Managing Partner & Sitecore MVP
Sitecore Connect Overview
Integration accelerator platform
Sitecore launched Sitecore Connect at Sitecore Symposium in October this year. It is a white-labeled iPaaS platform from workato – a cloud-native platform for integration and workflow automation. In this article, I am going to provide my point-of-view on Sitecore Connect.
Why Sitecore Connect
Sitecore needed Sitecore Connect for multiple reasons:
- Composable => Connectivity + Orchestration: Composable by definition allows components to be selected, connected, and organized to deliver specific functionality or meet a specific requirement. Sitecore now offers multiple composable components but needed the ability to “plug” them into the enterprise or digital landscape. Sitecore Connect provides that pluggability.
- Commerce is Connected: Any commerce platform needs to be connected to enterprise applications (ERP, CRM, WMS, OMS, etc.) and 3rd party applications (payment, tax, shipping, etc.) to deliver a successful eCommerce experience. Most of the established eCommerce platforms have preexisting connectors or ESB offerings or marketplaces of 3rd party connectors. Both Order Cloud and Sitecore Commerce lacked a competitive advantage when it came to connectors and integration; Sitecore Connect aims to solve this gap.
- “D” in CDP stands for Data: Sitecore CDP or any CDP is all about data – structured and unstructured data, data collected from multiple sources and channels, data collected from internal and external applications, the ability to store this data in a data lake and the ability to process this data for intelligent decisioning and personalization. Data requires integration and thus Sitecore CDP needed a good integration strategy.
Only Sitecore can answer why it selected workato for Sitecore Connect. Here are some guesses:
- workato is an established player as a leader in the enterprise integration space.
- workato’s architecture is composable:
- Recipes: A recipe is a set of instructions to achieve a result or to accomplish a particular task. For example, order submission. Recipe is generally triggered by an event (order submit) in an application (commerce system). The recipe can then perform a number of steps and actions (capture payment, submit user data to CRM, submit an order to ERP) across multiple Apps. A recipe can also call another recipe.
- Connectors and Apps: Connectors encapsulate connectivity and interactivity for a particular App (for example Salesforce CRM). A recipe can use multiple Apps to accomplish a task. workato has over a thousand connectors https://www.workato.com/integrations
- workato can help Order Cloud leapfrog the integration gap. workato already has Apps for enterprise, CRM, service, etc. Once Sitecore builds the workato Order Cloud App, Order Cloud will be integrated with all of workato Apps
- Similarly, once Sitecore builds workato Apps for CDP, XM, Discover, Send, and Content Hub; these products will have connectivity to the entire workato Apps ecosystem
- workato is cloud-native and supports on-prem integration. Its event-based integration aligns well with how Sitecore is integrating its own products
Sitecore Connect with workato seems to be a well-founded strategy but here are some areas that Sitecore will need to address for this strategy to be successful:
- Sitecore Apps and Recipes for workato: Sitecore will need to quickly deliver different Apps and Recipes for workato. Thankfully this is in progress and hopefully Sitecore will publish a roadmap
- Pricing: workato model is pay-per-use + purchase recipes. It is not clear how Sitecore recipes will be priced and if there will be an additional cost of using workato through Sitecore
- Non-workato customers: Customers may have an existing investment in other ESBs/middleware applications. Sitecore will need to provide a generic framework for connectivity into these applications.
- Other similar iPasS and event-based platforms: Platforms/frameworks like Azure Logic Apps/Azure Functions, AWS AppSync/Step Functions/Lambda Functions, and Kafka are becoming more mainstream for enterprise integrations. Sitecore will need to support these through workato or on its own to stay truly composable