Alex Atzberger, a former SAP executive who led its Hybris ecommerce and Ariba procurement units, is the new CEO of ecommerce and digital content management technology company Episerver, Episerver announced today.
Episerver executive chairman Adam Berger—who is also managing director of Episerver’s owner, private equity firm Insight Venture Partners—said the company chose Atzberger for his experience in enterprise software for large companies and his ability to lead Episerver’s “customer-centricity” strategy of providing a better digital commerce experience for Episerver’s clients and its clients’ customers.
Atzberger, who will report to Berger, said in an emailed reply to questions from DC360 B2B that Episerver’s growth “is all about accelerating the value we bring to our customers by helping them to be more customer-centric. There is also an immense opportunity to accelerate our market presence and profile in the marketplace with our ecosystem partners, particularly in North America.”
He added that he was excited to join Episerver at a “definitive turning point” for the 25-year-old company, with the resources of Insight Venture Partners supporting its business momentum and M&A investment in Episerver’s product roadmap.
Atzberger was most recently president of SAP Customer Experience, before he left SAP in October following the departure of former CEO Bill McDermott. Prior to SAP Customer Experience, which included the Hybris ecommerce platform SAP acquired in 2013, Atzberger was president of SAP Ariba, a procurement network and services provider.
Targeting growth in personalized commerce
Industry analysts say Atzberger appears to be a good fit for Episerver as it seeks to further develop its reputation and market reach for providing technology and services designed to help companies deliver highly personalized online commerce experiences for their end-customers.
Episerver says it has more than 8,000 customers, including such B2B companies as Kimball Midwest, D’Addario & Company and Cleaner’s Supply, and such merchants as Mud Pie, Bealls and Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply.
“Episerver’s strength in combining leading web content management with commerce has applicability to both business-to-business and business-to-consumer organizations, as those organizations strive to deliver differentiating, personalized customer experiences,” says Christina Klock, senior director and analyst, commerce technology and experience, at technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. “I expect Atzberger to bring a much-needed maturity of leadership to Episerver, leveraging his experience in the enterprise application space.”
She adds: “I am particularly intrigued to see how he will develop Episerver’s brand and capabilities into the B2B commerce market, which I consider to be area of opportunity for Episerver.”
Joe Cicman, senior analyst for e-business and channel strategy at Forrester Research Inc., says Atzberger’s experience at SAP, during a period when it made several acquisitions, could be of critical importance to Episerver. He notes that Insight Venture Partners, which acquired Episerver last year in a deal that valued Episerver at $1.16 billion, is also invested in ecommerce technology provider commercetools GmbH and content management technology firm Contentstack LLC. Insight Venture Partners is also known as Insight Partners and Insight Venture Management LLC.
More options in developing commerce and content
Cicman notes that commercetools and Contentstack are “headless” technology platforms designed for integration with external platforms, providing Episerver with options to use them to build out its own ecommerce and content management systems. “There are certainly potential R&D benefits here,” he says.
Atzberger indicated that he sees an opportunity to take advantage of such ways to extend Episerver’s platform. “Organizations need to work with and integrate into other systems—particularly true in B2B commerce, where buy-in for digital transformation projects is difficult at best,” he said. “One way we can help our customers become more customer-centric is to enable extensibility for them. We launched the Episerver App Marketplace in June 2019, making it a one-stop shop for trusted Episerver partners and add-ons.”
Last month, Episerver agreed to acquire Idio, a content personalization and analytics platform designed to help businesses match their best inventory to what their customers want to purchase.
Justin Anovick, chief product officer at Episerver, says a manufacturer, for example, could take product category and pricing content from its ERP or product information management system, along with such related content as product images and blogs from its Episerver platform, and use Idio to build personalized content tailored for different distributors and their respective end-customers. “Idio will make that content personalization easier, overlaying on top of the pricing, category and traditional product information,” he says.
Adds Atzberger: “As per our recent acquisition of content personalization and analytics leader Idio, you’ll see further innovation from us and investment in areas like natural language processing and artificial intelligence (NLP/AI) as well as helping our commerce customers deliver the customer-centric digital experiences their customers are increasingly expecting.”
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