Sitecore Acquires Commerceserver.net to Extend .NET CXM Play

G00259584

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Summary

Sitecore's acquisition lays the foundation for a .NET-based, enterprise-grade content management platform with a native, integrated e-commerce engine.

News Analysis

Event

On 20 November 2013, Sitecore announced that it acquired commerceserver.net for an undisclosed sum from Smith (formerly Ascentium), a Sitecore Partner. Sitecore will take responsibility and ownership to develop, market and sell Commerce Server (a former Microsoft product) as well as provide extended support to existing Commerce Server 2009 clients.

Analysis

Gartner anticipates that Sitecore’s acquisition will provide a stronger development focus for Commerce Server X, integrate with Sitecore’s enterprise-class .NET based content management system (CMS) and improve the viability of its e-commerce offerings. Sitecore was a Leader in the 2013 Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management and brings strong customer experience management, user experience, analytics and search capabilities to complement Commerce Server X capabilities.

The deal will fill a growing gap in the e-commerce solution market, offering a strong enterprise-class, .NET-based CMS and e-commerce suite from a single vendor. This will increase choice for Microsoft platform customers and help drive product development to compete against Java-based solutions.

The acquisition is intended to help Sitecore acquire additional customers by selling into a large Commerce Server installed base, provided Sitecore can integrate the two offerings and make them relevant to current digital commerce market needs. Sitecore will also compete using more resources and a broader partner and global presence against smaller .NET-based solutions such as InSite Commerce and Znode.

Sitecore stated it plans to upgrade around 700 existing customers out of 1,700 active customers using Commerce Server 2009 or earlier versions, for which standard Microsoft support expires in July 2014. Commerceserver.net was successful in upgrading approximately 60 customers since July 2012.

Sitecore will now be competing directly against its former OEM partners such as InSite Commerce, and this could trigger a consolidation and alignment between CMS, user experience and e-commerce vendors. Legacy Microsoft Commerce Server users who have customized their solution heavily will find upgrading to be a more complicated process, although improved functionality is an attractive factor. There may also be licensing issues between Microsoft and Sitecore, with rationalization required, depending on previous enterprise agreements.

Recommendations

  • New customers looking for a .NET-based solution: Evaluate Sitecore's integrated offering along with other .NET-based e-commerce solutions.

  • Existing customers on Commerce Server 2009 and earlier: Evaluate and upgrade to Sitecore's integrated offering, due to be released in 1H14. However, you should compare functionality and upgrade investments against migrating to a Java-based solution.

  • Customers that have upgraded to commerceserver.net license: Discuss the product road map and upgrade path for the upcoming version.

  • New customers open to .NET- or Java-based solutions: Compare commerceserver.net against other Java-based solutions and assess the extra development required.

  • Existing Sitecore clients using third-party e-commerce solutions: Continue on your platform, and evaluate the new platform's capabilities against your existing solution.

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