Technology & Engineering

What Sitecore’s acquisitions mean for the future of DXPs

Phil Robinson
Phil Robinson
Technology Consultant
Dept Office Berlin 21

Reflektion, an AI-powered digital search platform, is the latest company Sitecore has acquired as part of its $1.2 billion growth plans. It is the fourth this year, following Sitecore’s acquisition of Four51, Boxever and Moosend, expanding its digital offer and accelerating its plan to deliver the first integrated, SaaS-based digital experience platform (DXP). 

The latest acquisition came as no surprise to Dept’s technical experts, who have been closely following Sitecore’s plans to future-ready its platform capabilities. Without doubt, digital disruption is on the horizon, but what do these acquisitions mean for Sitecore, and how will they impact the future direction of its solutions? We’ve explored just that.

The acquisitions

Reflektion: An AI-powered digital search platform designed to process huge datasets in order to understand, evaluate and predict patterns, context, and needs. The SaaS-based platform can detect trends in real-time, assisting companies in converting shoppers into buyers and driving customer engagement. Reflektion elevates search into a conversational, guided experience that provides more personal, accessible, and tailored answers for the customer. The platform can be leveraged across all aspects of the Sitecore DXP, from transforming product data into understandable consumer-friendly language to understanding shopper intent, behaviour and product preferences.

Boxever: A customer data platform that combines data and AI to give brands the power to deliver smart and seamless digital experiences to customers. ​​Boxever provides an interface for decisioning and personalisation based on either bulk data transfer, static decision tables or via an API query. The graphical canvas allows marketers to create and experiment with customer data in real time and adapt the content delivered to them to make interactions more relevant and engaging.

Four51: A headless commerce platform for delivering modern B2B shopping experiences. The API-first, cloud-based architecture is highly customisable, giving businesses free rein over the UI of store fronts and omnichannel activity, creating a streamlined system to provide shopping solutions for even the most complex digital business processes. 

Moosend: A marketing automation platform that comes with a host of powerful capabilities and features that are intended to be highly simplistic in use, adopting a drag and drop interface rather than coding. The user-friendly interface means beginners can use this service to quickly build the most effective campaigns. The cloud-native, API-first platform powers targeted, revenue-enhancing campaigns tied to basket abandonment, product recommendation and promotions.

Sitecore evolution

There are three key areas (personalisation, artificial intelligence and API-first) that have been significantly strengthened as a result of Sitecore’s acquisitions, supporting its aim to position itself as leaders in the digital experience market. These functionalities also provide particular benefit to retail and e-commerce businesses, helping to bridge the offering gap between Sitecore and its perceived competition, as well as address some of the weaknesses identified in the Gartner report on Critical Capabilities for Digital Experience Platforms

Personalisation

Each of the acquisitions offers opportunities to improve automated personalisation, helping businesses to deliver experiences that are appropriately targeted at customers at different stages in the journey. Every touchpoint has the potential to be personalised content, such as offers specific to previous purchases, interests, or real time browsing behaviour. For example, Boxever offers ‘decision as a service’ with thousands of built in workflow steps that integrate customer data to provide real-time, calculated actions using both historic and live customer data. It will be interesting to see how this complements or replaces the existing Sitecore CDP and how this fits into the existing integration framework.

With an increasing focus on e-commerce, Sitecore now has the tools to leverage highly engaging content that maximises conversion. There are also low or no code options, reducing barriers of entry for content teams so that there is no requirement for specialised development or data scientists to deliver optimised experiences.

Artificial Intelligence

The extensive use of artificial intelligence across the acquired platforms significantly boosts Sitecore customers’ ability to continually learn and refine decision making which, in turn, will help to improve customer experiences. Both Reflektion and Boxever are focused on providing content through AI that is most relevant to the user based on existing data and current journey context, while Four51 and Moosend are focused on automating marketing and ordering journeys. All of this should help to reduce the effort in creating experiences that improve engagement and conversion, providing adaptable and ever-learning components that are accessible to content creators, rather than requiring expensive development.

API-first

With each of the acquired platforms being API-first, they will be the driving force in Sitecore’s aim to offer the first SaaS-based composable DXP. This will allow companies to select the appropriate APIs to build solutions that perfectly meet their needs and deliver optimised customer experiences at speed. It will also provide the means to measure performance and experiment in real time, which will drastically reduce the time taken to report on successes or failures to teams who can then enhance, adjust and optimise more efficiently. 
These additions will significantly bolster what is already possible within Sitecore’s existing SaaS platform, Experience Edge, to help businesses produce truly customer-centric experiences and solutions. Additionally, by providing these services as SaaS, Sitecore is lowering the barrier to entry and removing the need for dedicated customer infrastructure, in contrast to non-composable DXPs where infrastructure would need to be reviewed and would likely require further expenditure to deliver a new capability.

Composability from a customer POV

Dept’s technical team is curious as to how Sitecore clients will transition from traditional DXPs to SaaS. From a functionality point of view, there are many benefits. The composable approach provides the tools for more agility and freedom. For example, being free from vendor lock-in, organisations will have the ability to build a tech stack based on their needs and report on ROI more accurately. The technology also makes it possible for organisations to implement and respond to changes quickly. Depending on how Sitecore manages integrations in the future, there may also be the potential to mix in third party services such as the customer’s own customer data platform (CDP) or marketing automation tooling. 

It’s important not to overlook some of the challenges this could pose for existing clients. The transition from traditional DXPs to SaaS may take some getting used to, however it will be some time before they feel this impact. On balance, Dept’s technical team find the expansion of intelligence and ability to keep pace with ever-changing demands a smart and exciting development for their clients, as Sitecore will be better positioned to support them for the future.

What’s next?

These new capabilities provide the potential means to elevate the customisation and integration of existing Sitecore components. For example, we speculate that Boxever could be used to pull content from Content Hub based on a customer’s interests or between these new components. Another possible integration could be customising Moosend email campaigns based on Four51 order purchases or customer interests.

While each SaaS solution is an individual component that will form the basis of Sitecore’s composable DXP, we anticipate that Sitecore will invest in the connectors between these platforms to provide a pre-built (but still customisable) solution, enabling the rapid construction of digital experiences. However, Dept’s technical team suggests gradually introducing new functionalities and platforms over a period of time in order to build a DXP solution that perfectly meets their needs, rather than investing upfront in a pre-built stack. This process can be expedited for more digitally mature companies or those with previous experience of DXPs.

The evolution of Sitecore is fast and exciting, priming the company to lead the way in the transformation of digital experience platforms. Sitecore has established a strong position in the market by offering an increasing range of features and models that are designed to create unforgettable digital experiences. 

For advice on what type of DXP solution is right for your business, get in touch with our team of experts today.

Questions?

Phil Robinson

Technology Consultant

Phil Robinson

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