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Why we’re excited about Sitecore’s strategic ambitions for 2021 and beyond

  • By 3chillies

As a Sitecore Partner for many years, we’ve taken a keen interest in the strategy Sitecore pursues; it can have an impact on our business, the solutions we offer and our development work, ultimately impacting our clients too.

We take stock of general announcements, follow the annual flagship Symposium event, and stay very close to the platform and the associated future roadmap. And at the moment, we can safely say we are genuinely excited about the current strategic ambition that Sitecore is showing. The combination of ambition, leadership, funding and continuing investment in the platform suggests it’s going to be an exciting two or three years for Sitecore. There has been a LOT going on, and we believe this is going to be felt directly by our clients through improvements to the platform and more opportunities to create powerful customer experiences.

Understandably, most of our clients don’t pay as much attention as we do, and rely on us to keep them informed about strategic updates from Sitecore. In this post, we’re going to cover some of the company’s recent announcements and share why we’re excited about their strategic ambitions.

  1. An ambition to lead the market and make that actually happen

    Sitecore is undoubtedly one of the market-leading Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs), being regularly featured by Gartner in the “leader” quadrant of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for DXPs. But there is currently a real ambition to defend, consolidate and extend this position, reflected in various speeches and quotes from Steve Tzikakis, Sitecore’s new CEO. In a recent post about a new era for Sitecore, Tzikakis stated his desire for Sitecore to “earn the mantle of undisputed leader in digital experience delivery, from content to commerce”.

    Of course, having ambition is one thing, but making it happen is another. What we find exciting is that Tzikakis is not resting on his laurels here – Sitecore is pushing through changes that will transform the company and the platform for the better. For example, he has recently tied Sitecore employee bonuses and pay rises to the company’s NPS (Net Promoter Score) to drive more focus on customers. Other changes are covered in the rest of this post.

  2. A new leadership with momentum behind them

    Over the past eighteen months, there has been a swathe of new leadership positions at Sitecore. When there are fresh appointments to an executive board, they usually come in with both a mandate and the momentum to make things happen. Senior leaders are typically hungry to prove themselves, and are under some pressure to deliver.

    At Sitecore, the majority of the board has been freshly appointed in the past 18 months and bring a broad mix of technology industry experience, while some have served on companies that Sitecore have acquired.

    The major appointment has been Steve Tzikakis as Sitecore’s CEO in September 2020, having come from SAP. Other important new appointments last year include Tom de Ridder as CTO in March 2020 (from Stylelabs who were acquired by Sitecore) and a new CFO in October.

    The new appointments have continued thick and fast in 2021, with a Chief Customer Success Officer in January, a new COO in February and the March appointment of a new Chief Engineering Office and Chief Product Officer.

  3. Investment to make it all happen

    Of course, ambitious plans require investment, and in January 2021 the company announced a very substantial financial injection from private funding. The $USD 1.2 billion investment, positioned by Sitecore themselves as the “largest ever capital investment in the martech space”, is earmarked to fund “product innovation” and marketing, as well as increase Sitecore’s local presence in some key markets. We believe this investment will prove very significant and shows that the strategic ambitions stated by the company can be realised. To us, it feels like a statement of intent.

  4. Investment in the product

    One of the reasons we enjoy being a Sitecore partner is that the company continues to invest in the platform. Every release comes with a range of new improvements and features, usually with something to keep the digital marketers and web teams happy as well as benefits for the developers and IT teams, such as more support for headless development in recent years. Some releases may include a significant new feature like the Horizon editing experience.

    New company acquisitions (explored below) also assimilate new capabilities into the main platform. Tzikakis has also confirmed that the $1.2bn investment will speed up the product roadmap; over the next couple of years, we’ll likely see the release of the SaaS version of Sitecore, with some new capabilities already released on a SaaS basis.

    As software developers, we do love a bit of new kit and new capabilities to get our teeth into, but most importantly, we know these features mean our customers can get more value out of Sitecore and expand the use of the platform into a fuller suite of digital marketing tools beyond being the intelligent CMS which is still sometimes the focus of everyday use.

  5. Bringing innovation to the platform

    An important element in the development of the platform is a commitment to innovation, using AI to drive advanced analytics, digital marketing and auto-personalisation. We see this as an area that will be particularly attractive to marketers, and may provide the first step in facilitating personalisation for anyone still not fully exploiting Sitecore capabilities. Sitecore has also recently announced a new “Co-Innovation Centre” that will see deeper customer involvement in developing innovations, particularly targeted at different industries.

  6. On the acquisition trail

    Sitecore has always been a relatively acquisitive company, and regularly buys smaller, niche companies with offerings that get assimilated into the platform and help to build up capabilities. One of the most significant acquisitions was that of Stylelabs in late 2018, whose flagship product was subsequently rebranded as Sitecore Content Hub, and now provides a Digital Asset Management capability within Sitecore (a previously missing piece) as well as some other marketing tools.

    But the acquisitions haven’t stopped. I In 2021 alone, the company has so far completed the purchase of two companies – Boxever and Four51 – and recently announced the acquisition of a third with Moosend. While it’s too early to see what exactly these will bring to the platform, it seems we’ll see new capabilities and features including a Customer Data Platform (CPD), a headless e-commerce solution and additional marketing automation tools.

The future of Sitecore

As a Sitecore partner we’re excited about all these developments, and as a Sitecore customer we think you should be too. There’s a new leadership in place, a new focus on the customer, renewed momentum in the product roadmap, new acquisitions and some interesting experiments in innovation. We’re looking forward to seeing where Sitecore goes in the next few years. Watch this space!

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