SDL's Acquisition of Alterian: Get the Details

4 minute read
Barb Mosher Zinck avatar

So SDL officially announced the completion its acquisition of Alterian, a provider of web engagement management solutions. But the details were very light. We change that right now.

The SDL Divisions Grow

So let's start with a few basics. With the acquisition of Alterian, SDL has added two new divisions to its fold. Now along with its Web Content Management, Language Services, Language Technologies and Structured Content Technologies divisions, there are now the following divisions:

  • Social Media Intelligence
  • Campaign Management & Analytics

The Social Media Intelligence Division will be run by Alterian's John Song and the Campaign Management & Analytics Division will be run by Alterian's Bob Hale. Both Hale and Song will report directly to John Hunter, SDL's CEO.

As for Alterian Content Manager, the product and its team will be rolled under the Web Content Management Division to exist with SDL's own WCM: Tridion.

For now, according to Bob Hale, CEO SDL Campaign Management & Analytics and Sophie Hurst, VP Corporate Marketing for SDL, all products will continue as is. SDL is even increasing its investment. Point to note here: as you can see by Bob's title, the Alterian brand will be replaced by the SDL.

Sophie Hurst, VP Corporate Marketing for SDL, blogged about the acquisition and had this to say:

We in marketing need to understand the success of any marketing campaignthat is done and if we don't, we can't improve, tweak and personalisealong the way.We will be talking more about this in the coming months,but today's acquisition of Alterian shows how importantly we rate thisinformation and analysis for driving global business and brand equity.

I did ask Hale, why Alterian turned down the acquisition offer initially. He indicated that it was really about the price offered and that Alterian's board felt it was worth more. SDL must have agreed, because they came back with a stronger offer and Alterian accepted.

Can It Be That Simple?

Well, according to Hale, it was very beneficial that Alterian went through its own restructuring just prior to the acquisition. At that time, Alterian was reorganizing its product line and teams under a similar model, so the divisions are really just rolling into SDL as is along with the current business plans.

Learning Opportunities

Now, I did ask what would become of Alterian Content Manager. Hale indicated that a new release of the Web CMS (7.1) is slated to come out soon. So for now, the two WCM products will operate separately, as is. However, Hurst indicated that at some point the future SDL would look at integrating the best of both into a single offering.

Also of interest was Alterian's own textual analytics and natural language processing capabilities. But as Hale pointed out, these were within the scope of social and not the same as SDL's broader capabilities.

Finally, Hale said that the Alterian product lines will benefit greatly from SDL's formal development process. So we should be seeing more updates coming out on these products soon.

Is the CXM Suite Complete?

It's always a good question to ask, "so do you have it all now, are you done?" Hurst's response was that SDL is always looking to improve on their customer experience capabilities, always trying to provide those capabilities that support the customer. I took that as a no.

Alterian adds to SDL's CXM package much needed analytics and insights, to help with listening, analyzing, predicting and understanding customer needs. Alterian's focus on the marketing department also slides in nicely with SDL's primary focus.

Finally, with all these separate divisions, there will be integration work to be done. Most organizations focused on CXM strategies are looking for a combination of these tools. Alterian does have the integration experience with its own Web CMS, now it has to add Tridion to the list. It's always fun when products come together.

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