In my initial answer three reasons stood out:
- Opportunity. The market for digital experience is hot. Depending on how you judge the market, the total addressable market is between $20 billion and $40 billion. Companies across enterprises need to invest in what has become the essence of their brand: their digital presence. Episerver as a recognized Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for DXP – with more than 8,000 customers and deep capabilities across content, commerce, personalization, and analytics – is well positioned to participate in the growth of this market.
- Strategic direction. Episerver’s focus is set on growth. The private equity firm Insight Partners’ investments in our distribution, customer success and roadmap are starting to pay dividends – all before our M&A activity. Customer retention is up, and partners are excited to expand their relationship with Episerver. On top of this, I thought the two acquisitions – of AI-based content personalization engine Idio.ai and Insite Software, a B2B commerce platform focused on manufacturing businesses – would accelerate the business.
- Team. I simply had a great time meeting the people of Episerver. What struck me in all conversations was the absence of ego. Every person I spoke to pointed out the common view of the opportunity, the pride in the customer and partner base, and the humility to point out the areas for improvement. These intangibles, coupled with an employee and management team distributed across Europe, North America, and parts of Asia, really fit my profile well.
Now after three months in the job as CEO, I revisited the reasons for joining Episerver. In hindsight, I missed a couple of very important reasons for joining Episerver that would make my choice an even faster one today:
- Making an impact: There’s a special feeling of creating, building and doing work that makes an impact – without any corporate politics. I enjoy building and growing businesses and rallying teams around a common mission. The ability to do this in a company the size of Episerver has the benefit that each decision and each person’s contribution makes a significant impact on the outcome of our mission. The immediacy of seeing impact between decisions you make and their return is polluted in larger companies where it is difficult to distinguish the impact of your work compared to activities in other parts of the company. At Episerver, both success and failure are clearer without any interpretation or associated politics. I love this.
- The power of content: Surprisingly, content is even more powerful than I expected. I often come back to a piece of advice that former SAP CEO Bill McDermott gave me that “the main thing is the main thing.” Every company has a core. In Episerver’s case, the heartbeat is content. Episerver deeply understands and cares for the power of good content and how content builds relationships. If we live in a world of experiences, how can we under-estimate the role of content creators and editors who actually create these experiences? If you haven’t had the chance to hear our own Deane Barker talk about the importance of content, listen to him here. Episerver’s past and future will be deeply linked to content. In the end, content remains king.
- New companies, new opportunities: Episerver’s newly acquired businesses have also exceeded my expectations for the value they will bring to customers and partners. I was excited about the planned M&A moves in Q4 2019 but have been positively surprised. Insite Software has something that is rare in enterprise software: raving fans. I met with multiple customers in Minneapolis and the feedback was consistently positive. Great software and great customer service. As for Idio, the customer list is impressive with customers like HP and Fitch, helping Episerver take a formative stand in the high-tech and financial services industries. What impressed me even more is the Natural Language Processing and AI capabilities. Rather than personalizing content experiences through assumptions about segments, we are able to help customers leverage data in new, very powerful ways.
Now, you might say, not everything is perfect. For sure, Episerver’s brand is not as well-known as it should be, we need to hire lots of great people to grow, and we have to integrate three companies. There is no shortage of things to get done, but in every imperfection lies the opportunity. And the beauty of a company that is “large enough to serve and small enough to care” is that you can determine what the future looks like. I love that feeling and love where Episerver is headed – and fast.