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Sitecore’s Acquisitions Drive Innovation & Growth for Its Customers & MarTech
On January 19, 2021, Sitecore announced a major $1.2 billion investment. Just six weeks later, Sitecore announced the acquisition of Boxever and Four51. Boxever is a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that aggregates customer data from multiple channels and allows enterprises to analyze and act on customer insights. Four51 is a headless B2B eCommerce platform and a current member of the fast-growing MACH Alliance.
What does this large and rapid change to Sitecore’s line-up mean for its product portfolio, its customers, its partners and the MarTech industry? Read on to find out.
Sitecore’s Ongoing Transition to a Multi-Product Portfolio
Much of Sitecore’s 20-year history revolves around a single product: its flagship digital experience platform, Sitecore Experience Platform™ (XP). While XP is known for the strength of its data model, customizability, and active enthusiast community, its monolithic footprint had become a daunting proposition for prospective customers. A significant portion of the $1.2 billion investment is dedicated to completing its transition to a modern, cloud-native technology stack.
All the new products that Sitecore has acquired, including Sitecore Content Hub™ in 2018, are cloud-hosted software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. Each new product can be used on its own or in combination with XP.
The two new members of the Sitecore family address different segments within the MarTech space. The Boxever acquisition brings a first-party CDP option, where Sitecore had previously relied on its close relationships with Salesforce and Microsoft. CDP has taken a central role in unifying customer experience profiles and managing customer interactions across a variety of digital and physical touchpoints, and helps enterprises address privacy and compliance concerns in handling sensitive customer data.
The Four51 acquisition plugs the B2B gap in Sitecore’s Experience Commerce (XC) offering. While XC could be customized to address typical B2B use cases, Four51 made that the centerpiece of its eCommerce offering.
Sitecore now has a nearly full line of enterprise-grade tools for MarTech. This allows Sitecore to reach new market segments while improving capabilities for its existing customers.
The largest obvious gap remaining is marketing automation. While Sitecore’s Email Experience Manager (EXM) works for many basic use-cases, it remains a module within Sitecore XP, rather than a fully-featured standalone product. Customers now expect an enterprise-grade marketing automation solution that can work with a variety of digital experience platforms.
Sitecore has the vision and the staying power to continue evolving its core platform while bringing new capabilities to the table. As Sitecore’s business model moves toward SaaS, adopting the platform becomes easier, staying current requires less effort, and pricing becomes more transparent.
While having a one-stop shop will appeal to many customers, it will become harder to find Sitecore partners and employees versed in all aspects of the product. Customers need to vet their service providers more carefully now to ensure they are familiar with a particular product line and understand the ins and outs of implementing that product. It's no longer enough to find someone that just “knows Sitecore.”
As the Sitecore suite grows, it includes a more diverse set of partners that are specialized in certain areas. Few partners can deliver in all areas. To help customers navigate the partner ecosystem—and to ensure that partners understand the requirements for the different products—Sitecore has introduced its specialization badges. EPAM currently holds all three specialization badges across its worldwide delivery centers. But as the Sitecore suite continues to grow, it’s only natural that partners favor particular areas of expertise.
For the MarTech Industry
This was a record-breaking investment, coming on the heels of a global pandemic that accelerated digital transformation initiatives in enterprises worldwide. It’s a big bet on the behavior changes wrought by repeated lockdowns, social distancing and a corresponding move to conducting business in a digital-first manner. It also demonstrates Sitecore’s commitment to a new SaaS technology stack, one that leverages several key tech trends that have reached mainstream adoption in 2021.
Sitecore’s recent acquisitions will greatly benefit the organization and its customers. As a founding member of the MACH Alliance, EPAM is dedicated to delivering next-generation digital experiences though decoupled, cloud-native services that can increase scalability and reduce time-to-market for our customers. We are excited to see Sitecore invest in new products that embody this philosophy.
Sitecore’s ability to provide independent services and products will allow its customers to choose the features that drive their businesses forward, reduce the learning curve, and lower barriers to adoption and upgrades. It enables their clients to experiment and innovate faster, unlocking new value as they transform to meet the needs of a digital-centric marketplace.