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Sitecore, a provider of digital experience management software, this week announced it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire Boxever, whose customer data platform (CDP) is accessed via the cloud, and Four51, which offers an ecommerce platform invoked using application programming interfaces (APIs).
Terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed, but they are both being funded by a $1.2 billion investment strategy the company revealed last month.
Sitecore is best known for providing an integrated content and digital asset management platform infused with AI capabilities that enterprises employ to personalize engagements with customers online. The two acquisitions will extend the scope of the Sitecore portfolio to include complementary ecommerce and CDP platforms at a time when organizations are investing heavily in digital business transformation initiatives, Sitecore CEO Steve Tzikakis said.
Most of those initiatives revolve around corporate websites organizations are now employing to engage with their end customers more directly, Tzikakis said. The Sitecore offerings are designed around a modern microservices-based architecture that makes it simpler for enterprise IT teams to mix and match headless services residing on the Sitecore backend platform, he noted.
Rather than requiring IT teams to integrate an array of backend services, the goal is to provide a modular set of backend services that share a common set of APIs, Tzikakis said. The CDP from Boxever is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform designed from the ground up to be integrated with web applications, he added. In contrast, rival providers of CDPs — such as Salesforce and SAP — are making available CDPs that are extensions of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, respectively, but are not integrated with the websites driving digital engagements with customers, Tzikakis said.
Sitecore currently has about 4,000 customers — spanning a wide range of verticals — 1,000 of them Fortune 1000 organizations. While companies that sell directly to consumers have historically invested in websites and associated applications, Tzikakis said in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic many organizations that sold business-to-business (B2B) are now also trying to establish online relationships with downstream end customers.
Instead of having to invest in AI capabilities on their own, many of those organizations are leveraging the investments Sitecore made to surface the right content at the right time for any given customer, Tzikakis said. For all the hype surrounding digital business transformation these days, he noted most organizations still struggle to provide customers with an online experience that is specifically tailored to their interests, no matter how many times someone has visited their website. This is largely because organizations are unable to surface that content at the right time, Tzikakis added.
Naturally, Sitecore views Boxever and Four51 as linchpins in an evolving strategy for addressing digital business transformation initiatives that ideally should start with the customer rather than as a backend process. As more customers rely on the internet to purchase goods and services, the need for organizations to create more compelling content that enables them to better differentiate themselves will only increase.
The challenge is that many organizations are still operating in the Web 2.0 era. End customers, however, now expect an online multimedia experience that piques their interest without unnecessarily compromising their privacy. They may one day opt in to establish a deeper relationship, but until they do, the onus for inferring what content to surface when, based on all the available metrics, is on the vendor.
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