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Who Wins, Loses in Ektron-EPiServer Web CMS Merger?

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The merger between Ektron and EPiServer announced Tuesday forms a tech alliance that could compete with web content management system giants like Adobe and Sitecore, according to industry analysts.

Or, as one analyst said, it could be "another venture capitalist effort to milk software license maintenance revenues out of an ailing vendor."

"It’s not the first time we’ve seen a struggling software vendor taking a private equity bailout," Boston-based Nucleus Research Vice President Rebecca Wettemann told CMSWire after Accel-KKR bought Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron last month.

Days later, the investment firm bought Stockholm-based EPiServer. This week, it confirmed reports it was merging the entities.

Ektron customers "at least have a clearer view of where the company actually stands," Wettemann said, adding that the first 90 days will be critical to both customer bases as the new executive team lays out its strategy.

Huddle Has a New CEO

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When Huddle won its $51 million round of funding last month, its co-founder and CEO Alastair Mitchell told us the enterprise content collaboration startup would use its newly acquired cash to build out the US market (Huddle was born in the UK, and as many as 60 percent of its customers are  there) as well as to amp-up its sales, marketing and product teams so it could create even more success (than it's already enjoying).

What he didn’t mention, and perhaps the decision had not yet been made, is that the company would also be hiring a new CEO: in other words, his replacement. But it doesn’t seem as though Huddle’s investors or board asked Mitchell to step aside. Instead he said that as the company planned for the next stage of its growth, it was important for them to identify and hire a proven leader who “understood the subtleties of cloud technology and how to bring it to market at scale.” Mitchell will take on the roles of President and CMO.

The man who is now tasked with that job is tech exec Morten Brogger, who will be moving from Luxembourg to San Francisco to take on the challenge.

Belated Holiday Gifts for E-Marketers: Data Reports

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By now, big retailers have dumped the last of their holiday decorations and e-marketers have already started making plans to boost revenue the next time around.

This makes it the most wonderful time if the year to look at the data to find out what worked and what didn't in e-commerce for the 2014 holiday season. Conveniently, two predictive marketing vendors, Custora and Kenshoo, just released complementary studies that are chock full or data points.

Taken together, they confirmed the generalities that other studies have reported: e-commerce is growing rapidly, mobile is grabbing a bigger share the pie and desktop is still dominant. However, they also threw in some granular details about such things as ROI on paid search, revenue in social channels and the growing role of product listing ads (PLA) in the increasingly competitive e-commerce marketplace.

Information Governance Revisited

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Information governance is in the air.

Two days after my last article published, “Push for Strategic Governance in Information Management," Forrester Research released a report called “Reboot your Information Governance Program with an Outside-In Perspective.” Cheryl McKinnon (@cherylmckinnon), an old friend, lead the creation of that report and followed it up with a blogpost, “Information Governance: Not a Product, Not a Technology, Not a Market.”

McKinnon and her colleagues suggest that we view information governance “as a corporate objective, enabled by programs, projects, priorities, people and technology.” This aligns well with my recommendation to take a strategic approach to information governance.

Hortonworks Spreads its Open Source Wings to Bring Governance to Hadoop

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We all know Hortonworks is committed to open source, insisting that it’s the way to innovate on Hadoop and deliver the best enterprise-grade technology to the marketplace. And though its main competitor, Cloudera (or at least a member of its management team) may have taunted that Hortonworks’ business model is “undependable,” Wall Street certainly didn’t agree — its shares soared 65 percent above the opening price on Dec. 12, 2014, its first day of trading as a public company.

Rev Up Your Content and Mobile Customer Experiences

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Congratulations. Your organization is moving down the digital transformation road with content and mobile strategies. There’s no turning back.

But are you exceeding audience expectations with a variety of digital, human and hybrid touches? If you’re unsure, your organization’s content engine — or a more advanced stage known as a Culture of Content (CoC) — might need oil or an overhaul.

How to Story-Sell without Annoying Your Customers

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Creating online experiences that are content-rich as well as easy to transact have become a holy grail for marketers and merchandisers alike.

Apple Profits Pop With iPhone 6 Sales at Home and Abroad

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Apple isn't breaking a sweat over slipping iPad sales: iPhone sales are making up the difference.

In fact, it sold 74.5 million iPhones in the past quarter, some 12 million more than predicted. And that helped generate the largest profit in Apple corporate history: $18 billion on revenues of $74.6 billion.

Apple's cash pile is now $178 billion, which means that if it was in the right frame of mind, it could buy IBM … although IBM actually isn’t all that appetizing.

Q1 Planning: Top Marketing Technology, Social Business Conferences & Events (28-Jan-15)

Our industry event planner gives you the heads-up on what key industry events are coming around the corner. If we've missed something, don't hesitate to add your event to the list. (You can also view the full calendar here.)

You're Invited: Live SharePoint Video

Join CMSWire and RAMP on Feb 3rd for a one-hour webinar to learn more about how enterprise video is going live.

> Register Now

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Wizeline Releases Free Product Management Tool

Wizeline has good news for product managers who have outgrown spreadsheets and presentation software as tools for managing their company’s products.

The product management solutions company just announced its free Wizeline Starter plan, which allows product managers overseeing a single product to evaluate product feature requests, plan and prioritize releases, and develop visual roadmaps.

“It’s all about centralizing the information that's out there,” said Bismarck Lepe, Wizeline founder and CEO, in an interview with CMSWire. “Companies generate a lot of data, but it’s not in a place where it’s very useful. We help companies use the data to make better prioritization decisions, and then track whether the decisions made were the right ones.”

Office 365 Shines, But What About Microsoft Windows?

You’d have to be a forensic accountant to understand Microsoft’s financials. However, a few things are clear from this week's second quarter earnings release.

The first is that the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant is starting to make serious ground in the cloud space. The second is that CEO Satya Nadella’s strategy of revamping and remarketing Windows is needed more than ever. The third: there's no beating Office 365, at least for the moment.

While the numbers triggered only tepid enthusiasm from the financial markets, from an IT perspective there are a lot of positives that show Nadella’s strategy of moving Microsoft from packaged software company to cloud-based software provider is beginning to pay off.

3 Ways to Fight Retail Fraud Without Alienating Customers

Retailers' have a dilemma whose solution will require the most careful of balancing acts.

On one hand, consumers expect to have online and mobile payment technologies available as they increasingly shop from their mobile devices. Indeed, one key recommendation by experts to increase sales is to make the payment process as seamless as possible.

Yet, these technologies directly lead to fraud for the retailer – fraud on the part of their own customers (aka friendly fraud) and from hackers of the ilk that have attacked Target, Home Depot and scores of other stores.

Hence the dilemma. But reading though the lines of two reports chronicling these trends, the barest outline of a solution for retailers begins to emerge.

Managing Digital Experiences with DNN's New Evoq 8

With today’s release of Evoq 8, the latest iteration of DNN’s web content management suite, digital marketers will find it easier to personalize their site content, view and act on real-time visitor stats, and access cloud-hosted digital assets from anywhere, the company claims.

“From a marketing solutions perspective, on the one hand are traditional web CMS for content publishing and on the other hand, there are now more nascent solutions from young companies rooted in predictive analytics, personalization, and content marketing,” said Navin Nagiah, CEO and president of DNN, in a press release.

“Marketers are desperate to bridge that gap. With Evoq 8, we will be one of the few companies to straddle both worlds and deliver measurable ROI to customers.”

Big Data Skills Shortage? Not on MapR's (Pre-IPO) Watch

One of the biggest obstacles to the adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise is the shortage of professionals trained to work with it. According to job posting aggregator Indeed.com, there’s been as much as a 225,000 percent growth in demand for the big data crushing skill since 2009 — and no one is schooling engineers at that rate.

Learning Hadoop, until recently, has been something that passionate, self-directed computer engineers did alone, at leading edge technology-oriented schools like Stanford or as part of the Apache Hadoop community. Some chose a slightly easier way, by paying for training from individual distro vendors like Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR or a few third-party providers.

While it’s not impossible to find “free,” self-paced training  online, most of it is delivered via a freemium model and doesn’t cover the material broadly or deeply enough to pass certification exams. That kind of training often costs hundreds or thousands.

Up until today, that is. This morning big data software and Hadoop distro provider MapR announced free Hadoop On-Demand Training for developers, analysts and administrators that meets certification requirements.

Atlassian Releases Secure Collaboration Platform

Atlassian today released HipChat Server, a communications platform that runs behind a corporate firewall.

The platform addresses the needs of companies in the financial services, government, healthcare and other sectors with stringent security requirements, said Bernardo de Albergaria, vice president and general manager of the collaboration group for Atlassian, a Sydney, Australia-based tech company founded in 2002. (Atlassian acquired San Francisco's HipChat in 2012).

Microsoft's Play to Rule Analytics' 3rd Wave

One billion Excel users may not sleep tonight. It won’t be a problem that keeps them awake, but a new toy. And, get this — it’s free.

Today Microsoft introduces a new Power BI — a service that helps users bring data in, wring value out and visualize the results. It’s geared toward line of business users, not data geeks, and may be pivotal in helping enterprises usher in a “data culture.”

Some may see this new data culture as Microsoft’s birthright (sort of) given that 1 billion workers use Excel today and that analytics is a natural progression. But Microsoft certainly isn’t taking anything for granted. “We’re lowering the barriers to entry by removing the friction and greasing the gears,” said James Phillips, general manager, data experiences at Microsoft. 

The Value Exchange Equation is Shifting

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Marketers are hungry for customer data. Every piece of information about a customer and their interactions with a brand helps marketers create complete customer profiles and guide the ultimate strategy behind the sell. From methodically timing each touchpoint with a potential lead, to personalizing digital content on a website to show each unique visitor what they’d most like to see, the link between data and marketing decisions is undeniable.

But this data isn't always readily available, and customers are hesitant to provide brands with the personal information needed to create this free exchange of profiling and personalizing. The reason is simple — customers don’t see the value in sharing data.

2015 M&A Surges, Set to Break 2014 Records

It's fitting that 451 Research released a study on merger and acquisitions (M&A) on the same day CMSWire shared the news of yet another tech industry merger.

The new research shows that M&A will continue this year — even faster and more furious than in record-setting 2014.

Last year, about $439 billion was spent on tech acquisitions, the most since 2000. The two biggest deals: Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner for almost $70 billion to top the list in February and AT&T purchase of DirecTV Group for “only” $67.1 billion in May.

There were also a number of large M&As involving less well-known brands:  Medical device giant Medtronic acquired Ireland-based Covidien plc in June, and Swiss-based building materials company Holcim bought French cement, construction and concrete supplier Lafarge.

PhotoShelter Launches DAM Solution for 'Companies of All Sizes'

New York City-based PhotoShelter is expanding from a photography website to provider of a targeted digital asset management (DAM) solution. It describes its newly launched product, Libris, as "a highly affordable, feature-rich system" designed to help companies of all sizes "efficiently and securely" organize, manage, access and collaborate with their visual assets. 

PhotoShelter CEO Andrew Fingerman said Libris addresses the visual content marketing needs of companies and organizations that are struggling to manage and capitalize on their time sensitive digital image assets.

"We know visual content is often spread around the organization, sitting on hard drives or partially-shared networks (think Dropbox) which prevents an organization from being able to use them quickly and seamlessly — let alone to ensure the right images are being used in the right places," he told CMSWire. 

If You Build an Online Community, Will They Come?

2015-27-January-Cat-Birdhouse.jpg"If you build it, they will come." This worked for Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams," but when it comes to creating an online community to drive better engagement with your customers, it's not that simple.