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13 considerations

for deploying an
experience platform
Evaluate cloud and on-premises
deployment options in context of
your business situation


White paper // 13 considerations for deploying an experience platform


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Key considerations for the IT pro������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 4

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About Sitecore�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 6

Published 04/18. © 2018 Sitecore Corporation A/S. All rights reserved. Sitecore® and Own the Experience® are registered trademarks of Sitecore Corporation A/S in the U.S. and other countries. All other
brand and product names are the property of their respective owners. This document may not, in whole or in part, be photocopied, reproduced, translated, or reduced to any electronic medium or machine
readable form without prior consent, in writing, from Sitecore. Information in this document is subject to change without notice and does not represent a commitment on the part of Sitecore.

White paper // 13 considerations for deploying an experience platform

Introduction ■■ The web director:

Congratulations! You’ve made a decision to either upgrade, A decision maker. Your web directors and managers
migrate to, or invest in an entirely new customer experience will advocate for an easy-to-use, scalable platform that
management platform. You’ve driven consensus within your enables segmentation, personalization, and targeting,
organization around requirements, evaluated solutions, and works seamlessly across channels. And, of course,
investigated interdependencies with existing technology, and they’ll want a process-friendly system that is highly
have chosen a path forward. To ensure the success of your secure and has minimal downtime.
investment, you’ll want to put some thought into deployment ■■ The IT pro:
approaches. After all, the advantages of deploying in the
cloud continue to grow, you’ve got legacy applications and A decision maker. Many of the decisions, such as cloud
data with which to integrate, and your marketing team is versus on premises, and how best to adhere to data
likely using a variety of applications and services you might privacy policies and compliance requirements, will
not even know about. be made here. These decisions will be made easier if
they are collaborative with the other stakeholders and
Where should you start? Since the customer experience is guided by a common goal of maximizing the quality
where everything you’ve done before and during deployment and effectiveness of the customer experience.
must come together for a positive outcome, it makes the
most sense to start there—with the quality of experience ■■ The digital marketer:
that you seek for your web pages, videos, emails, and other An influencer. The customer experience will be
marketing content targeted for prospects and customers. heightened by a successful user experience. Your new
platform must enable every marketer or user at your
By working backward from the customer experience, you can company to easily implement programs—consistently
gain clarity on where your systems need to align. You will and as planned. Ideally, your marketers should be able
identify where performance and availability is critical, how to know and act on the context of how customers are
you can ensure automated action without compromising interacting with your brand over time and in real time,
security, how you can scale and grow for the future, and how across all channels. That way, marketers can offer the
you can best deploy a centralized platform that enhances the most relevant content in context of the audience’s
productivity of your team. unique experience.
In this white paper, we’ll discuss what you’ll need to consider The digital marketer or other system user will have
before deploying an experience platform as we shed light most of the same considerations as the web director,
on the various options you may have (namely, cloud or on- and should be consulted as much as possible as well
premises deployment). One thing to know is that you, the as be involved in testing and implementation.
customer, do have options, including potentially deploying
a hybrid solution that combines environments to meet your Below is a breakdown of the considerations for each decision
organization’s unique needs. maker, plus some insight on deployment alternatives.

Because different roles have different priorities, we’ve

categorized our considerations according to the audiences Key considerations for the web director
who have a stake in your deployment decisions. While you
work backward from the customer experience, you’ll want to
and digital marketer
think about deployment concerns from the perspective of the 1. Scalability
following stakeholders:
If your organization regularly engages in high-volume
marketing campaigns or events, or even seasonal
campaigns that drive considerable traffic to your

White paper // 13 considerations for deploying an experience platform

website and other digital properties, you need the environments in the cloud than those on premises.
flexibility to shape your bandwidth and computing The ability to load test your application by creating a
capacity. high-volume testing scenario in a cloud environment
Deploying an on-premises solution may mean you means you can ramp up test load volume far in excess
need to invest in additional physical servers to of what you’re likely to encounter “in the wild.” It’s
accommodate increasing amounts of traffic and avoid also easier to quickly redeploy compute capacity to
overloads and failures. The major downside is that different server blueprints, in order to reconfigure
the additional hardware capacity will only be needed your QA/UAT/Dev environments as you see fit.
occasionally and therefore yields a poor ROI. However, an on-premises solution will allow your
With a cloud-based solution (PaaS or IaaS), you can testers to work in a stable environment that takes
scale on demand much more efficiently under pay- advantage of existing IT investments. The nature of
for-what-you-use arrangements. In other words, you’re your testing methodologies may better suit a fixed
better able to cope when you suddenly have huge environment that is used continually, rather than
product launches or holiday marketing campaigns. occasional peak-load bench-testing. Advantage:
By automatically scaling up your web operations Either, depending on test scenarios.
to cope with increased customer loads, your target
4. Application feature deployment
customer experience will benefit, too. And the value
of not having to explain to marketing why the website Not having to worry about getting the latest
“fell over” when their social campaign went viral— application version or upgrade is, well, awesome. But
priceless. Advantage: Cloud. for most customer experience platforms at this time,
application version control remains a challenge—
2. Geographical requirements either in the cloud or on premises. Deploying patches
A similar consideration is whether your organization and product upgrades requires planning, resourcing,
targets customers over a large region nationally or and testing. SaaS offerings update all customers at
internationally. If it does, your company can utilize the same time, and are responsible for the integrity
multiple content delivery networks (CDNs)—large of each feature release. However, this also means
distributed data centers across the internet—for you lose control of when you want to deploy new
a static website (generalized content). This may features. In a PaaS or IaaS environment, you control
allow your on-premises solution to perform well when your application updates and can ensure
globally. Your CDN servers will likely be close to your you have the testing cycles in place to assure your
customers, so content latency is less of an issue. business customers that the new release introduces
no breaking changes to their customer experience.
But if your content is more targeted and Advantage: Cloud, balancing control, and ease of
personalized—which generally provides a better management based on cloud type.
customer experience—CDNs become less important.
So a cloud-based solution can offer better speed and 5. Speed of deployment
performance. Deployed in the cloud, an experience
Without the need for building and deploying physical
platform such as the Sitecore® Experience Platform™
server infrastructure for scalability, and less need for IT
(XP) is accessible from virtually any location, and
involvement, the deployment of a cloud solution will
multiple farms can be set up for content delivery.
usually be simpler and faster. In fact, many say that
Should one farm fail, requests are automatically
in today’s “experience” market, where first-to-market
rerouted to other farms. Advantage: Cloud.
wins, the cloud can be the difference between first
3. Quality assurance and user acceptance testing and second place. Advantage: Cloud.

Testing services and support for PaaS solutions are

rapidly improving, and in some cases offer richer test

White paper // 13 considerations for deploying an experience platform

6. Your three- to five-year growth strategy Key considerations for the IT pro
Before deploying an experience platform, consider
your growth strategy for the next three to five years. 7. Cost
Is your organization anticipating rapid growth? What The cost of an experience platform is obviously part
kind of volatility or seasonality is your business likely of the equation here but the cost of deploying and
to be subject to? Having the flexibility to expand maintaining infrastructure must be considered as well.
rapidly—and indeed, scale back just as quickly if Deploying an on-premises solution often requires
necessary—provides you with the agility to support purchasing additional servers and other infrastructure,
the demands of the business. An upfront investment which must be installed and network configured.
in fixed infrastructure has the profound disadvantage This increases deployment costs, and also brings the
of not being able to be readily reversed in the event likelihood that your new infrastructure is often not
of a business downturn. A cloud-based solution fully utilized.
will enable you to scale more quickly and easily
and provide you with more flexibility in the event Moreover, the recurring IT costs for administration and
those three- to five-year plans don’t stay to plan. maintenance will also be higher. Generally, you will
Advantage: Cloud. find that deploying a cloud solution reduces upfront
costs and capital expenditures overall.
Advantage: Cloud.

The cost equation

Generally, you’ll find that deploying a cloud solution
reduces upfront costs and capital expenditures overall.

On premises Cloud computing

9% Software licenses 68% Subscription fee

Customization & Implementation,

implementation customization, & training


IT personnel



Ongoing costs Ongoing costs

■ Apply fixes, patches, upgrade ■ Ongoing burden on IT ■ Subscription fee
■ Downtime ■ Maintain/upgrade hardware ■ Training
■ Performance tuning ■ Maintain/upgrade network ■ Configuration
■ Rewrite customizations ■ Maintain/upgrade security
■ Rewrite integrations ■ Maintain/upgrade database
■ Upgrade dependent

Source: BAASS

White paper // 13 considerations for deploying an experience platform

8. Systems integration and compatibility 11. Data compliance internationally

For an on-premises deployment, the hardware you use Companies that do business internationally recognize
can be shared with other internal systems. Systems that data compliance can be complicated. That’s
integration and compatibility with development tools because governments internationally regulate the
will likely be smoother. Connectivity of data systems data systems located within their jurisdictions, and
may be less complicated, as all data is stored within regulations also may vary per industry.
your organization. And your IT staff has more control With a cloud-based solution, you may not even know
over the platform environment and supporting where your data resides. However, cloud providers
infrastructure. such as Microsoft Azure have made compliance much
Integrating your systems via a cloud deployment (IaaS less of a concern by adhering to most international
as well as PaaS) is a process that is improving, and and industry regulations. Advantage: Cloud.
less hardware is involved—you simply don’t need as
much. But you have less control and supervision over 12. Availability
the implementation process, and integrating your data The pros and cons go both ways here. As we’ve
systems takes more planning and effort. discussed, high availability with an on-premises
Advantage: On premises. solution may require investing in additional
infrastructure and CDNs to serve large, broad, or
9. Development and Devops international audiences.
Obviously, your developers will have more local With a cloud solution, you need an always-on internet
control with an on-premises deployment, as well. And connection, plus a provider with minimal downtime
the way your development operations environment and strong service-level agreements for quickly fixing
works will be less affected. Solution providers such as any outage. Advantage: Either.
Sitecore, however, have prioritized their efforts to “fit
in” to a customer’s Devops environment and to adhere 13. Replication, redundancy, and disaster recovery
to existing customer development standards. So this
consideration is less clear cut. Advantage: Either. Disaster recovery is simply more problematic with
an on-premises solution. A cloud-based solution
10. Data security and privacy offers widely dispersed and redundant data centers,
helping ensure that not all environments are affected
Similarly, data security and privacy considerations by a regional disaster—no matter how severe the
are not clear cut either. Your data security is heavily local impact might be. Cloud computing delivers
dependent on the security of your IT environment. faster recovery times and multisite availability at a
An on-premises deployment will keep all data within fraction of the cost of conventional disaster recovery.
your organization safe as it is. Likewise for your data Advantage: Cloud.
privacy, which will continue to be governed by the
policies your organization has in place.
Meanwhile, with a cloud deployment, your data will Next steps
be moving in and out of the cloud. But cloud services
Most IT experts will likely agree that cloud solutions have
such as Microsoft Azure offer sophisticated security
more upside than on-premises solutions. However, while
technologies that reduce risk, as well as privacy
cloud technologies and platforms continue to mature and
policies that are as strict as or stricter than those of
improve, IT change can be disruptive, and each business or
many organizations. Advantage: Either.
organization’s circumstances must be considered individually.

White paper // 13 considerations for deploying an experience platform

The Sitecore® Experience Platform™ can be deployed in

a variety of environments, depending on your business
About Sitecore
and infrastructure needs, and has a flexible approach to Sitecore is the global leader in experience management
deployment, as follows: software that combines content management, commerce, and
customer insights. The Sitecore Experience Cloud™ empowers
■■ Sitecore® Cloud: You can deploy Sitecore XP, the marketers to deliver personalized content in real time and
Sitecore® Experience Manager™ (XM), and Sitecore at scale across every channel—before, during, and after a
Experience Commerce™ in a platform-as-a-service sale. More than 5,200 brands—including American Express,
cloud with Microsoft Azure by either hosting it Carnival Cruise Lines, Dow Chemical, and L’Oréal—have
yourself, having your certified Solution Partner host it trusted Sitecore to deliver the personalized interactions that
for you, or having Sitecore manage hosting. Customers delight audiences, build loyalty, and drive revenue.
can combine this with our consumption-based pricing
according to the volume of visits to your Sitecore- Visit us at www.sitecore.com.
powered site. Ideal for customers who budget for
software as an annual expense or who have volatile
traffic patterns.
■■ Sitecore on premises: You can install Sitecore on
your own servers. Customers typically purchase
Sitecore with a perpetual license, which is priced
by the number of software installations in your
environment; consumption-based pricing is also
available. Ideal for customers who budget for software
as a capital investment or up-front expense.
■■ Hybrid approach: You can deploy some of your
Sitecore installation (for instance, your content
delivery component) on Azure and the rest on your
own servers. This option gives you flexibility and,
depending on how much you may need to scale up in
Azure, your pricing is either through a consumption-
based or perpetual license.

For more details on Sitecore Cloud, see our white paper

“Why and how to deploy Sitecore® XP on Microsoft® Azure.”
Alternatively, you can reach us via:

Email: sitecore.com/contact-us
Phone: sitecore.com/phone
Chat: sitecore.com/chat

Or request a demo here.

If you need further information on Sitecore Cloud, visit

Sitecore Documentation, give your account manager a call,
or check out Sitecore training to book an online or in-person
training session.

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