SDL looks to battle Oracle, Salesforce.com in 'customer experience'

SDL's Customer Experience Cloud combines Web content management, social analytics and more

Customer experience has emerged as one of the enterprise software industry's hotter segments of late, as companies try to run marketing, sales and support across both traditional and digital channels.

While Salesforce.com, Oracle and other large vendors have generated headlines for their moves into customer experience, SDL is hoping to present itself as an independent alternative with a newly launched product suite.

The SDL Customer Experience Cloud brings together Web content management, campaign management, social analytics, e-commerce, language translation services and documentation, with a unified user interface, according to a company announcement Monday. The suite is the result of several years of work, according to SDL.

All SDL products will be available in SaaS (software as a service) form, receiving updates on a quarterly basis, SDL said.

As part of the launch, SDL has also made a series of new executive hires over the past six months, including the appointment of Jan Wiersma as head of cloud operations, according to a statement.

SDL counts more than 1,500 global companies among its customers, including Chrysler, Canon and Bosch.

To build out its customer experience suite, SDL has invested in recent years in acquisitions and "a considerable amount of R&D," CEO Mark Lancaster said in an interview. "We think are quite significantly ahead of the competition in terms of integrated technology."

Among SDL's acquisitions are Tridion, for Web content management; Language Weaver, for machine translation; Alterian, for campaign management and marketing analytics; and Bemoko, for mobile content delivery. SDL expects to have roughly £266 million (US$440 million) in revenue for 2013, and has more than 1,500 customers.

What SDL lacks in contrast to Oracle or Salesforce.com, however, is a core CRM (customer relationship management) application.

It's not necessary for SDL to get into CRM, Lancaster said. "We're not interested in being a big database with all your customers inside it. That database is not going to solve your customer engagement problem."

Companies gearing up to invest in customer experience software should consider offerings from platform vendors such as Oracle as well as specialized players like SDL, according to analyst Ray Wang, founder and chairman of Constellation Research. "Most [customer experience] projects tend to get replaced in three to four-year cycles, so I'd say it's a minimal risk" to go with a smaller vendor, he said. "What you are looking for in this space is flexibility and functionality today."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Cannes Part 1: Why brands must put human interactions at the heart of their business

As a Media Juror at this year’s Cannes Lions, I was fortunate enough to attend the world’s most influential festival of creativity and listen to thought-leading marketers from around the globe.

Nickie Scriven

CEO, Zenith

4 creative skills that will be useful forever

In recent times, the clarion call from futurists, economists, marketers, educators and leaders the world over is one of slight panic, “The world is changing and you’re not ready for it!” And of course, they make a very good point.

Kieran Flanagan and Dan Gregory

Speakers, trainers, co-authors

Why defining brand strategy is vital to capitalising on quick wins

Big brands were once protected from small brands by high barriers to entry. Big brands had the resources to employ big agencies, to crack big ideas and to invest in big campaigns. They had the luxury of time to debate strategies and work on long-term innovation pipelines. Retailers used to partner with big brands.

Troy McKinnna

Co-founder, Agents of Spring, Calm & Stormy

Being an investor who has an understanding of the finance industry, I would question the validity of this article, judging by the impairm...

Rowan

How a customer-led digital transformation has helped this CMO generate $6m in incremental business

Read more

An interesting update considering that today is the easiest way it has ever been to measure contribution to the business as well as the h...

Frederic

State of the CMO 2019: Tenure shortens, pressure is on as marketers strive to demonstrate impact

Read more

I thought this was what Salesforce Audience Studio (formerly Salesforce DMP) was supposed to do. How are a CDP and a DMP different? I'm c...

Tony Ahn

Salesforce announces customer data platform

Read more

Well written Vanessa!! Agreed with your view that human experience is marketing's next frontier. Those businesses who are focused on the ...

Clyde Griffith

Forget customer experience, human experience is marketing's next frontier

Read more

Great tips for tops skills need to develop and stay competitive

Nick

The top skills needed to stay competitive in a rapidly changing workforce

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in