Time to upgrade to Sitecore v10?

If you're on Sitecore 8.2, it’s decision time.

If you are reading this then chances are you have received *that call* either from Sitecore or your Sitecore partner agency, or both about the sunsetting of your Sitecore version. All support and updates for the DxP product version 8 are due to end this year and it’s really time to be doing something now about moving to something more up-to-date.
Sitecore’s extended support for version 8.2 ends in December 2022 and with it goes security patches, updates and browser support (for the DxP admin area not your website, hopefully). In all fairness to Sitecore the software at that point will be 8 years old and there comes a time when vendor support just isn’t feasible.  August 2020 saw the release of  Sitecore 10. which has since had 2 updates (the latest from November 2021). As an organisation still working with 8.2 there is a decision to be made.

Stick or twist?

Should you upgrade? If so should you go to version 9 or 10? What’s the problem with just sticking with what you’ve got? Do you need to switch to a different license model? Is Sitecore still the best choice for your organisation? The first thing to say is that the right answer is likely to be different for different organisations and will depend on many factors including your current system stability, technical debt, ongoing budget and future digital ambitions. 

In this post we’ll attempt to guide you through the considerations and then explain how and why we upgraded our client Spaceslide to Sitecore 10.

What does it mean to be out of extended support? 

When the system is supported by the vendor your agency or internal dev team can get assistance with unexpected errors or peculiar behaviour during installation or development. Sitecore would also be responsible for addressing security issues and system defects by releasing hotfixes or patches. Once you are out of extended support this will no longer happen. 

As of December 2022 the only thing that Sitecore will do is maintain product documentation and offer support on upgrading to subsequent versions.

The do nothing approach

Your in-house team or partner agency are likely to be pretty skilled so supporting your system shouldn’t be an issue, thought they will continue to do so but will have to do so under best endeavours with the understanding that Sitecore won’t be there as back up and you may find that some features within the CMS start to become difficult to use - An example here is that if you are on Sitecore 8 it is likely that you can no longer use engagement plans well thanks to their reliance upon; Silverlight, something which is now no longer supported by any modern browser and only available at a push through older version of IE. Chances are you can work around something like that for a short time, but you’d be sacrificing a major piece of functionality from Sitecore

For the main part – doing nothing is a temporary solution so the real question is then upgrade to a more up to date release of Sitecore or migrate to a new system completely – this is where the answers start to become very dependent on your situation and as both routes have benefits and cost you’ll likely find this one a balancing act and something that you’ll need to spend a little time on.

Upgrade to Sitecore 10

The first thing we should talk about is the word “upgrade”. Very often we find this term belies the complexity of a project that usually involves at least parts of a system to be rebuilt. The bigger the gap between system releases, the more likely it is that you are really looking at a complete rebuild. Once the extent of the upgrade/rebuild impact is understood that’s usually the point where we have a discussion with clients about whether we should look at re-platforming. There are too many factors to this decision to address in detail here but some key considerations will be:
  • Development Cost
  • Additional benefits 
  • Return on investment
There are some great new features within Sitecore 10 and if your organisation can align these with its digital ambition alongside any additional investment that may be required then the ROI case will stack up nicely.  It is worth having a conversation with your agency partner (if you have one) and Sitecore partner manager here as they will help you look at the business case overall and also help you to compare any different options.  One of the options you may want to consider if you are finding that the ROI case for a Sitecore upgrade is not working out is the potential for re-platforming.


What we are talking about here is rebuilding your solution using a different CMS – Umbraco, Kentico, Optimizely, the list goes on . This could be the right choice for you if the reality is that the total cost of ownership doesn’t stack up for you on the Sitecore model anymore.  There’s nothing wrong with that decision and it doesn’t mean you lack digital aspiration. You can deliver next generation, omnichannel experiences that are personalised, context aware and timely, but for various reasons you may need to be look at options other than deploying an enterprise CxP with an enterprise price tag. 

Take a look at the work we did with AGS Group on their airport sites. We developed a multi-site platform in Umbraco. The choice of CMS here wasn’t to do with lack of ambition, it was a decision on where best to invest effort and budget. We looked at this together and concluded that our budget was best focused on a larger level of custom development to get the specific functionality required rather than the out of the box functionality that would come with  . Don’t just assume that no licence fee is a saving as in some cases it isn’t.  Again the trick here is to understand what the overall cost of ownership will likely be and what the benefit from any investment would look like – does the ROI case stack up?

The reality is it can feel like a complex thing to navigate and a headache which you don’t need.  There isn’t a simple answer to this one, it is a solution that is tailored to your budget and needs and should be a strategic decision – that doesn’t mean it has to be drawn out or difficult – this is a well-trodden path now and here are a couple of examples to show you what it looks like:

Home Decor

For our client Home Décor, their site Spaceslide was in v8.2 as mainstream support came to an end in December 19. They opted to pay for extended support and together we stared to weigh up the pros and cons of rebuilding the site in Sitecore 10 or re-platforming. Having looked at the costs and benefits and longer term ROI of doing nothing, moving to a different CMS platform or making the move the Sitecore 10 the business case for Sitecore 10 was the strongest and most compelling, Sitecore themselves were helpful in providing information and support to allow us to come to an appropriate decision. 

Some of the considerations that affected the decision:
  • Licence cost. Although this increased for Spaceslide, the overall increase wasn’t significantly more than the cost to have implemented key features for Spaceslide on another platform
  • Marketing Automation. This is a really powerful tool empowering your marketing teams to deliver rules based automation (especially useful for emails). Sitecore have moved automation out of Silverlight and improved the UI for automation plans. These features save the team at Home Décor time and budget
  • 360 customer view using XdB, due to the nature of the purchase this is really useful and allows us to deliver a contextually aware experiences to visitors in order to nurture them through to a customer and beyond.  We’re able to link channels together to deliver a seamless experience to customers whether they are in a showroom or in their living room.  From a development perspective the ability for us to hook into XdB using Sitecore JSS meant that we could tap into this even further with Sitecore 10.


Working with the Serious Injury team at Shoosmiths, they have a site on Sitecore 8.2 and the main Shoosmiths site on Sitecore 9.  In this instance the decision was a much more straightforward one than the Home Décor example.  With Shoosmiths there was no impact on the licence cost for any upgrade this allowed Shoosmiths to realise all of the benefits of a later version of Sitecore without any additional licence cost.  That being said the ‘upgrade’ is not without cost and therefore we did look at the overall business case as to what should be done.  The do nothing option was ruled out due to the security risk presented by keeping a site on an unsupported version of Sitecore, however a full Sitecore 10 upgrade was not the preferred option at this stage and a unification of the two sites was considered instead.

Key Considerations:
  • Risk to the organisation, the risk of being on an unsupported platform was too great
  • Cost of development, with the ‘upgrade’ there are rebuild costs, the current site uses old ‘best practice’ and therefore there are re-build costs
  • Wider ecosystem, with other areas of the business on Sitecore and the opportunity to unify some systems the overall business case is ROI positive
In this instance we’ll actually be upgrading to Sitecore 9.2 and converging the build with the existing Shoosmiths site – enabling the internal marketing teams to share components, content and functionality, consolidate hosting solutions and enhance the overall platform.  We’ll then look again at upgrading to 10 once we have a platform delivered in 9.2 that works for both parts of the organisation.


So whether you decide to “upgrade” to Sitecore 10, replatform or stick with what you have for now, make sure your agency understands the various parameters that go into your decision and that they work with you to come up with the best approach. If you would like to talk to us about supporting, upgrading or replatforming a Sitecore site, get in touch. We’d be happy to help you navigate that process and help you get to the best outcome, like we did for Home Décor.