Major Acquisitions by Acquia, Episerver, Terminus

Last week, the open source CMS and digital experience platform Acquia announced it would acquire the high profile AI-driven CDP AgilOne for an undisclosed sum.

In my coverage of last month’s Acquia Engage conference, I explained how Acquia had rationalized its offerings across three clouds: Marketing Cloud, Content cloud, and Drupal cloud (Acquia’s offerings are based around that powerful open source CMS). The marketing cloud also encompasses an open source marketing automation solution Mautic acquired earlier this year, with its orchestration layer known as Mautic Maestro. The missing link, which wasn’t ready for public unveiling at the conference, was the data layer, which AgilOne will now provide. Omer Artun, founder and CEO of AgilOne, and a pioneer of AI for enterprises, has joined Acquia as Chief Science Officer.

Although it’s early days, I checked in with Acquia’s VP of product, Steve Schult, to get a sense of how AgilOne fits Acquia’s strategy.

“We acquired [Mautic and Maestro] earlier this year to help progress us to this open digital experience platform vision,” he said, “specifically driving one to one customer experience across any digital channel. AgilOne are one of the pioneers of the CDP industry with AI capabilities that can expand our platform, helping us to provide enhanced personalization, segmentation, automation, and integration. You can look at this as providing the data intelligence layer that our customers will need. We expect this to make us really competitive for any customer looking for a digital experience platform.”

AgilOne’s fit for marketing cloud is clear, but will it also be used to drive recommendations in Content Cloud? “It won’t have direct relevance today, but long term you can absolutely see this machine learning capability expanding to include content recommendations based on content customers have created in Content Cloud,” said Schult. “When you look at marketing systems today, you look at a siloed environment. You have your CRM, email, social, web, with their own data layer, their own content layer, their own delivery capabilities. We look at the long-term capabilities of AgilOne as being able to be that unified data layer, understanding who the customer is, and what the next best action is.”

Short-term, AgilOne will be used to power Mautic’s email segmentation capabilities. Further down the road, AgilOne will support Acquia’s personalization engine, Lift, to bring relevant experiences to customers across channels. As for AgilOne’s existing integrations with marketing automation solutions other than Mautic, “we don’t expect that to change,” said Schult.

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Another bold move in the digital experience space, announced yesterday, is the agreement to acquire the B2B digital commerce solution Insite Software by Episerver. This is the second major acquisition announced by Episerver in a matter of weeks, the last being the pick-up of the B2B personalized engagement engine Idio. It also follows hard on the heels of this month’s news that Alex Atzberger, formerly President of SAP CX, has been appointed Episerver CEO.

The Idio and Insite acquistions mark a significant investment in the B2B market by a vendor already strongly represented in eCommerce and retail. Insite Software, architected for manufacturers and distributors, brings a fully integrated B2B eCommerce platform, product information management, analytics, and mobile and product catalog offerings, as well as ERP integrations.

Atzberger comes to Episerver after almost a decade at SAP, where he served as chief of staff to recently departed CEO Bill McDermott, as president of SAP Ariba, and most recently as president of the customer experience offering. In that role, he oversaw a rapid evolution of the eCommerce capabilities of what was once SAP Hybris into the broader C/4 HANA customer and digital experience platform.

These moves seem to confirm the expressed intention of Episerver owners Insight Venture Partners to accelerate the Episerver product roadmap.

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There’s acceleration at ABM platform Terminus too, which appointed executive chairman Tim Kopp to the CEO role last week, and today announced the acquisition of email signature marketing platform Sigstr.

I covered Sigstr when, as a “small start-up,” it made its Dreamforce debut in 2017. It stood out from the countless other vendors present by announcing the discovery of a new marketing channel: the email signature space. Not only was this a large channel, with billions of emails sent every year; it also, by definition, represents 1:1 personal engagement. Sigstr founder and CEO Brian Wade joins the Terminus executive team.

Sigstr generates engagement data, which Terminus plans to use to enrich existing intent data, in addition to opening a new channel for engaging buyers at target accounts.

Tim Kopp has been an investor and board member at Sigstr, as well as other brands. He spent six years as CMO at ExactTarget, en route to its $2.7 billion acquisition by Salesforce.

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