Last month I had the privilege of representing Branded3 at the first UK Sitecore Partner Advisory Council (PAC). Sitecore is an organisation that is built around its partner network; this is the main channel for delivery of the Sitecore product into clients, therefore setting up the PAC shows a clear commitment to partners, understanding their needs and also gathering customer insight and information direct form the people who are using the software.
The PAC is made up of 13 of the top Sitecore partners in the UK, each offering their own expertise in terms of scale, number of solutions delivered and strategic approach to the platform delivery. Between them, the PAC actually makes up 20% of the current Sitecore UK market, so is a very representative view of the customer base. The current council partners are shown in the image below.
The day was led by Sitecore senior team members Maged Fahmy, EMEA Director Partners and Alliances, and Simon Etherington, UK Managing Director. They both gave a very engaging introduction to the day and allowed the partners to introduce themselves and outline what they were looking to get from participating in the council. Personally I was there to learn more about the long term vision of Sitecore, how Branded3 can be a part of the growing market and to also get a feel for how other agencies work as part of the Sitecore eco-system.
We started the session by looking at the current market place in terms of Sitecore and its competitors. In EMEA, the top ones that we come up against are EpiServer, Umbraco, Adobe, Kentico and Drupal. It was exciting to see that there is some very real and very large demand being generated around Sitecore due to its position in the market. Widely respected industry analysts such as Gartner and Forrester have really tuned into the value of the platform as a whole and we are seeing Sitecore appear in more topics than just the typical Web Content management System (WCMS) group, such as Marketing Automation and Optimisation.
One topic that came up a few times was the potential offering of Sitecore as a Software as a Service (SaaS). Whilst it’s not something that is currently available, it is something that is on the roadmap and very much in the front of the team’s mind – how it can support a truly cloud-based offering with a pricing model to match. That said, the current cloud offering is still very attractive and cloud based environments such as Microsoft Azure can be leveraged to deliver scalability and performance with a utilisation-based license model – it can make for a very compelling business case.
We took a look at the Sitecore Commerce product in a bit more detail alongside the Print Experience Manager – both products can be installed natively into the platform and be combined to deliver an engaging multi-channel experience. The two products are maturing very rapidly in terms of features; giving Sitecore an edge over platforms such as Adobe where these services often come as a bolt-on and are actually two completely separate systems rather than a single unified platform.
We wrapped up the day by looking at some of the resources available to partners from Sitecore, these include the developer network and a new portal code-named “the hub” that can provide us with large depths of valuable content such as case studies, whitepapers and the Sitecore ROI calculator.
Of course a lot more went on during the day than I’ve described here but as a PAC member I am sworn to secrecy
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and look forward to being more involved, Sitecore is certainly a platform that I believe in and I am looking forward to delivering more Sitecore solutions.