MACH and composable, and the technology that powers the terms, have reshaped the digital marketplace's perception of what is "best-of-breed." It is no longer good enough to have a feature-rich product integrated with other systems that can do some things very well and not others. (MACH stands for microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native and headless).

Companies are looking to scale quicker, limit product lock-in, reduce overall cloud spend and decrease the time to market with the necessary pinpoint capabilities. Several product requirements have shifted in priority to meet these needs, coming to the forefront of a decision-maker's mindset: SaaS, microservices, nimble development, cloud-native, scalability and many others. Newer and smaller entrants in the space are seeing a renaissance while the mainstream leaders of the traditional analyst reports are competing to stay in the hunt.

Ecommerce Competition Heats Up

The pandemic has highlighted one area of intense competition: ecommerce, which has changed drastically in the last two years. Being forced to buy online instead of visiting brick and mortar stores has affected traditional retail and hastened the plodding pace of B2B moving online.

According to Gartner's Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Vision 2022, websites will account for 37% of B2B procuring in 2023. A Chief Martec survey exploring organizational plans to buy martech tools in the next 12 months aligns closely with Gartner's point of view. Purchasing a digital commerce platform is number one by nine points, at 43%:

(The Martech Report 2021/22)

Sitecore's History With Ecommerce

Now, we're going to explore one vendor's trajectory in the arena of ecommerce and beyond. Acting quickly to leverage its significant 1.2 billion investment, Sitecore acquired a B2B commerce engine OrderCloud, now called Sitecore Commerce. It met and exceeded all new requirements, especially when integrated with the rest of Sitecore's expanding product portfolio and vision.

Before its acquisition by Sitecore, Four51 was a member of the MACH Alliance. Its product OrderCloud was a B2B sapphire in the collection of future-ready technologies that are already MACH Alliance members.

Sitecore's history with ecommerce has been fraught with questionable choices, and these decisions marked the shift in leadership and organizational direction. In 2012 they purchased the SMITH subsidiary (SMITH, which had acquired Microsoft Commerce Server in 2011, was a rebrand of Ascentium) and then released it as Sitecore Commerce Server in 2014. It was not well received, and Sitecore partners struggled to sell and implement it. Over the next several years, Sitecore rebuilt the commerce platform, rewriting and removing much of the commerce server product. It was still not quite what the market was looking for, and customer adoption remained stunted.

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: What's Behind Sitecore's New Cloud-Native CMS Launch?

What Four51 Did for Sitecore's Trajectory

The Four51 acquisition immediately changed the opportunity footprint that Sitecore provides. Sitecore's excellent DXP now has a market-friendly commerce engine to build end-to-end experiences in the commerce space for both B2C and B2B (or, as Sitecore calls it, B2X). The remaining roadblock is integrating those products. The market response was positive, with Sitecore partners diving in to enable themselves on the new products while asking how this particular acquisition fits into the overall roadmap.

Sitecore waded into a pool of fierce competition with OrderCloud. In the MACH space, it's going head-to-head against other commerce engines that have a long list of pre-built integrations and who already claim the moniker of "best-of-breed." Add to that competition from traditional rivals, like Adobe and Salesforce, and Sitecore must pave a path forward that denotes market differentiators and increased business value.

Related Article: What's Behind Sitecore's Avalanche of Acquisitions in 2021?

New Era for Sitecore?

A series of acquisitions have begun to shape Sitecore CEO Steve Tzikakis's vision of a new era at Sitecore. Identifying a series of changes, such as a faster innovation engine, customer-centric success measurements and a revised set of priorities, Tzikakis has set the tone for future growth, with the rest of the leadership executing quickly. With additional acquisitions, like Boxever and Reflektion, Sitecore has already made itself felt in areas it had not competed in before. 

There are a few questions that remain. Of those, the most important is whether or not the marketplace will give Sitecore's new products a chance or will they only see Sitecore as it has existed in the past: monolithic.