Sitecore finally got its DAM. In the latest example of the convergence and consolidation in the digital experience market, Sitecore bought DAM vendor Stylelabs. The addition of DAM to the Sitecore portfolio (dubbed the “Experience Platform”) — which started with web CMS, then progressed to eCommerce and customer profile management — means that Sitecore has a stronger “omnichannel” story, albeit with some redundant capabilities.
The acquisition illustrates key trends in the digital experience space, including:
- The importance of the upstream creative process. The upstream creative process includes kicking off content projects, assigning tasks, review and approval, and integration with creative tool sets. With this acquisition, Sitecore places emphasis on more than the delivery of experiences: the creation of them.
- Forrester view: The sad truth for most web CMS solutions is that they ingest content after creation for delivery. While DAM was not always associated with upstream creative processes, Stylelabs should help the Sitecore portfolio evolve to manage upstream activities and get stickier with marketing. Together, marketing planning and collaboration activities should integrate into marketing automation capabilities or partnerships (e.g., Salesforce Marketing Cloud).
- A connected content life cycle, including analytics, leads to intelligence and automation. By tracking assets from conceptualization to activation, brands will better understand content performance. Only 12% of marketers have optimized their use of analytics to understand marketing success, according to the Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics® Marketing Survey, 2017. That leaves lots of room for improvement. With the addition of DAM to web CMS, brands will now be able to track an asset’s life cycle and fold insights back into content creation.
- Forrester view: While Sitecore has already begun some elements of auto-tagging (i.e., the Open Calais partnership), the tracking of content performance via xDB, and round-tripping insights into the authoring experience, these features are far from robust. Now, with the addition of Stylelabs, the in-scope content life cycle starts much earlier, and Sitecore will need even more insight to help marketers intelligently optimize and automate its content supply chain.
- Preferences to full suites versus point solutions. Most DAM vendors offer more than just DAM. In our recent Forrester Wave™ on DAM, the leaders (Adobe, Aprimo, and OpenText) offer a suite of capabilities and expertise in adjacent digital experience technologies. By offering multiple DX technologies, each platform vendor promises to make it easier for customers to buy, integrate, and deploy these technologies from a one-stop shop. Ironically, our data shows that clients have long since downgraded “buying from a single vendor” and “best-of-breed” priorities for the leading priority, “ease of integration across front-office capabilities,” which has led by a wide margin over the past three years.
- Forrester view: Sitecore has some work to do here, but given its Data Exchange Framework and xDB for back-end aggregation of content and front-end tracking of content performance, respectively, it should be a relatively straightforward integration.
Overall, this is not a game-changer for Sitecore. However, given the maturation of the DX platform landscape and limited possibilities for an outright acquisition of Sitecore by a larger competitor due to competing offerings (i.e., eCommerce), Sitecore’s second acquisition may not be its last. An acquisitive strategy for Sitecore, especially in the midmarket, fits with a bid to — once again — compete in a more head-to-head fashion against Adobe and, more specifically, Episerver, which has eaten (some of) its lunch in the midmarket over the past two years.
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