Industry Insights

Sitecore’s CTO & SVP on Stylelabs Acquisition at Symposium 2018

At the beginning of this month, you may remember the roundup piece that I published of our key takeaways from this year’s Sitecore Symposium 2018. To give our readers a sneak peek into the captivating conversations we seized directly from the event floor at Sitecore Symposium 2018, I decided that today is the day that I begin sharing some of those conversations with you! This article includes the exclusive video interviews with Sitecore’s two seasoned executives, Ryan Donovan, Chief Technology Officer at Sitecore and Faraaz Khan SVP of Corporate Strategy & Development at Sitecore that Laura Myers and I filmed at the event as well as my commentary on both interviews.    

The most exciting topic of conversation with both executives was surrounding Sitecore's acquisition of Stylelabs which made for a big announcement in Sitecore CEO Mark Frost's keynote kicking off the conference. The partnership is said to help“marketing teams own the entire content lifecycle and understand the impact of specific content assets on individual customers’ behavior.” Stylelabs Digital asset management (DAM), marketing resource management (MRM), and product information management (PIM) applications enable Sitecore Experience Cloud marketing departments to create and optimize the volume of assets needed to treat customers as individuals. In turn, businesses can provide the right information, products, and services right when the customer needs them by building engagement, trust, loyalty, and lifetime value.

Sitecore Lets Marketers Own the Entire Content Lifecycle


Our very first interview kicked off with Ryan Donovan, Chief Technology Officer at Sitecore who was very excited to not only discuss one of the biggest acquisitions in Sitecore's history to date, but he also mentions the release of Sitecore v9.1. The new version has a lot of exciting new features to offer, as well as refinements and enhancements to existing functionality. To start things off, Ryan says that v9.1 delivers the next level of incremental value to the customer and highlights the biggest features being Sitecore’s JSS that enables developers to use JavaScript services and allows Javascript developers to create Sitecore experiences with all of the features available to .NET developers.

The second halo feature is Sitecore Cortex™which is the “foundational technology for machine learning on top of the Sitecore platform” says Ryan. Sitecore’s Omni™ enables design and delivery of content in a headless application while maintaining the ability to personalize data with additional intuitive powerful machine learning capabilities via Sitecore Cortex™. Ryan lists the three key features of Cortex is “to help marketers be more productive” automating the creation of personalization rules, automatically generating content tags “which is essential to good SEO story as well as to properly taxonomize content for personalization purposes” and the third is helping to identify conversion rate optimization.

On that note, the acquisition of Stylelabs was something that really puts content effectiveness into perspective. “Looking to really let marketers own the entire content lifecycle end to end” said Ryan. Ryan also brought up that “one of the biggest customer pain points is the process of actually creating the content they have to deliver and if they want to leverage personalization they need to have just that much content in the first place to deliver.” This will really give marketers the “first class tool set”.

The acquisition is quite significant since we are seeing a ton of consolidation in the market but in different directions. “Adobe has just recently gone on a massive shopping spree with Marketo and Magento and now everyone’s going to be thinking about okay, what does this actually mean and how are all these technologies going to come together?” Ryan adds.

Helping Marketers in all Parts of Their Workflow


Out next conversation was with Faraaz Khan SVP of Corporate Strategy & Development at Sitecore who we were very excited to speak with for the first time.

Since we were able to hear about the announcement of Sitecore acquiring Stylelabs firsthand in Mark Frost's opening keynote that morning, we were curious to hear what it was about Stylelabs that made it a good fit for Sitecore. “As we looked at other DAM vendors out there it was one of the more innovative companies that we saw” said Faraaz. Another key element was that they were able to get DAM, MRM, and PIM capabilities all in one platform. On the other hand, looking at it from a technology perspective, Stylelabs is built on a .NET framework so that capability alone really works nicely with Microsoft Azure as Faaraz mentions. It’s basically a “better experience for customers and faster integration on our side” he added.

As for the Sitecore community as a whole, this acquisition really allows Sitecore to help marketers in all parts of their workflow. As for customers, it really helps them get involved with the setup of their content strategy; helping to curate their content with deeper content management capabilities. “In terms of content types, meta data tagging, digital rights management, and then offer up analytics all across that lifecyle as well what it means for a marketer if they have more visibility into what content is performing better and it allows them to operate a lot more efficiently as well then they did otherwise” said Faraaz.

Ending Notes

“I am thrilled to welcome the entire Stylelabs team to the Sitecore family,” said Mark Frost, CEO of Sitecore in an announcement. “Companies thrive by exceeding their customers’ expectations. Together, Sitecore and Stylelabs will be the only company that can deliver functionality spanning the entire content lifecycle, from planning to publishing to delivering rich, relevant experiences tailored to customer needs. We’re providing the best end-to-end digital marketing solution in the world to help CMOs and their teams realize the power of content as their most valuable asset to build life-long customer relationships.” 
In the upcoming weeks, you will have a chance to tune in to all of the insights and inspiration that myself and my colleague Laura Myers captured from Sitecore executives and integration partners as we will be sharing many more of those exclusive interviews here on CMS-Connected, so stay tuned!

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella Pirrone

Gabriella is the Digital Marketing Assistant for CMSC Media. She brings a wealth of knowledge from not only a CMS perspective but also content, SEO and eCommerce. She enjoys everything social media and staying ontop of the latest trends in the digital marketing world. 

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