How do you create real value?

Lars Fløe Nielsen

We founded Sitecore founded in 2001. It was a spin-off from a consultancy company. The first milestone for Sitecore happened right in the beginning when we decided to deliver dynamically assembled pages and content. At that time, most major players were publishing to static HTML files. As computer scientists, we didn’t want to do static HTML publishing, we wanted dynamic pages.

The second milestone was in 2004 when we opened our US office. That was something we had planned already from the founding of Sitecore. It also differentiates us from most other Danish companies. Usually, Danish companies go to Norway, Sweden, Finland—and then onwards to Germany, perhaps UK. Sitecore started from the US, continued to the UK, then to Australia and the Netherlands.

One of the big reasons for this kind of route was that we did everything in English from the start—all the documentation, all the software. In Denmark it is fine to do everything in English, also in the Netherlands this is OK. That is why the Netherlands was our first non-native English country besides our home country. We knew that if we’d gone to Germany or Japan, we would have had to invest in localization and hire local people. As we grew organically all the time, we could not afford that level of investments at that time.

The third milestone was in 2007. Back then, everything was going really well, but one day, one of the founders, Michael, announced, “The CMS market is dead”. He questioned our focus on building just a “typewriter for the web”. After reviewing the situation, we decided to put more effort into helping our clients communicate with their customers. Back then, the market already had social, analytics and marketing automation, but they were separately from the website. We decided to merge all into one system.

We knew we did not have the money to acquire those businesses, so we decided to build them ourselves. The main reason, however was that we were able to build a unified architecture, – one platform. But it wasn’t easy. Those we spoke to said we were crazy—and to certain extent, they were right!

So yes, we were crazy nerds, but also pragmatic people. We knew that businesses do not use all the features in software. Users use consistently maybe 35% of the features available. We initially just needed to build the most important features into our platform.

In 2009, we launched our online marketing suite. Personally I think it changed the market somewhat. We had done something that no one else had. Many of our peers are now doing something similar, but they usually use the approach of integrated best-of-breed systems.”

Lars Fløe Nielsen facts

Partner. Background in strategy, strategic innovation, market positioning, sales and brand development.