The marketing technology sector seemed to burst back into life last January last year after the revelation that Sitecore had raised a $1.2B war chest.
That news injected new life into the marketing technology sector, which seemed to be drifting towards the kind of comfortable duopoly so often seen in technology verticals.
While much of the focus around Sitecore since has been on the companies it acquired, CEO Steve Tzikakis says many commentators are missing the key point ⁠— much more of that war chest has been committed to re-engineering the core platform to reflect contemporary technology practices such as microservices.
Time to change
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Sitecore CEO Steve Tzikakis, who joined the company just five months earlier told Digital Nation Australia in this exclusive Australian interview, “I was surprised myself to see how little innovation has happened in our space. If you think about it, Adobe, which was the big elephant in the industry, had invested a lot of money into monolithic aged, not even first generation cloud solutions.”
He said he believed Sitecore was in a position to leapfrog the market leader, and disrupt the market and go with a modern cloud solution built on open APIs and on a microservices platform, and headless commerce.
“And look at this, everybody is now talking about headless, everybody’s talking about the API economy, and everybody wants to see how much they can deliver with low code, which means microservices, aggregated solutions, it’s beautiful.”
He acknowledges that the Sitecore platform suffered from many of the same deficiencies as marketing clouds from companies like Adobe, Oracle and Salesforce.
If it quacks like a duck
“We were a first generation cloud provider ourselves. And the problem was that it looks and feels like cloud, it’s on Kubernetes. You can have AI around it, and so on and so forth. But it’s not open APIs. It’s not based on microservices, we were also headless. But it was a monolithic platform, versus the composable architecture we have today.”
Sitecore’s new approach speaks to what its enterprise and mid-tier customers say they want.
“The customer says, I don’t want to have to digest a big suite. The approach of SAP, Oracle and others is behind us. We recognise that customers have assets in their stack that may be doing their job. Yes, they may not be modern, but they’re doing a good job. And they may have other requirements. So we’re saying we don’t have one suite, we have 12, beautiful solutions, you can take three, six, nine or 12, they’re all integrated, and they can easily integrate with other cloud solutions.”
The composability and flexibility of the solution allows customers to move at the pace that works for them, he says.
“They can be very slow around their business through business requirements, as opposed to the restrictions that our own platform has, and give them another hurdle to have to jump. I think that was liberating for most of the customers that we speak to.”
The two-horse myth
Tzikakis bristles a little at the suggestion that martech had settled into a two-horse race between Adobe which he sees as a key competitor and Salesforce which he is careful to label a partner.
“I’m not sure that all the focus is, for instance, on Adobe. As a matter of fact, they’ve been performing poorly. Their creative cloud is good. In the experience space, we have an amazing track record. As a matter of fact, most of our new clients come from abandoned Adobe projects.”
“They’re a public company, so their growth rates are out there. They have nothing to do with our growth rates. They’re not even in the same postcode. So we feel we’re winning market share.”
By contrast, he claims Salesforce is not a competitor, at least not in the same sense
“Salesforce is not a competitor to us, [it] is a partner to us. There’s a little bit of an overlap. But we have our own swim lanes. Many, actually most of Salesforce’s clients that use Salesforce’s  marketing cloud, look at us for their CMS, for experimentation and personalisation.” 
During the rapid expansion of the marketing tech sector in the middle of the last decade, the marketing cloud providers gave the impression they wanted to control every touch point between a customer and a brand. But that came unglued, with adtech, in particular, proving a bridge too far. So we asked Tzikakis to define the extent of Sitecore’s ambition.
“We’re super committed to the content experience and commerce, the true definition of digital experience. And we believe that there’s huge capacity for further growth. We’ve overcome the challenge of architecture,” he said.
“We feel that the martech world will go through a renewal. We are obviously first-mover. Our clients and prospects are benefiting from that and [so are] our partners.”


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