Salesforce swallowed e-commerce vendor Demandware whole. It embraced its $2.8 billion snack and moved on. 

Nothing more to see here, right?

Sort of. Except in the aftermath of the deal people started asking questions. Yes, Demandware is an e-commerce vendor and will ultimately fit nicely into the Salesforce portfolio. But there is a significant piece missing.

Yep, you got it. A content management system (CMS).

Content Management, Demandware

You can't have an online retail store without a full-fledged content management system behind it.

Long before the Salesforce deal, Demandware understood this. It set up a number of integrations and partnerships to ensure that organizations that bought into the Demandware model had access to a CMS.

There are as, of this week, a number of possibilities (although this is likely to change rapidly given the potential muscle of a Salesforce/Demandware offering). Demandware told CMSWire in a statement that e-Spirit, for example, is a certified CMS. So are Acquia, Amplience, WordPress (via OSF) and Styla. 

"We have a strategic partnership with Adobe, one element of which will enable our merchants to more easily integrate with Adobe Experience Manager," the statement explained. Others are listed on Demandware's external marketplace.

A Look at E-Spirit's FirstSpirit

Lexington, Mass-based e-Spirit FirstSpirit’s content management platform is built on a best of breed approach that requires an integrated architecture. It integrates with enterprise e-commerce platforms, product information management (PIM) systems, media asset management (MAM) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, as well as other data sources, or sales and logistics solutions. It's an enterprise-level content management system (CMS) with a fully certified integration with Demandware Commerce.

“What is interesting in our view is the impact it has on the overall space. Before Salesforce was cooperating with Adobe. With this partnership that is not going to happen anymore. There is also Ektron, which will now also compete with Salesforce with its digital experience cloud as well,” Oliver Jäger, Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications, for e-Spirit told us.

While Salesforce and FirstSpirit have no official integration, Jäger said a number of Salesforce customers are already using FirstSpirit with Salesforce implementations.

Other CMS Implementations

Dries Buytaert, the CTO and co-founder of Acquia, said they Demandware deal works for Salesforce on many levels.

"It brings them closer as a competitor to huge marketing stack vendors such as Adobe, Oracle and IBM. There are advantages to having an integration single system of record about the customer, and the acquisition now offers Salesforce clients an integrated commerce solution,” he said.

“It also makes sense from a technology point of view, as few Java-based commerce platforms are positioned as Software-as-a-Service, can operate at scale, and are also for sale. Interestingly, there don't appear to be any large independent commerce operators left to buy — which means Adobe might be the only mega-platform that doesn't have an embedded commerce capability.”

Buytaert speculated both Salesforce and Demandware will likely spend a few challenging years on integrations as well as searching for the optimal CMS.

“Looking at the future of this market, I'd love to see new commerce platforms emerge with a modern microservices-based architecture and open source licensing. I believe there’s still huge opportunity for independent players, including Acquia, to help organizations build digital experiences faster with more flexibility and rapid innovation,” he added.

But its early days. According to one analyst, there is no rush for Salesforce to charge into a content management acquisition, especially given that Demandware has enterprise-level integration already.

“I know that Demandware and e-Spirit have been working together for a couple of years now — they both have headquarters in the greater Boston area, and e-Spirit this year has been investing a lot in growing its U.S. presence. But I’m not sure adding a CMS vendor has the same level of urgency for Salesforce as having a commerce platform did,” Jill Finger Gibson, principal analyst for New York City's Digital Clarity Group, said.