A Slimmer SDL Takes on the CXM Gorillas

Sometimes less is more, as SDL claimed yesterday when it chopped its customer experience (CX) suite down to four parts from seven while boasting it now has the only global-ready CX suite.

SDL's Customer Experience Cloud V2.0 consists of Digital Experience, Knowledge Center, Customer Analytics and Language.

The strategy, which was first reported by CMS Wire in mid-November, plays off SDL's products in language to distinguish the US- and UK-based firm from bigger competitors on both sides of the Atlantic.

The MarTech Jungle

"How are we going to come out in this very crowded marketplace with a message that sets us apart from Adobe, the 800-pound gorilla?," CMO Paige O'Neill asked rhetorically in the interview two months ago. "We've got a lot of competitors -- Sitecore on the web site, even Oracle and Salesforce in some areas."

CEO Mark Lancaster emphasized the language element in a statement, noting, "Our technology combines a rich expertise in language with a common data layer and the first context engine to simplify and unify the channels brands need to outperform competitors worldwide." 

The new four-part product is designed to stand apart from the growing clouds at the jumbo vendors. For SDL sales staff, it will be easier to explain. For customers, there's less to understand. And some products could be used across different departments within the same organization.

SDL blended three other products into the four remaining parts. Digital Platform, for example, includes web, campaigns and e-commerce tools. And Customer Analytics now includes both analytics and social media tools.

Knowledge Center, it said, creates "consistent brand journeys from marketing to a self-service post-sales experience." It said NetApp, Life Technologies and OSIsoft are already using the capabilities.

SDL's announcement quoted Kristen Kaefer, NetApp's senior director of digital marketing, as saying, "In a matter of seven weeks, we were able to do a global site resdesign that normally takes over nine months to complete." Keafer said the tools saved her company hundreds of development hours.

SDL's shares closed up 2 percent to 440.00p on the London Stock Exchange today after the news was released yesterday.

What's Next?

Back in November, O'Neill indicated SDL will increase it public relations budget in 2015, focusing on top-tier media outlets. She also said there will be a major push in advertising to build  the brand name.

In 2014, Gartner dropped SDL from the leaders square of its magic quadrant for web content management, demoting it to a challenger. Challengers, it said,  "execute well today or may dominate a large segment, but do not demonstrate an understanding of market direction."

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