Last month, Acquia announced some incredibly exciting news: our third acquisition of 2019, AgilOne, and the biggest in Acquia’s history. It was a fantastic way to close out the BEST year in Acquia’s history.
AgilOne makes perfect sense for Acquia in a variety of ways. Companies focused on understanding greater detail about their customers have been looking for a data-driven solution for some time. An intelligent data layer capable of unifying customer insight both from Acquia’s view, and from third-party sources was the “missing piece.” Acquisitions are a tricky thing, even when you do three in a year like Acquia has in 2019. As we evaluated Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) in the market, several priorities rose to the top of our considerations:
1. An open platform that can not only easily and quickly integrate into any third-party system in our customers’ technology stack, but also one that can connect into our Marketing Cloud solutions, like Lift and Mautic, and beyond that, the entire Acquia product portfolio. With a combination of connectors, including out-of-the-box and API-based integration capabilities, AgilOne checked that box.
2. A best-in-class data platform that excels in terms of key features (like data cleansing, identity resolution and analytics), but also knocks it out of the park with ease of use. AgilOne has a super easy to use and understand UI along with its incredible machine learning-based data capabilities.
3. A growing company. AgilOne grew 104% in the first half of 2019. Check and check.
4. Premier customers achieving great results. Tumi, lululemon, Wickes, Clarks, Lily Pulitzer and many more are part of AgilOne’s grown roster of successful brands. See the tremendous ROI these customers have achieved. (And consider taking advantage of these retailers’ post-holiday bargains!)
5. Machine learning expertise. Machine learning capabilities are critical to businesses looking to gain valuable insight to more effectively engage with customers — but we also wanted to further our position in this growing market with industry-leading expertise. AgilOne’s founder and CEO Omer Artun is a leading voice in a complex machine learning marketplace and has literally written books on ML, predictive marketing and big data. We’re thrilled to have him join Acquia as Chief Science Officer.
We’ve received a tremendous amount of positive press coverage from our announcement, as well as nearly universal plaudits from industry analysts and thought leaders. On top of that, our partners, and even some customers, have shared some fantastic feedback with us about the acquisition. Here are a few of our favorites:
David Raab, Raab Associates
David told TechTarget: “Those tools will enable Acquia Lift to make more precise personalized recommendations for B2C customers who use the platform. Paired with Mautic, it creates a potentially powerful platform to drive retail revenue. AgilOne has a lot of good embedded analytics. They definitely have been really good at helping customers do predictive modeling."
Joe Stanhope, Forrester
Joe told TechTarget: "It's complementary to the capabilities Acquia has been assembling. They didn't buy a CDP, they bought AgilOne, a specific kind of CDP that allows them to do insights and analytics around customer data."
Mark Grannan, Forrester
Mark told MarTechToday: “Rather than being locked-in by another vendor’s restrictions or limited to their marketing tools, Acquia’s open environment allows users to build and control their own integrations with other platforms. AgilOne’s capabilities should help tie together disparate data sets within a brand’s Acquia environment...I think you could characterize this as a leapfrogging opportunity for them,”
But it’s not only analysts and media types praising the acquisition. We’ve even had AgilOne customers offer some great feedback on our new partnership, including Wendy Mudis, VP of marketing at Lids: "This is exciting news! I used to work with Acquia at my previous company and I was impressed with their cutting edge technology. They were definitely ahead of their peers in the customer data space. Having AgilOne join them will create an even more powerful connection." See more about how Lids is using a CDP to see great results here.
Responding to the Skeptics
Even with all that incredible momentum and validation, we have seen a couple of less-than-positive takes on this news. While we value everyone’s opinion and appreciate healthy competition just as much as anyone, it is our responsibility to set the record straight on a few inaccurate statements we’ve seen — especially when they were made by smaller, niche, point solution competitors who don't have much experience or understanding of web content management (WCM) or the digital experience platform (DXP) space. So, here are some claims we’d like to directly respond to:
1. Claim: “Acquia is a services company.”
While this was partly true in 2007 when Acquia was founded, this hasn’t been the case for over a decade. Acquia got its start providing services and support for Drupal, but since then we have built a robust technology portfolio of 13 products. We’ve shifted from our services model to being a partner-first organization (unlike some of our competitors) and we currently realize more than 85% of our revenue from products.
2. Claim: “Acquia will ‘hack up’ our products and the result will be a ‘frankenstack’.”
Unlike the vast majority of our competitors, we actually have a plan to fully integrate — not stitch together for a pretty demo — the products that exist in our Marketing Cloud: AgilOne, Lift and Mautic. In fact, these plans are already underway. The first step will be to shuttle data back and forth between AgilOne and Mautic. This will allow for improved segmentation for Mautic users and bring Mautic data back into AgilOne to enrich and improve actionable data. Further down the road, AgilOne will support our website personalization product, Lift, and help bring relevant experiences to customers on the web and across any channel. As alluded to earlier in this post, longer term, AgilOne will act as the intelligent data layer across the Marketing Cloud and Acquia’s entire product portfolio.
3. Claim: “Standalone product offerings will go away.”
This is pure speculation that displays complete and total lack of understanding about Acquia or how we operate. It is in our DNA to offer our customers solutions to their business problems. We don’t pitch or demand our prospects and customers “buy all our stuff” and shove our entire platform down their throats whether they need it or not. We help our customers understand what their digital challenges are and help them identify a path — strategy, technology and implementation — to see long term results. We are known (and praised) in the digital experience and content management space for our “Crawl, Walk, Run” approach to digital transformation and customer engagement — and we take pride in it. For the record, customers of the Acquia Marketing Cloud will be able to purchase the capabilities they need to support their goals, to better understand their customers, and deliver engaging experiences regardless of channel. And if they want to add new technology to help drive that vision, we can help them with that too.
After the biggest year in Acquia’s history, we are poised to make 2020 even bigger. With Acquia and AgilOne combined, we can better deliver on our #1 priority to our prospects, customers and partners: Make creating and delivering digital experiences easier.