Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the web content management (WCM) space have been so common that more than one-third of all leading vendors now own their WCM products through acquisition. Some acquisitions were successful for customers and shareholders alike. Day Software, acquired by Adobe in 2010, is now a widely recognized leader in WCM as Adobe Experience Manager. But other acquisitions failed to deliver on their promises and proved to be customers’ worst nightmares. Collage CMS didn’t just fall behind the competition after its purchase by Serena Software in 2004-it was discontinued.
The lack of clear, meaningful information about acquisitions when they happen makes decision making difficult for customers. Press releases are not usually helpful–they make vague claims about cutting-edge solutions and operational synergies. They are written to please and protect the companies involved, not to help customers decide what they need to do when their WCM vendor is acquired. One way to be more savvy about M&A in WCM is to look back at what worked in the past and what didn’t–and why.
Back in 2003, I worked on the user interface of a WCM system at a digital agency in the U.K. RedDot was our point of reference and our biggest source of inspiration. We kept on top of the new releases and learned from what we considered the most feature-rich CMS available.
RedDot was acquired by Hummingbird in 2005, which was then bought by OpenText in 2006. The transition from a pure-play, privately owned software vendor to a large, publicly traded company did not go smoothly for everyone. Many experienced employees jumped ship. Some RedDot partners reviewed their strategic partnerships and decided to go with other vendors. Prospects worried about the future of RedDot, and selling the solution to new customers became difficult.
In 2009, OpenText caused further confusion by acquiring Vignette. Analysts expressed concerns about the product overlap and advised new prospects considering OpenText content management products to proceed with caution. Fast-forward to 2016, and despite gloomy predictions, OpenText continues to support both OpenText Web Site Management (formerly RedDot) and OpenText Web Experience Management (formerly Vignette). Some of RedDot’s biggest customers still use OpenText Web Site Management, including Transport for London, the British Army, and the University of Aberdeen.
In April 2016, OpenText added a third WCM solution to the mix: HP TeamSite, previously known as Interwoven TeamSite and Autonomy TeamSite. Interwoven TeamSite was the first true enterprise WCM system; in many ways, Interwoven was the firm that established this market. In 2009, Interwoven was acquired by Autonomy, but it didn’t thrive under Autonomy’s ownership. Autonomy, including Interwoven TeamSite as part of the deal, was sold to HP in 2011 in probably the most controversial deal in software history.
Shortly after OpenText acquired Hummingbird/RedDot in 2006, Oracle acquired Stellent-a CMS with deep roots in document management. Oracle retained most of the development team, but strategic goals for Stellent shifted from pure-play content management to being part of Oracle’s single-vendor enterprise content management (ECM) suite offering. In cases in which Oracle’s single-vendor ECM pitch matched customers’ requirements, Stellent (then rebranded as Oracle UCM) stacked up well against competition, but as a best-of-breed WCM product, it was difficult to sell. In 2011, Oracle acquired FatWire for its web experience features, and it remains at the core of Oracle’s WCM offering today.
From the customers’ point of view, the most unsettling of all was the acquisition of Collage CMS by Serena Software in 2004. Merant Software released Collage CMS in 2002, and it showed promise: an easy-to-use, simple-to-set-up, de-coupled solution with enough flexibility to allow for significant template modifications using Collage’s own tag library. The system got traction in the higher education sector and, to a degree, outside higher ed too. But following the Serena acquisition, product development and releases noticeably slowed down. The system capabilities fell behind the competition, marketing was insufficient, and positioning was unclear. In 2008, Serena officially discontinued the product.
On the one hand, this put Collage’s customers out of their misery. Collage was officially and irreversibly pronounced dead, so customers had no choice but to start a selection process for a new CMS. On the other hand, replacing a CMS is a special kind of pain that no customer wants to endure. Migration to a different platform can be a 3-6 month effort (sometimes more) just to get to where the organization was on the old platform. And unless the business case includes exciting new developments, CMS migration runs a risk of losing out to other initiatives that deliver immediate business value. In the end, it took years for some Serena Collage customers to migrate their websites away from the discontinued, unsupported product. If they could go back to 2004 to look again at that press release and the acquisition rationale-and seek expert advice to avoid the drama-they certainly would.
Time will tell how more recent acquisitions will play out, such as Sitecore by EQT or Episerver by Accel-KKR. The fact that EQT and Accel-KKR are private equity firms, rather than direct competitors, means that they are more likely to invest in product development, marketing, and leadership in helpful ways. Their assumptions and projections may still prove wrong, but their intentions are more in tune with customer needs than competitors’ motives would be.
In summary, the acquisition of a CMS can lead to three possible outcomes. One is success, as in the case of Adobe acquiring Day Software, in which the acquired product fit well-both technically and culturally-and got the investment it needed to become a true industry leader. A second is survival, as in RedDot. OpenText Web Site Management (formerly RedDot) continues to be well-supported, but it doesn’t compete at the highest level as an innovative solution. The third possible outcome, although exceptionally rare, is demise. An end-of-life CMS, such as Serena Collage or Immediacy, puts customers under immense pressure to invest in a new platform quickly.
To predict how an acquisition will turn out, customers need to look beyond the press releases and seek advice from a range of sources, including the vendor, their service provider partners, other customers, and industry analysts.
In the documentary series Britain’s Biggest Hoarders we see entire houses taken over by junk – books, souvenirs, toys, clothes are all piled up, making everyday tasks difficult and time-consuming. Things that were useful and valuable in the past, are now impossible to get to, hard to find, or broken.
If web managers are not careful, digital properties can quickly turn messy too. Web content grows at an astonishing rate. The web has grown by more than one third in 2013 alone, and reached 1 billion websites in 2014. Every minute of every day hundreds of websites are created, 300 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube, nearly 350 tweets are sent and nearly 10,000 images are pinned on Pinterest. 
Managing large volumes of content effectively is hard. In fact, even keeping track of what organisations own can be a challenge in some industries. In Digital Clarity Group’s research on Digital Transformation in Higher Education, we interviewed institutions that own more than 1 million webpages over hundreds of websites and domains. Needless to say, manual content audit and quality control of such enormous amounts of information is impossible.
So what do you do with hundreds and thousands of webpages that keep multiplying, because the content management system makes publishing as easy as writing in Word? What do you do with the vast amounts of poor quality content which was created with the help of WYSIWYG but looks more like WYSIWTF?
Almost half of all the higher education organisations that Digital Clarity Group interviewed for the Digital Transformation in Higher Education research, use Siteimprove to regain some degree of control over the content chaos. Siteimprove is a web governance suite of tools which help universities (and other large organisations, for that matter) to find and fix broken links, misspellings, monitor website accessibility and manage SEO.
Siteimprove isn’t the only vendor trying to address the growing issue of content chaos in large organisations. “Web Governance begins where CMS left off”. – says Gavin Colborne, Managing Director of web governance platform LittleForest. “The idea that organisations can manage their websites without any technical knowledge and that it’s a process as easy as using a word processor, is obsolete. Large, global organisations need a set of digital quality standards and best practices that are monitored, with the outcomes measured, on a regular basis. Content management is never a done job.”
“The key to effective web governance is integration with existing publishing processes and content management systems.” – argues Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse. “People don’t want to use another, separate platform, just to check that they’ve done a good job. Time and time again we see organisations approaching web governance in a reactive, firefighting way. Reports on published content are piling up, but once the content is out there, getting content editors to fix the issues is hard. Sitemorse integrates web governance processes into the content management system, so that compliance checks are carried out before the content is published, not after.”
Sitemorse pre-publication checks in WordPress.
According to the InSites report, the most popular status updates on this university Facebook page are those with ‘no words’ and video content.
Still, with all the data in the world, making changes that really matter isn’t easy. Technology can drive the change, but it’s the people, not just the technology, that ultimately deliver results. You can produce as many digital quality reports as you like, but those reports won’t auto-correct your website, and they will not magically translate into KPIs that make sense for your industry and your organisation. If your digital team has no authority and no influence over people who can implement the changes, then, well… best of luck with your numbers and your technology, but don’t hold your breath. CrownPeak Digital Quality Management (formerly ActiveStandards) was launched in 2005, and identified people challenges in web governance as critically important a long time ago. With Crownpeak Digital Quality Management, you get unlimited support and advisory as part of the package. “We know from experience that one size does not fit all when it comes to digital governance in large, complex organisations.” – says Tom Golden, VP International Sales at Crownpeak.
Crownpeak Digital Quality Management (formerly ActiveStandards) dashboard.
Web content grows at an astonishing rate. Thanks to modern technology, publishing a new webpage, creating a new website, launching a new online community is fast and easy. Or is it?
Predictable but unwanted side effect of decentralised content management practice is the decline in quality of the published digital content. Diluted brand, outdated content, broken links are only a few examples of issues which – if left unresolved – can affect customer experience and cause reputational damage.
The answer to these challenges is Web Governance – a set of rules and practices which allow digital teams to manage websites in a controlled and orderly way. In terms of technology, Web Governance and Digital Quality Assurance is a growing marketplace and is constantly evolving to accommodate modern content types, increasing customer expectations, and new regulatory requirements. Key technology players in this space today are: Crownpeak Digital Quality Management, InSites, LittleForest, Siteimprove and Sitemorse, however effective web governance is as much, if not more, about people and processes, as it is about technology.
Yesterday, an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) vendor OpenText announced an agreement to acquire HP TeamSite, a web content management (WCM) platform, previously known as Interwoven TeamSite and Autonomy TeamSite. As part of this acquisition, OpenText also acquires other customer experience tools: HP MediaBin (digital asset management solution), HP Qfiniti (contact center management tool), HP Explore (analytics), HP Aurasma (augmented reality tool), and HP Optimost (A/B testing). The transaction purchase price is quoted to be approximately $170 million.
“Why pair it with printers? In our view at DCG, we assumed this meant they’d be selling it off as soon as they could find a buyer. It’s been pretty public knowledge that HP has had buyer’s remorse from the Interwoven acquisition for quite some time,” said our CEO, Scott Liewehr, in an interview with TechCrunch about the acquisition.
For a long time Interwoven TeamSite was one of the leading content management solutions, typically considered alongside Oracle/Stellent, Vignette and RedDot. In fairness, it was the first true enterprise WCM system, and in many ways Interwoven was the firm that established this market. In their prime, Interwoven sales executives refused to engage in pre-sales conversations with prospects that didn’t disclose their CMS procurement budgets outright. Interwoven only targeted large organizations that could reliably afford top-of-the range license and maintenance fees.
Interwoven was a huge dot.com IPO success. It went public on the NASDAQ in Oct 1999 and raised what was at the time the staggering sum of $55m. Bear in mind that at the time of the flotation it was running at a loss and only had revenue of around $5m. In 2009, Interwoven was bought by Autonomy for $775m but didn’t thrive under Autonomy’s ownership. In 2011, Autonomy (including Interwoven TeamSite as part of the deal) was sold to HP in probably the most controversial deal in software history. All in all, past M&As involving Interwoven TeamSite are full of overpriced valuations, but yesterday’s valuation of around 2x revenue seems fair for a divestment from HP Inc.
If you are a current TeamSite customer, you might be wondering what will happen to the numerous WCM and digital asset management (DAM) products post-acquisition. Following this acquisition, OpenText will own three WCM products: OpenText Web Experience Management (formerly Vignette), OpenText WebSite Management (formerly RedDot), and now TeamSite; plus two DAM products: HP MediaBin and OpenText Media Management (formerly Artesia). That’s a lot of product overlap. However, based on OpenText’s track record of acquisitions, it is reasonable to expect that these products will continue on their separate roadmaps, offering OpenText healthy maintenance revenue and cross-sell opportunities. The value in this acquisition for OpenText is not in product synergies, but in access to a new customer base of large, complex organizations that could benefit from other aspects of their Enterprise Information Management offering.
As for HP (both of them), we believe they are now officially out of the customer experience management business as we know it.
This blogpost was first published on Digital Clarity Group website in 2016.
CrownPeak isn’t as widely known amongst technology buyers as some of its competitors. CrownPeak’s partner network and user/developer community is relatively small, and marketing investments have always been modest. Nevertheless, CrownPeak found an effective niche by serving organizations with large, multi-site, multilingual websites, such as Lilly (pharmaceutical), Prudential (financial services) and ACE Group (insurance), to name a few. CrownPeak’s decoupled architecture, emphasis on security, and engaged, consultative customer support makes it an attractive choice for highly regulated industries and global organizations with international presence. CrownPeak was recognised as a “Visionary” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management (WCM) for two years in a row (2014, 2015), which reflects solid levels of customer satisfaction.
Although mergers and acquisitions in the WCM space are a fact of life, CrownPeak’s merger was particularly unsurprising. The senior team is made up of leaders with a track record of managing rapid growth, and with two rounds of venture funding firmly in the past, securing more funding and growing through acquisition was an expected next step.
For ActiveStandards, a digital governance vendor often considered alongside Siteimprove and Sitemorse, this merger represents an escape from drawn-out sales attempts generating lots of enthusiasm at the web practitioner level, but not making it to the C-suite. Post-merger, the ActiveStandards platform will be sold as part of the CrownPeak family under the new name of CrownPeak Digital Quality Management. This will make it easier to pitch the product at the right level. Whether a digital governance tool will bring success to the combined company, remains to be seen. Digital governance is not, generally speaking, an exciting topic that drives sales in WCM space.
At Digital Clarity Group we are often asked about the impact of an acquisition on the existing customers. Typically if a vendor gets acquired by a direct competitor, the risk to customers is that the acquisition is primarily targeting the customer base, and not the actual product. In this scenario, the product may get lost or forgotten post-acquisition, leaving existing customers in limbo. By contrast, an investment by a venture capital firm such as K1 is generally aimed at maximising profit. In this case, both the customer base and the product should get the attention they deserve, and that’s good news.
It’s worth pointing out that CrownPeak and ActiveStandards are both SaaS platforms which appeal to customers with similar sets of requirements. CrownPeak already had an application‐level integration with ActiveStandards before the acquisition, so in terms of technology, merging the two companies together is straightforward. However, technology buyers are becoming increasingly aware that good technology investments depend not so much on the technology itself, but on the service providers and vendor’s support services that can make the technology work in the real world.
And this is where customers and prospects of both firms should be asking some questions.
Successful WCM implementations rely on people – people who are motivated, knowledgeable and reliable. Support teams that respond to customer enquiries, developers that modify the product roadmap on the basis of customer feedback, service providers that have a continued strong partnership with the vendor. Mergers have the tendency to affect people and processes, so keep a close eye on the people side of things, and do a reality check every now and again to see whether the vision and the values you signed up for are still in place.
Progress Software (Sitefinity/Telerik), Microsoft, Hippo, e-Spirit, Squiz, GX Software, eZ Systems – ‘niche players’.
If one or more of these vendors is on your short list, you can be certain that the Magic Quadrant will appear (dare I say, magically) in the respective vendor’s sales demo. It will be presented as a badge of honour, a major achievement, a success indicator that differentiates the vendor from its competition. And that’s not all wrong. What would be wrong, however, is to assume that other vendors, those that don’t appear on the Quadrant, are not worthy of your consideration.
One of Gartner’s inclusion criteria requires the WCM product to be marketed in more than two vertical markets. This immediately excludes vendors who are deeply invested in serving a specific industry. Leading Higher Ed players such as TerminalFour, Zengenti, OmniUpdate, Ingeniux and HannonHill fall squarely into this category. Their success is based precisely on what Gartner penalizes them for – deep, intimate understanding of the Higher Ed market.
The second criteria worth mentioning is the global presence requirement: “The vendor must actively market its WCM offering in at least two of the following regions: North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia/Pacific.” There go missing another set of established CMS vendors that serve local customers in their own geography (think Typo3, GOSS Interactive, Bridgeline iAAPS).
The problem with the Magic Quadrant is that many large organisations misuse it as a shortcut to quickly arrive at their short list, thereby excluding valid, perfectly suitable options. “Don’t simply select vendors from the Leaders’ quadrant,” Gartner tells us towards the end of the report, implying that the remaining three corners should be considered, too. Our advice is:“Don’t simply limit your vendor selection to the whole of the Gartner’s MQ.” Consider vendors who are not in the quadrants at all.
But now that you’ve seen the magic elephant, can you get it out of your head?
Web Content Management in Higher Ed
Web Content Management in Higher Ed faces a unique set of challenges. From exceptional volumes of content, to highly devolved content ownership, to muddled vision and decision-making, web content management in Higher Ed is no easy task. In terms of technology, the industry is mostly served by CMS vendors with exclusive focus on this vertical (OmniUpdate, HannonHill, TerminalFour, Zengenti/Contensis, and so on), whereas larger players, like Acquia/Drupal and Adobe, develop their understanding of the industry through dedicated divisions. All companies targeting Higher Ed invest heavily in the research of the industry trends and changing customer expectations.
TerminalFour and Omniupdate share their insights in these recent reports:
Download TerminalFour 2015 Higher Education Web Survey Report.
OpenText’s Global Partner Program
OpenText announces a new global partner program which includes a marketing development fund, loyalty and referral programs for its partners. If you are a digital agency or systems integrator seeking to expand your technology partnerships, now is a good time to consider OpenText. If you are an OpenText customer, you might find your service provider to be more in tune with recent product developments, and the choice of OpenText partners wider than before.
As exciting as Drupal 8 is, you’d be forgiven for feeling apprehensive about the actual upgrade process. CMS upgrades are never easy. Every module used on your website will have to be made compatible with Drupal 8, and every CMS customisation will need to be double-checked and possibly modified to work with the new version. It’s a complex and tedious task.
To make the upgrade process easier, Drupal agency Provonix launched a d8upgrade community initiative, which notifies Drupal customers of the modules that have been made compatible with Drupal 8. To benefit from this service, register your Drupal website, along with all the Drupal modules you’re using, at d8upgrade.
DotCMS, a Java-based content management vendor, which is often considered alongside Hippo, Magnolia CMS, OpenCMS, and Oracle WCS, announces the new webinar series under the title of Build with dotCMS. Previously, dotCMS has been known to use the product itself as its main marketing tool – you can download dotCMS community edition for free, and/or request a 30-day trial for dotCMS Enterprise Prime. There’s nothing stopping you from evaluating the product fit to your heart’s content. The newly launched webinars provide useful context and guidance – which doesn’t come included with the product installation.
TYPO3 Association and the Neos team made an announcement about separating the Neos project from TYPO3. The beginnings of the split date back to 2012, when TYPO3 was on its version 4. The subsequent version, TYPO3 v5, was developed by the Neos team, but was not released, due to significant gaps between the TYPO3 v5 vision and the actual product. Development of the TYPO3 v4 continued separately, with TYPO3 v6 released in November 2012, as a result. The work on the intended TYPO3 v5 was completed a year later, in December 2013, and the product was re-branded as TYPO3 Neos.
At face value, splitting an open source community is not a great idea. After all, the outcome of the split is two smaller development teams, and two smaller communities (more of an issue for the newly created Neos). Given the backstory, however, this decision comes as no surprise, and has the potential to let both teams focus on their respective vision with renewed energy and enthusiasm. “Even if it’s sad that the split is the necessary consequence of the current situation, I think it’s best for both products.” – says Lorenz Ulrich, TYPO3 Neos Web Developer.
Sitecore Cuts its Workforce
Sitecore, a leading WCM vendor, cuts its global workforce. As a private company, Sitecore has no obligations to formally announce or explain the job cuts, but given the company’s fast and aggressive growth in the last decade, it’s not surprising that an operational adjustment might be needed to align with the new market opportunities.
Sitecore is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, with offices in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa.
Wagtail v1.0 release
If you haven’t heard of Wagtail before, now is the time. This Django-based CMS platform was first launched as an open-source project in December 2014 and celebrates its v1.0 release this month. (I find v1.0 a particularly delightful milestone because most CMS products seem to be born into this world as version 3.0 or higher. Just like that.)
Wagtail CMS was created by Torchbox, an ethically driven digital agency well known for specifically seeking out clients that make this world a better place (notable examples of such clients are Royal College of Art, WWF, and GroceryAid, to name just a few).
Unlike other content management systems, which focus on empowering non-technical editors, Wagtail is optimized for web developers and digital agencies. Wagtail is built with the goal of cutting the time and cost required to create and update websites by experienced, technically savvy web professionals.
Wagtail’s user interface is easy-to-use, and features an interesting new concept of a streamfield, a mixed sequence of content types, that can be easily rearranged and reused – something in between wild freedom of a rich-text area and hugely restrictive plain text.
StreamField is a new solution for creating ‘freeform’ content. Build and arrange content blocks: headings, paragraphs, images, video, and custom content types.
Digital Self-Service in UK Public Sector
GOSS Interactive published a Digital Self-Service Survey Report 2015. The report is based on a survey of 355 senior managers from 256 public sector organisations. It details organisations’ approaches to self-service, the benefits they are achieving, and their future plans with regards to digital self-service. In addition to reporting survey results, the report offers recommendations for organisations considering digital self-service implementations, and includes case studies demonstrating how public sector organisations delivered ROI from self-service.
Manifesto, a London-based digital agency, specializing in large, complex WCM implementations for education, leisure and non-profit sectors, announces a strategic partnership with OpenText. Manifesto was founded in 2011 and has expertise in Drupal and Oracle WCS. The new partnership extends the range of services that Manifesto provides, and broadens the skillset of its team.
With Drupal 8 on the horizon, security of the platform will come under new scrutiny. Architectural changes and new modules that come with Drupal 8 release will introduce additional security risks. In an attempt to address these concerns, Drupal announced Drupal 8 Security bug bounty program which will pay for valid security issues found in Drupal 8. This initiative is funded through Drupal 8 Accelerate.
Interested to take part? Find and report security issues by August 31, 2015 at Drupal 8 Bugcrowd.
IBM, Wimbledon’s trusted partner for more than 15 years, extends the contract for another five years and makes headlines promoting the redesigned and enhanced Wimbledon website. When it comes to rising customer expectations, Wimbledon website is a case in point. Tennis fans want it all – they want to see the scores, the queuing times, read the interviews, watch the matches, compare today’s stats with last year’s, you name it. Tennis fans don’t care about fragmented governance of tennis events, which gets in the way of collecting data. They don’t care who owns the copyright on the interviews, and they don’t care about the high traffic that the website has to cope with at peak times (last year, Wimbledon’s website had 17 million unique visitors during the two weeks of the tournament). Tennis fans want outstanding customer experience. Nothing less will do.
Content ownership functionality allows to assign content owners to content assets. This feature is particularly important in the context of the Higher Ed industry, where web managers are fighting the battle against the incorrect, irrelevant and out-of-date content every day.
Login as user allows administrators to temporarily log in as another user without the need to enter their password.
Cascade Server CMS introduces content ownership feature, which helps web managers to identify and correct out-of-date information.
Service Provider Incentro Becomes Hippo CMS Gold Partner
Incentro, a digital agency and systems integrator with offices in Netherlands, Spain and Turkey, became a Hippo CMS Gold Partner. The gold partnership title reflects Incentro’s expertise and experience in Hippo CMS implementations – the company has a track record of six completed Hippo CMS projects and employs 18 Hippo CMS certified developers.
Adobe announces a strategic partnership with Microsoft as the two companies intend to integrate Adobe’s Marketing Cloud suite with Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM solution. This move will give businesses an integrated toolkit for tackling both customer relationship management and marketing. The proposed integration will enable organizations to use customer data in Adobe Marketing Cloud for personalization and sophisticated data harvesting. This alliance aims to strengthen Adobe Marketing Cloud as a means of helping the customers on their journey to customer experience management.
Adobe and Microsoft Announce Partnership at Adobe Summit (EMEA).
OpenText Reviews its Operations
OpenText announced a plan to cut its workforce by 5%. This translates into 425 jobs at risk, although it is unclear at this point which departments and offices will be affected. In the context of numerous acquisitions that fueled OpenText growth for over a decade, this operational review is no surprise; in fact, it is necessary for addressing the overlap in products and departments. In most private companies, including OpenText’s direct competitors, such right-sizing would likely go unnoticed (and certainly unannounced), but OpenText is required to report it due to its public status. Watch this space for more updates on OpenText, as the news unfold.
OpenText employs 8,500 people worldwide.
Appnovation Donates $30,000 to Drupal 8 Accelerate
Seven anchor donors of Drupal 8 Accelerate Fund are: Acquia, Appnovation, Lullabot, Palantir.net, Phase2, PreviousNext, and Wunderkraut.
Hippo CMS 10
Hippo releases the new Hippo CMS 10 version of its platform, which follows the previous version 7.9. Yes that’s right, for Hippo CMS, 7.9 plus one = 10, and no, it’s not just you. We all find it confusing. Version numbers aside, what’s in the release?
True to its tagline – ‘Personalized Experiences Across all Channels’ – Hippo CMS continues to improve personalization and customer experience capabilities. In the latest release, key areas of improvement are:
Hippo’s new Content Performance Platform allows users to view and analyse web analytics in the context of an individual, rather than average visitor. This data helps to convert visitors into customers, and is essential for building an effective personalized content strategy.
In this release Hippo CMS introduces new algorithms for testing and optimization that are designed to be more effective than traditional A/B testing for personalized websites.
Interface and functional improvements for Hippo CMS developers and end users.
IWMW 2015 (Institutional Web Management Workshop) is an annual conference for digital professionals in the UK education sector. This year IWMW 2015 runs under the theme “Beyond Digital: Transforming the Institution,” and takes place in Ormskirk, Lancashire, on 27-29 July 2015.
IWMW brings together web professionals responsible for institutional web services across the UK education sector.
Sitecore Announces 2014 Experience Award Winners in North America
When it comes to Web CMS for Higher Ed, TerminalFour ticks a lot of boxes, so this recent success does not come as a surprise. First and foremost, over the years the company has developed a deep, extensive knowledge of the challenges in Higher Ed. Those include highly devolved organizational structure, admissions process specifics, high volumes of content assets, integration challenges, and the stigma around the role of marketing in academia. Second, TerminalFour consistently provides customer service through training programs, industry events, and high quality support. Third, product development – new features and improvements – is continuous. Strategically, recent developments indicate appetite for further growth.
TerminalFour is on a path to transitioning from the role of a strong contender in Higher Ed selections to a leadership spot. For this transition to be successful, TerminalFour has to move away from the tempting comfort zone of meeting client’s requirements, and take the stance of a visionary, a leader, a vendor that challenges status quo in Higher Ed organisations, and establishes, rather than conforms to, best practices of Web Content Management for Higher Ed.
Pictured, left to right, are Seán Walsh, head of marketing; Elaine Barry, director, operations & client services,
and Piero Tintori, CEO and founder, TERMINALFOUR. Photo courtesy of TERMINALFOUR.
The New Chapter for eZ Systems
eZ Systems is actively working on the new generation of its products: eZ Platform, eZ Studio, and eZ Studio+. Its current system eZ Publish has grown organically over more than 10 years and, like many other Web CMS platforms, became a complex, feature-rich solution. This raises questions. Should the product continue to offer complexity and flexibility, even though utilizing it requires a fairly steep learning curve? Or should the product focus on ease-of-use and follow ‘less is more’ approach, enabling more customers to use more features in the real world? eZ Systems addressed this dilemma by starting an extensive UI review combined with the re-packaging of the current product into three layers:
eZ Platform for technical, advanced users (think APIs, development framework, user rights and permissions, and so on.)
eZ Studio for web editors and business users (editorial environment for creating, managing and delivering content.)
eZ Studio+ for customer experience managers (personalization, analytics, marketing automation.)
CoreMedia, now positioned as a digital experience company, announced CoreMedia v8, a new version of the Java-based web content management and experience platform. CoreMedia’s vision is built around three concepts: connect (companies with their customers), create (content and experiences), and control (technical aspects). The new version 8 sees improvements across all three categories, and includes:
User interface enhancements such as modern design refresh, keyboard shortcuts, progressive disclosure, page-grid layout editor.
New e-commerce capabilities.
Continued focus on omni-channel delivery and responsive design.
Improvements in personalization and user generated content capabilities.
New collaboration and workflow tools.
Multi-site and multi-brand management, localization and translation tools.
The Arrival of Mura Experience Platform
Blue River Interactive Group, the company behind Java-based Mura CMS, announces the arrival of the Mura Experience Platform. Mura Experience Platform provides an easy integration path to popular marketing automation tools (such as Marketo, Silverpop, Eloqua, Pardot), or even remotely hosted applications, microsites and landing pages. This allows Mura customers to track and ‘remember’ customer journeys from start to finish, even when parts of those journeys happen outside the main website. This announcement signals the company’s strategic intent to move beyond basic content management and publishing, and to offer web experience management capabilities that drive business requirements for most CMS projects today.
The importance of Web CMS training
HannonHill, another CMS vendor specializing in Higher Ed, revised its Cascade Server Bootcamp training. Previously this course was delivered over two days. Now HannonHill provides training videos ahead of the course and conducts the training over one full day instead of two. This new format gives customers an opportunity to learn the basics at their own pace, and come to the course ready for advanced learning material. With a lack of platform expertise still being one of the most common reasons for CMS implementation failures, the importance of Web CMS training can hardly be underestimated. HannonHill is already known for its loyal, happy user base; further improvements to training courses will boost the company’s track record in terms of customer satisfaction even further.
Magnolia will host its first Magnolia Conference Americas to support a growing customer base, partners, and prospective clients in North America. Magnolia Conference Americas will take place on May 5-7, 2015, in Silicon Valley, California. Magnolia will also host its annual Magnolia User Conference in Europe, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, in Basel, Switzerland.
The Web Content Management Systems market is crowded, competitive, and fast-moving. With so many vendors and solutions, it can be hard to keep on top of all the latest developments, particularly if your job responsibilities are based around only one CMS platform (or a selected few). This review brings together recent highlights from across the industry, informing you on what’s new in Web Content Management today.
EPiServer + Ektron = EPiServer
EPiServer and Ektron have been making headlines since December 2014 when the two vendors were acquired by a private equity firm Accel-KKR. EPiServer and Ektron subsequently merged to form a single company, which is using the EPiServer name. This raised questions from existing customers and implementation partners about the future direction of both the companies and the products.
Hippo Partners with MRM//McCann
Hippo CMS has partnered with one of the largest digital and marketing agencies, MRM//McCann (formerly MRM Worldwide). Significant agency partnerships are important for CMS vendors and their customers, for two major reasons. First, agencies provide crucial implementation services and bring technology to life in the real world. They tend to have pragmatic, down-to-earth attitudes, and have first-hand knowledge about what is realistically achievable. This in itself is valuable input for the CMS vendor, as it encourages and stimulates continuous development of the CMS product. Second, a partnership between a vendor and an agency acts as an external validation of the CMS product. The agency essentially expresses confidence that the CMS vendor and product is worth its time and resources. At Digital Clarity Group, we consider extensive and established partnerships with service providers as a sign of maturity of the CMS vendor.
Jahia Secures $20m of Funding
Open Source Web Content Management System Jahia secures $20m from a private equity firm Invus. This investment will allow Jahia to improve its marketing operations, accelerate its distribution strategy and partnerships, extend geographical reach, and grow the team to at least double its current size. Jahia’s success reflects the growing significance and maturity of open source WCM platforms.
SharePoint Online Public Website Feature to be Discontinued
You would be forgiven for not paying attention to this announcement from Microsoft. Under the title of Information about changes to the SharePoint Online Public Website feature, it’s easy to disregard this article as insignificant. However, in plain English, this announcement means that SharePoint drops its ambition to serve external websites. Existing customers using SharePoint Online for their external websites will be forced to migrate to a different platform in the next two years. Not exactly a surprising move, but still a nuisance for those customers who are facing a website migration.
Transition from Content Management to Customer Experience in Retail
Recognizing the shift from basic content management to customer experience management (CEM), SDL and Econsultancy conducted a study on Customer Experience Spending. Findings of this study confirmed that the vast majority of retailers recognize the importance of Customer Experience and will be increasing their Customer Experience budgets. The study also highlights integration challenges across systems and technologies used for effective Customer Experience Management, and the unrealized potential of delivering great customer experiences on smartphones and mobiles.
Awards and Recognition
The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management, Q1 2015 names Adobe and Sitecore as leaders. IBM, HP, SDL, OpenText, Acquia, and Oracle are named as strong performers, and Ektron and EPiServer as contenders. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for WCM, Q4 2014 names Adobe, Sitecore, HP, Oracle, IBM, and Acquia as leaders, with Acquia making the biggest leap in comparison to previous years, when it was included in the Magic Quadrant as visionary. The 2014-2015 EContent Top 100 Companies includes the following WCM vendors: Acquia, Adobe, Automattic, Brightcove, CoreMedia, Crafter Software, DNN Corp, Ektron, EPiServer, e-Spirit, Hippo, HubSpot, Ingeniux, Kaltura, Magnolia, Joomla, Oracle, RSuite, SDL, Siteworx, Sitecore, and Skyword.
Changing the World
There’s more to life than work. There’s more to be done than making a profit. If we want to make this world a better place, then merely doing business and making money is just not good enough. Between the product releases, acquisitions and awards, it’s good to see news about laughter, compassion and love. Last year Zengenti (the company behind Contensis) offered disadvantaged, disabled or vulnerable children an opportunity to enjoy the excitement of the circus for a day, through sponsoring Circus Starr’s charity, and Percussion Software donated its Web Content Management System licenses to Flutie Foundation for Autism.