During the opening keynotes, Mark Frost, Sitecore’s CEO announced their intent to acquire the Belgian Stylelabs platform.
Stylelabs is an Enterprise level DAM/PIM solution that focuses on scalability, workflows, team collaboration and ease of managing re-usable engaging content.
For a while now, Sitecore has been looking into re-inventing itself through new implementations and development approaches such as (but not limited to):
- .NET Core
- the new xDB approach (SQL server besides MongoDB)
- New Forms module
- New Marketing automation platform
- New Commerce solution
- SXA based approach
In the above list, both Commerce and SXA actually come from a co-operation or acquisition of technology to improve on the experience platform.
Sitecore typically takes over the solution as a whole, providing a quick means to a first level integration and then uses the acquired solution to create some kind of cross-pollination of ideas and approaches.
Native DAM capabilities
Up until Sitecore 9.1, Sitecore’s only real DAM capabilities are managed through the integrated Media Library. This module has been there since the start of Sitecore. Sitecore version 7 and 8 introduced a visual overhaul and added search capabilities to help meet the newer platform demands. However, Sitecore themselves have always positioned the Media Library as a lightweight DAM solution within the Experience Platform.
With the introduction and future integration of Stylelabs into the Sitecore family, both the platform and the DAM aspect thereof will benefit significantly.
Both Sitecore and Stylelabs hail from the same Microsoft Stack, however there are quite some differences in architecture and approaches. Sitecore announced that the ultimate goal would be to get the best out of both worlds. Meaning that modern requirements such as full PaaS/SaaS availability which comes natively to Stylelabs may make its way over into the Sitecore Architecture as a whole.
Products such as JSS (Headless), SXA (configuration over coding) and adoption of .NET Core (Commerce…) provide a good example of these changes. They indicate a shift in the current platform to become leaner and more streamlined towards a cloud first approach.
Stylelabs can also fulfill the role of PIM within your organization. This aspect of the Stylelabs platform has clearly moved to a later part of the Sitecore integration roadmap. Meaning that specific details regarding this platform capability were not provided to help clarify the vision of both Sitecore and Stylelabs.
The end-result of the full integration is still unclear. What we know now is that within the first few months (aiming at December) a first connector will available and allow the two platforms to work together and share assets as well as meta-information.
In a second phase, which should come in Q2-Q3 of 2019, a further integration off the two platforms should bring a full-fledged integration that can exchange data such as analytics, metrics on data usage, UI connections and so on. The above listing is speculation only since no clear roadmap has been provided thus far.
It was also confirmed that the Content Hub of the Stylelabs platform will remain a separate offering next to the other Sitecore products.
Details on the migration path and licensing approach for new and existing customers of both Sitecore and Stylelabs still need to be defined and have, in this early stage, not yet been released.
The integration of Stylelabs into the Sitecore platform is an interesting and strong move of the Sitecore platform that helps the platform move into the right direction. Not only will the Sitecore platform be able to offer a stronger and more mature DAM/PIM solution, the platform will be able to cherry-pick a number of architectural choices that will help Sitecore cloudify into the future.
For more official information on the merger, we would like to refer you to: