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Christian Hagelid

The Journey to Composable with Sitecore: Evolution or Revolution?

Discover the roadmap to headless technology and three distinct pathways tailored to meet businesses at various stages.

The Journey to Composable with Sitecore: Evolution or Revolution?


Picture this: every step of your online shopping journey, from the initial search to the final checkout, is perfectly aligned with your preferences. This scenario is not a glimpse into the future; it's the current standard of customer expectation. As technology advances, customer demands and behaviours evolve accordingly. 

Yet, many brands are unable to adapt swiftly to evolving market trends and customer needs, hemmed in by their existing marketing technology stack or uncertain of how to unlock their full potential. 

In the past five years, forward-thinking companies have turned to composable architecture and headless content management systems as their beacon of progress, navigating through the complexities of digital transformation to secure a competitive edge.

At IE, our experience has taught us that the shift towards a composable and headless digital ecosystem is far from a uniform journey. It demands a thoughtful, tailored approach. This article aims to unfold the roadmap to headless technology, spotlighting the opportunities it presents, the obstacles to anticipate, and three distinct pathways tailored to meet businesses at various stages of their digital evolution.

Why a Pathway is Needed

While modernising your Sitecore stack traditionally involves an annual CMS upgrade, moving from a traditional monolithic CMS architecture to a headless composable stack demands careful consideration. Sitecore's new composable DXP offering presents customers with a range of capabilities promising increased agility, time to market, and customer visibility. However, unlike the familiar CMS upgrade process, this transition requires more than a mere software switch. It necessitates substantial adjustments in your IT architecture, enhancements in your engineering teams' skills and an overhaul of existing delivery and release practices and processes. An immediate shift to a headless composable tech stack might not be the move that makes the most business sense for you right now.

Navigating the Roadmap

Typically there are three paths clients should follow. Start by reviewing the benefits and challenges of each one and use that to decide which one is best suited to your current situation.

Path 1: Sweat the Asset

Utilise the available features of the platform. 

Recommended for businesses who

  • Have made significant investments in their existing Martech stack
  • Are looking to keep costs and change to a minimum
  • Have a well-structured and maintained monolithic solution that enables them to deliver value to customers in short incremental cycles

Action Plan

  • Invest time in understanding existing features. You may be surprised to find that the capabilities you seek are already available in your existing platform
  • Make structured training options and materials available for your engineering and marketing teams so that when the time is right you can start your transition to composable with confidence
  • Remove unwanted complexity. If you are on XP and have identified that you don’t need the advanced analytics and tracking features of XConnect then consider switching to an XM topology. XM gives you the CMS platform you know and love in addition to basic personalisation. Scaling down from XP to XM will not only save on licence and operational costs but it will better prepare your business for a potential switch to a managed cloud or XM Cloud solution in the future


It's like owning a sophisticated smartwatch but only using its basic stopwatch feature.  Explore all of the capabilities it has and you may find that the capability you’ve been longing for is already available to you.

Path 2: Organic Incremental Growth

Incorporate elements of the composable platform on an as-needed basis, implementing sustainable changes to your delivery team.

Recommended for businesses who

  • Are on the latest major version of Sitecore's CMS product
  • Have delivery teams where at least a core of them are experienced in headless component delivery
  • Have identified shortcomings or inefficiencies in their current MarTech stack that they want to remedy with best-of-bread solutions available in the market
  • Have identified a specific business or customer need that will be easier and faster to deliver a solution for by adopting elements of a headless composable stack into the existing architecture. Good candidates might be an event or a campaign you are running that you want to do something different with in terms of customer experience

Action Plan

  • Adopt an API-first mindset and start to look at your IT infrastructure as loosely connected disparate systems that each serve a specific purpose and provide a distinct benefit
  • Identify products either from Sitecore composable offering, or from other vendors, that will enable you to gain a competitive edge. Each product from Search, Personalise, OrderCloud and others unlocks specific capabilities. Look for the ones that best fit into your existing stack
  • Write down the business goals you want to achieve and use that actively when evaluating options. Let the business goals, rather than technology features, drive your decision making process.
  • Implement change at a sustainable pace that makes sense for your business. Ensure all team members involved with digital delivery is brought along for the journey


Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. You may have discovered some limitations or shortcomings with your current laptop or home computer. But instead of replacing the whole device, which is likely still suitable for your needs, look to upgrade the specific component that is holding you back (like replacing the hard drive or adding more RAM).

Path 3: Rapid Transformation

Swiftly adopt a headless composable DXP strategy by migrating from traditional self-managed hosting to SaaS-based offerings.

Recommended for businesses who

  • View their current tech stack as end-of-life. This could be due to a number of reasons like poor maintenance resulting in mounting technical debt or a failure to keep your software products up to date
  • See themselves as forward-thinking with a high degree of collaboration between marketing and IT departments
  • Are ready to adopt modern DevOps practices for frequent incremental releases
  • Understand the complexities that a headless composable stack introduces. When you break apart a monolith you increase the need for coordination and the different platforms and technologies your team needs to understand and manage. Have a plan and the right people in place to tackle that complexity

Action Plan

  • Start with a review of the information architecture.  Avoid the temptation of migrating the existing structures and take the opportunity to re-think and optimise the content for flexibility and ease of maintenance
  • Adopt XM Cloud, Sitecore’s composable headless hybrid CMS as the preferred CMS platform. Understand how to best work with the built-in features it provides and create a plan for how you are going to replace existing customisations to work in a SaaS environment
  • Combine best-of-breed products that satisfy your specific business needs. Sitecore’s composable stack includes products to satisfy all your marketing needs, from advanced personalisation and data tracking to AI-based search. But don’t be afraid to look outside the Sitecore ecosystem. Embrace the fact that you can tailor your technology stack to suit your needs (instead of the other way around)
  • Adopt new capabilities as and when required and let your customers, through data-driven insights, guide your decisions. You may not need all the bells and whistles on day one. Reap the benefits of a composable stack by only incorporating the capabilities you need, when you need them
  • Continuously review the effectiveness of your chosen products and swap them out for new ones if they are not helping you reach your desired goals. One of the benefits in an API-driven de-coupled world is that you should be able to swap pieces in and out as needed


Instead of picking an all-in-one solution (smartwatch) that is good at many things, you can combine a few different devices that each function exactly the way you need them for your use case. This might be a separate heart rate monitor for more accurate metrics or a pod for your shoes if you do a lot of treadmill running.


Navigating the technical landscape for your IT strategy's evolution can feel daunting.  However, finding the right path involves more than just choosing a technology stack.  It’s about understanding the people and skills you have or need to acquire, the processes and ways of working and your organisation's ability to change. At (i.e.,) we're here to support you every step of the way. Reach out to the friendly team at IE and we can help you make an informed decision about which path to take.

At (i.e.,), we're here to support you every step of the way. Reach out to the friendly team at (i.e.,) and we can help you make an informed deecision about which path to take.

To learn more about our Sitecore services and capabilities, visit our Sitecore page.

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