, teams are encouraged to restructure their content to be more flexible and reusable across different presentation layers.

What it means for you

Content modeling becomes crucial in a headless architecture:

  • Restructure content for flexibility and reusability
  • Define clear content types and their relationships
  • Optimize content for multi-channel delivery

How to Prepare for Migration to XMC

Here's a few tips on how to effectively address these and other considerations related to migrating to XMC:

  1. Conduct a thorough audit of existing Sitecore implementation, including custom modules, integrations, and personalization strategies
  2. Assess the current skill set of your development team and identify training needs
  3. Develop a content strategy that aligns with the headless architecture
  4. Create a phased migration plan that prioritizes critical components and allows for iterative improvements
  5. Engage with Sitecore partners or consultants experienced in XMC migrations for guidance and support

Migrating to Sitecore XM Cloud offers significant advantages in terms of scalability, agility, and cost-effectiveness. However, it requires careful planning and consideration of the factors discussed above. By addressing these key areas, digital leaders can ensure a smooth transition to XMC, positioning their organizations to leverage the full potential of this modern, composable architecture. The migration process might seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. There are efficient solutions available to simplify it and make it cost effective. Discover how you can migrate to XM Cloud while reducing development time and costs by up to 70%. Learn more about our AI-powered migration solution here.

About the AuthorSana Kamalmaz
Sana KamalmazDirector, Digital Strategy