Times change – Closing the Sitecore chapter

As some of you have been aware… this blog once was a place for talking in an objective way about Sitecore. As the first world wide Sitecore MVP, I had tons of fun exploring the API and sometimes playing with pre-releases. This activity ended quite harsh when I joined Sitecore in 2008. I felt that putting my product thoughts in the blogosphere wouldn’t help the community. This was fed by a culture in the Microsoft world where you would innovate behind closed doors.

Now it’s late 2015 and lots of things have changed. First of all, even if Sitecore still wants to stay far away from transparency, they are forced to by industry leaders such as Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix and Facebook to keep an open dialogue. The pace of innovation has changed so much that ignoring your community in a strategic mistake. To survive you’ll have to discus your product offerings in the wide open to be and stay successful.

Much more has changed. For example, I just listed Microsoft as an industry leader… again. And ‘new’ names like Amazon and Netflix became technology industry leaders. The entire eco-system of the web, the big companies, the unicorns, all has changed. Technology has for sure changed the most. Look at me: I’m working today on a Mac, running Windows and OSX. And I love it. I can run literally any app virtualized using Docker… One of my IDEs is even written in Javascript (VS Code). And so on!

Much like the technical world, the customers in the web industry have been moving. About 2 years ago it became apparent to me. There are 2 interconnected metrics which dictate succes in the modern world: ability to respond and employee count(company size). The ones which aren’t able to respond and with huge amount of employees…. well they are doomed in the long run(think how Uber takes on the taxi industry). The ones who are small in size and able to respond quickly on market movements… They do well but struggle. They demand their environment to be ‘agile’. For example, they want to spin up a website and an entire marketing campaign to try out their new product proposal. Something the big enterprise can only dream off. You can imagine that the small, flexible ones aren’t looking at big ‘enterprisy’ systems at all.

The other 2 are in a transition. Either a transition to becoming big and inflexible or back to their core business: small and flexible. They might want to become big, but see the drawbacks. Or they want to focus again, but see issues with their shareholder who simply want more money. Nevertheless, they have to make a choice as vendors & suppliers don’t want to target companies who don’t make choices.

Sitecore has transformed with the industry to a place where it was mainly focused on the big and inflexible. But by doing that,  you become slower yourself. The facts that it took years to replace the back-end UI and the lack of concrete public cloud offerings are clear indicators that Sitecore struggled with it. But recently something has happened. Sitecore made a clear statement that it doesn’t want to become commodity. Over the course of July, Sitecore announced a global workforce cut. This reorganization should bring Sitecore back on track again: focused on the future, building the absolute best (web) products, adapting the latest on the web, competitive with Adobe, Eloqua, etc.

I personally was affected by the reorganization. I was made ‘redundant’. And that hurts a damn lot after all the years of hard work. Now, a few months later, I realize it’s for the better. Being blessed to work with some of the best in the industry, I have had the opportunity to get way beyond business savvy. And the personal side, I’ve been able to develop my personality in a very unique way, surrounded by a mix of people with many cultural backgrounds.

Almost two months ago I found a new employer in Xpirit. At Xpirit I work with the very best out of the industry including a few Microsoft Regional Directors, Microsoft MVPs and Xamarin MVPs and try to do software development right, just like it should be. We help ISVs and large companies to make a transition to the absolute latest and greatest in technology(Cloud, Azure, Enterprise Mobility, ALM, CD, etc). Currently I’m helping an ISV, active in the IoT space, to lift the quality of their software to the next level. Both with my handss in the code and on conceptual level :).

For the Sitecore community this means that I won’t be very active anymore. At Xpirit we do have customers running Sitecore,- but it’s definitely not our focus. We do of course  support Sitecore teams on ALM and Cloud transitions, so we touch Sitecore occasionally. But of course, feel free to reach out, happy to share my Sitecore knowledge! I’m still active on Twitter(@alexdegroot), but I just won’t be following #sitecore on a daily base anymore.

I sincerely hope that Sitecore will be able to get to a modern shape with a focus on innovative marketing products for their customers. It’s a hard journey and I won’t be surprised if it requires more restructurings and potentially acquisitions or being acquired. The company has the potential and the masterminds, now it needs to find the energy to execute upon it.

I want to thank all of my former colleagues and the entire Sitecore community for the great last 11 years. Thank you for the learnings, patience and politeness and most of all: thank you for the fantastic time. Keep rocking and keep innovating!

Hope to meet you in the future… For now: Have a fantastic 2016!