Sitecore Pulls It Together for Vegas Debut SYMNA
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Sitecore Pulls It Together for Vegas Debut #SYMNA

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Thumbnail image for 2014-27-August-Elvis.jpg
Often overshadowed by other marketing clouds, Sitecore will enjoy its dayin the Las Vegas sun next week when it unveils a major update to its customerexperience management platform.

Though it's not official, theCopenhagen-based company is likely to unveil version 8 at the SitecoreSymposium, which runs Monday through Wednesday.

The show's centerpiece is the just completed integration of CommerceServer.net into theSitecore platform. Sitecore, which bought the e-commerce engine last November,reports that the result is a platform that provides an analytics-driven, real time, personalized experience tocustomers across all channels. 

Moving Beyond Promises

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"The one key thing we're really going to be focusing on for both ourcustomers and prospects is that we've effectively brought together a single,connected platform that delivers on this promise," said Mark Floisand, vicepresident of product marketing, pictured, right. "People talk about it, but we builtit."

Among those who talk the loudest about that promise are Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce, all ofwhich market similar systems and plan product upgrades this fall. Sitecore's biggestchallenge may be to create a marketing buzz that rises abovethe competing din from both the big players and mid-tier niche players.

"They'd love to be compared to Adobe," said Scott Liewehr,president of DigitalClarity Group, which tracks vendors in the customer experience field. But hesaid Sitecore competes more often with the mid-range niche companies like Acquia,EPiServer and Marketo."I think they're facing more and more competitionnow," said Liewehr. "All these platforms are overlapping eachother."

In the end, that may not really matter, the analyst said, because mostcompanies are patching together their own clouds, using technologies from severalcompanies rather than relying on a single vendor. "The problem forSitecore is that nobody is using the entire stack," said Liewehr. "Itdoesn't matter if they're the first one to put the parts together. And, by theway, they're not." 

Customer  Trials

Through its Lighthouse program, the company recently invited select customers to see how wellCommerce Server has been wedded with the other features in Sitecore. The companythen asked some of those customers to share their experiences on the bigstage in Vegas.

In essence, the company has adapted its pre-existing API for Commerce Server andoptimized it to take advantage of Sitecore features. For example, if a shopper abandons a cart before checkout, Sitecore analyticslooks into that shopper's history for clues on what could close the sale. Ifthat suggests that the shopper would respond to a deepdiscount, a discount offer is sent.

Learning Opportunities

Philosophically, Floisand says Sitecore believes that analytics should be atool that helps to build a long-term relationship with customers rather thanjust close a sale. Sitecore's goal is to help its clientsmaximize revenue throughout the customer's lifetime journey.

"Most technology companies, at least from a marketing technology pointof view,  have beenlargely focused on selling to enterprises things to help them acquire morecustomers and convert them," said Floisand. "But there's relatively little attention to how to build on an ongoingcommunication with them based on the information you have about them."

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Sitecore's CX maturity model 

Watching Every Move

He said all of a customer's information should guide the ongoingcommunications that brands have with customers. "And our ability to connect and integratethat information into the experience database, and therefore use it to betterinform every interaction, is a large part of the business value around Sitecore,"Floisand said.

"Wetalk about engagement value as a single metric that is a way of unifying andbeing able to discern between the value of content in different channels,"he said. "Howone element of content performs in one channel over another, not just at a pagelevel, but at a content item level, wheresoever it is."  

The company also has a fresh view of testing. "Really, we're moving to a world where we testeverything by default," said Floisand. "So instead of tests being something you do on a routine,regular basis with a little discipline, they become part and parcel of how youpublish content." 

Title Image by Maridav / Shutterstock.

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