Is Sitecore XP to XM a Downgrade?
The world is moving towards composable architecture. There have been a lot of interest and thoughts about moving Sitecore XP to XM. It eventually paves for the composable future, moving the personalization to a different product like Sitecore Personalize, Salesforce Interaction Studio or other tool of your choice. So, it’s not a downgrade if you don’t use as much of XP features.
Why should you migrate?
Composability is the future of Sitecore and general web development. Sitecore being the thought leaders in the space started moving in that direction resulting in acquisition of the SaaS based products.
Composability is a system design principle that deals with the inter-relationships of components. A highly composable system provides components that can be selected and assembled in various combinations to satisfy specific user requirements.
- Reduced load on the servers and xDB maintenance is expensive
- Reduced time to migrate for Sitecore version
- When xDB is disabled contacts lookup and lot of data crunching are reduced
- Licensing cost will be reduced and use existing organization toolset for marketing
- Cost savings on the environment hosting
Faster to Market
- Reduced time for environment setup with less services
- Using an existing personalization product reduces the time of custom development and implementation
- Sitecore Personalize and Salesforce Interaction studio would just need a script injected on the layout and everything is configured in their system makes minimal interaction with CMS
- Zero to Reduced time for deployment and can be published without downtime
What are you missing?
Basic personalization is still available. XM has a limited set of rules in the personalization section.
The following are specific to XP and will not be available
Sitecore Experience forms is still available except the save contact action that would need xDB.
Analytics is not available and you will not be affected if not using analytics actively. I personally see most of the organization use Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics.
Sitecore Machine learning models used for better personalization will not be accessible.
Marketing Automation the contextual intelligence that lets you personalize content based on the user interaction in the live session. Campaigns, goals and events. Total engagement value with conversion are not available. Alternate option like Personalize could be utilized.
Multi variant testing that helps in comparing content between two pages that drives more conversions will not be available.
Path Analyzer that enables to check the user interaction path that has the highest engagement value per visit.
What is the process?
To understand the process, I went ahead and migrated a site that wasnt significantly big, to see if I can migrate with a minimal effort. The migration worked with minor to no code changes. I didnt migrate the xDB data and just did the site. The site used for migration was built on Sitecore 10.1 XP + SXA + JSS(ReactJS) + Coveo.
Please see the steps followed to complete the migration and Check if the site works in every step and fix any issues before moving to the next step.
- Build a vanilla instance of Sitecore XM matching the version of Sitecore XP 10.1
- Install all the modules
- Ensure the base site is functional, backup for reference
- Disable any xDB related code or config's
- Deploy the custom solution
- Sync templates and items
- Restore the content package of Site node
- Disabled a custom resolver that involved xDB
- Reindex the content
- Publish the content
I was surprised to see the site was fully functional includimng coveo search.
What is the effort?
It depends on your site size and the customization. If you really want to use your captured xDB data, its going to be two efforts one for Sitecore XM and your analytics data migration. If you are not planning to migrate your xDB data, then it's one step process to migrate. Any code relates to xDB would need to be pulled out. The common scenario's I have seen in the past is Personalization rules involving contact or goals. Form submit action to save a contact. Any pipelines that involve xDB.
The migration was seamless. I was able to get it working in few hours. The content had personalization using conditional rendering. They worked as expected. I was recommeneded to run the XP site with an XM license that would behave similarly with this whole process disabling xDB on an XP instance to simulate XM only mode. I didnt try but its worth trying before setting up a all new solution.
Cover Photo by Paul Pastourmatzis on Unsplash
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