End-to-end digital experience platform Sitecore announced a series of product developments this week, as well as survey findings about the releance of the metaverse to brands. The announcements came in Chicago as Sitecore Symposium returned to in-person for the first time since 2019. In addition to over 2,000 attendees at Chicago’s McCormick place, the digital experience platform said around 10,000 were attending online.
The future is composable
Although the overt theme of Symposium was “Meet every moment” — highlighting the challenge of engaging customers with immediately relevant content at each moment of their journey — the constantly reinforced message from a technology perspective was composability.
While some vendors feel the tension between trying to sell a complete platform to customers and allowing them to pick the components they need to complete their stacks, Sitecore is evidently all-in on composability; the proposition, as Chief Product Officer Dave O’Flanagan put it, that customers should be allowed to assemble “a stack as unique as their business.” This may mean one or 10 Sitecore products in the DX stack, but connections to as many as other third-party vendor products as needed.
“We are on a mission to redefine this category with our composable DXP,” said O’Flanagan. Sitecore thus boasts, not just an end-to-end suite of DXP components, but an end-to-end suite of composable products — and it claims to be the only vendor in its space with that specific offering.
This does not mean, however, that Sitecore does not want to be the center, hub, or indeed core of the stack. Sitecore Cloud Portal offers an opportunity for administrators to manage the stack — including permissions, product access and payments. What’s notable is that the Portal allows the management not just of the Sitecore modules, but also third-party products in the stack (a demo slide showed Salesforce and Marketo, for example).
Introducing three new products
Sitecore announced the addition of three new modules to its product portfolio: Sitecore Search, Sitecore Connect and Content Hub One.
This is an AI-driven and personalized search engine, capable of searching content beyond just text. It will predict relevant search results (using autocomplete) and promote content based either on the customer’s behavior and search needs or business objectives.
As a plug-and-play solution it can be deployed on a website within hours. Marketing teams, said O’Flanagan, can manage the search experience without technical knowledge. On the composability theme again Search can be deployed to index any CMS, Sitecore or not.
Emphasizing the composability of its product offering, Sitecore Connect, developed in partnership with Workato, is aimed at allowing brands to integrate Sitecore products with existing solutions within the martech stack. It promises a low/no code drag-and-drop UI. It expects to offer more than 1,000 connectors.
O’Flanagan readily admits that building a unique, composed stack, rather than adopting a monolithic suite, can introduce complexity. Connect aims to “solve some of the integration ‘tax’ of the composable DXP,” he said.
Content Hub One
Content Hub, Sitecore’s existing CMS solution, enables content planning, creation, production and managment within a single collaborative system. Content Hub One is an agile, headless iteration of Content Hub, available to brands wanting to deploy a holistic content strategy across a wide range of channels: web, mobile, smart screen displays, voice assistants, etc.
The offering envisages developers building front-ends for content delivery while marketers work in parallel to create the content.
Sitecore also said it was improving editing interfaces and testing capabilities within the Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) Cloud which offers Sitecore’s core CMS, along with other capabilities, as a native cloud product. (SItec’s traditional Platform DXP will continue to be available on private cloud with a subscription.
Consumers are ready for the metaverse
Sitecore also unveiled research at Symposium suggesting that consumer expectations for metaverse-type experiences are growing, even as the metaverse itself is still in the early stages of development.
- Perhaps surprisingly, almost 90% of consumers believe the metaverse will be important to the way they shop and interact with brands.
- Almost 80% expect to spend more time in the metaverse than on social media apps.
- Around 70% of marketers expect to develop metaverse-like experiences in 2023.
- Of those, around half anticipate devoting 10-25% of their marketing budget to those experiences.
The data was based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 18-70, and jus over 300 brand marketers.
Accenture partnership enhanced
Sitecore also announced an extension of its partnership with Accenture. Accenture, in part through its majority owned consultancy Avanade, has a long history of working with SItecore implementations and collaborations.
Sitecore will become a member of Accenture’s relative exclusive strategic platform group
A fast pace
In 2020, when he joined Sitecore as CEO, Steve Tzikakis outlined his vision to MarTech: “We now need to become a ‘billion-dollar company.’ That’s not so much a financial objective, it’s more a behavioral change. The pace with which we release products, the integration of our products, the level of service we provide to our customers, how we operate with our partners and taking advantage of our biggest asset, our own employees.”
Product releases are coming at a fast pace and attention is being paid to integration through the Connect offering. It will be interesting to see the extent to which the bet on composability pays off.