Alex Atzberger, CEO of Episerver, was thinking about the future, with the launch of Intelligence Cloud alongside Content Cloud and Commerce Cloud supporting the creation of differentiated digital experiences. As the former CMO and co-founder of Idio, I asked him to look back and explain what drove Episerver to acquire Idio and Insite Software at the end of last year, around the time Alex joined the company. Then I asked him why the Insite and Idio brands are now merging under one identity as Episerver.
Understanding the customer better
“We have a strong belief in the notion of customer centricity,” he said. “Digital allows you, at scale, to personalize experiences for any website visitor, or anyone who checks you out on their mobile device. Customers today, both on the business and consumer sides, learn about products and services through digital means. Being able to personalize that experience by understanding the customer better is where the world is going—and that has obviously accelerated through the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Determining the next best action for individual website visitors at scale means leveraging AI. That’s especially the case for growing brands, companies which are not yet deeply invested in digital if they’re to have the ability to compete with digitally native companies.
“Idio and Insite were very important to us,” said Alex, “Idio to add content recommendations and deep AI capabilities, and Insite to allow us to really target manufacturing and distribution , an underserved market and a strategic vertical for Episerver going forward.”
Personalized content for B2B and B2C
With more than a decade under my belt at Idio, a U.K. company, I wanted to see whether our thoughts about Idio aligned. Idio was known for its laser focus on the B2B digital experience. I asked how its functionality was relevant across Episerver’s much wider customer base. “Many times, when somebody comes to your digital property,” Alex explained, “you don’t know who that visitor is—you can only tell the IP address. Whether it’s a B2B or B2C site, you still want to start to personalize the content that somebody’s looking at. The ability of Idio to stitch together a profile of any visitor, based on the content they’re consuming, is ingenious. It fundamentally changes the way you think about how you target and how you understand a customer.”
Historically, Episerver has broken down the division between content and commerce. It seems that in many ways Idio was doing the same thing. “We’re not thinking about what is content and what is commerce,” said Alex. “We’re looking at it from a customer-centric perspective. And the customer on a website, doesn’t actually care about content or commerce, they just want help solving a problem. In some cases you might want to show them content, in others you might want to show them product. We combine this in one platform, and that’s actually very powerful.”
The challenge for manufacturing and distribution
I asked how Insite Software, the ecommerce provider hyper-focused on serving manufacturers and distributors, entered the picture. “Manufacturing and distribution stands out as a vertical which has perhaps been slower to adopt ecommerce, and there are a couple of reasons for this. First, if you look at a distribution company, there might be hundreds of thousands of products—so providing online catalogs and product information is complex. There’s also a very strong historic notion about how those companies have done business, through physical channels and sales people building relationships with customers. The challenge is to bring that sort of experience into a digital domain, and also to have the talent and expertise on hand to create those sorts of experiences. If you don’t have that talent where do you start? We are not just providing tech but also advice and counsel to help customers make ecommerce part of their offering, and part of their future growth engine. B2B ecommerce is a different beast and Insite Software was built for the complex needs of manufacturers and distributors from day one. ”
So B2B is now a key part of Episerver’s roadmap? “Absolutely. With triple digit growth in Q2 on B2B commerce, we’re excited about our upcoming B2B Ascend event to double down on what I think is still an under-served market with tremendous potential.”
One identity: clear and simple
The Idio and Insite brands are being subsumed into the Episerver brand as of today. Why now? “It’s ultimately about simplification and clarity. When you suddenly have conversations where you say, these are Insite’s capabilities, and this is Idio, and this is Epi, it sounds like you’re visiting a pharmacy,” he laughed.
“We completed the organizational integration in April; the next step was to make it customer-facing so that it’s easier to engage with us. Since our teams are now part of one organization, it seemed natural to do this as well. Customers will appreciate the additional clarity, partners are excited about the capabilities Idio and Insite provide, and employees are excited to be part of one larger organization.”
Existing Idio and Insite customers may be asking themselves whether they can expect a continuity of experience when dealing with the Episerver brand. How are we going to ensure that? “One of the things we’ve put emphasis on,” Alex said, “is maintaining the support organizations that exist. For Insite Software customers, there was a lot of local support and we will continue to have that in place – same people, same support organization. I’m pleased that people talk about ‘raving fans.’ The raving fan mentality comes from the customer experience we provide.”
Enough about the recent past, what about what’s down the road in this new business environment? “When you look at the outcomes we are creating, getting customers live, launching new websites, I think that speaks to the fact that we have adapted quickly. I’m also very proud that in the midst of a pandemic, we started the Come Back Stronger campaign, helping companies deal with the hardships they currently face. We’re in a world today where you don’t really have to convince people they need digital—a lot of companies understand that digital is the only lifeline they have to the customer. Now it’s more about, how do I get there? For us, this means, how can we be helpful?”
And the answer? “We really believe it’s about building differentiated digital experiences through AI, and truly understanding your customer better. We are on a mission to help companies across the world compete on digital.”