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Not a Rumor: Accel-KKR Invests in EPiServer

Say what you will, but sometimes the scuttlebutt that emerges through Twitter (and that we report on) happens to be the truth, or pretty close to it anyways. We can now confirm that Accel-KKR has made a “majority investment” in (and may very well own — read on) EPiServer. This news comes to us direct from EPiServer, which says that it can’t provide further comment right now.

Hats-off to Martin Henricson, CEO of EPiServer, for letting his customers, partners, employees and anyone else who might be affected by the news know that there’s something significant going on.

Keeping Up with Evolving Business Processes

Thumbnail image for 2014-08-December-OfficeBeverlyGoodwin.jpgAbout a dozen years ago, many companies adopted rolling budgets as a way to update their financial outlook constantly instead of waiting for the end of the quarter or year. Essentially, they viewed each new month as the start of a new year, allowing them to adjust to the future based on trends of the recent past.

Ah, the good old days. Today things move much faster, not just with budget planning but with virtually every business process in almost every large company.

John Burton, CEO of Nintex, argues that this evolution in business processes stems largely from the explosion in unstructured data that allows teams of employees to react to new data, the needs of mobile workers, price changes, social media or other factors that come into play.

CMSWire asked him to share his point of view from the helm of a company that creates workflows for about 5,000 clients.

IDC: 10 Predictions For Emerging Technologies In 2015

Thumbnail image for 2014-08-December-Passing-Platform.jpgWhether you realize it or not, every day you work on what International Data Corporation (IDC) describes as the third platform. By the end of next year, you will be doing a lot more work on it and using its technologies.

The rise and expansion of the third platform has reached a tipping point according to IDC, and with the growth of investments in the Internet of Things, big data, data centers, mobile and social computing, there is, in effect, no way of avoiding it.

Ektron: Good or Bad Software? Depends On Who You Ask

2014-08-December-Coin-Toss.jpgSale. Investment. No sale. No investment. Merger with EpiServer. No merger with EpiServer.

Whatever the heck's happening at Ektron, this is a technology company.

And the future of the Nashua, NH-based .NET Web CMS provider comes down to a simple question: Do people like its software?

The answer depends on who you ask. Some say its usability is poor. Others think the product's never been stronger. Some think its lifetime support model is its sweet spot. Others say that support's inconsistent.

"My take is that the product has never been stronger compared to older versions but that the competition in the CMS market is full of strong players that are rapidly expanding into the ‘content marketing’ world," said Chris Chodnicki, co-founder and executive director of strategic partnerships and alliances at R2integrated, a Baltimore-based Ektron partner. "If the funding means Ektron can integrate their product to meet the challenges we are seeing with clients and what other platforms are bringing — and at a very accelerated pace — then this will be welcomed news."

Content and Commerce: Where Do We Go From Here?

2014-08-December-Weather-Vane.jpgForrester said it best in the title of a report: "Content and Commerce: The Odd Couple or The Power Couple?" According to the report, companies need cohesive digital customer experiences, but marketing and e-commerce groups often operate in silos with differing objectives, leading to a poorly integrated digital presence that confuses the customer, is difficult to manage and leaves revenue on the table.

IDC's Look at the Future of Social Technologies

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It’s that time of year when everyone is looking back to see how they've done and looking forward to see how much more they can do. And according to Framingham, Mass.-based IDC (International Data Corporation), social technologies can be a major driver of organizational transformation in 2015.

Stop Pulling Teeth: A Better Way to Classify Documents

2014-08-December-Dentist.jpgThere are really only two ways to get your content classified: You require manual tagging by setting fields as required, or you use automation and stop fighting your users.

People hate to upload a document only to find that there's a half dozen fields to fill in before they can finish the upload process. This approach may seem easy, but often times it creates a love/hate relationship with SharePoint — users see it as a limitation of SharePoint and will turn to a file share or Dropbox instead.

Alternately, they take the easy way out and fill the fields with the first entry in the drop-down, resulting in metadata that is populated, but wrong. Required manual tagging becomes yet another thing users have to do to get their work done.

3 Takes on the Future of Document Management

When you're choosing document management software (DMS) you have to look to the future. Whichever platform you select will impact the way you do business for the next five to 10 years at least — so don't  be shortsighted when making your decision.

Enterprise content resides on all web environments and so integrations between DMSs and Web CMSs are becoming crucial. So the importance of “future-proofing” document management was top of mind for me when I attended Amplexor’s Future of Document Management event in Belgium last week. Amplexor designs, builds and runs DMS projects for enterprises. With over a decade of experience in the Enterprise Content Management field, it knows who the visionaries in the field are. On Nov. 20 it got them all in one room.

Shep Hyken: A Guy Who Embraced Customers Before It Was Popular

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Anyone who knows anything about customer experience (CX) knows Shep Hyken.

Hyken is a go-to source for anything related to CX. He's also a professional speaker and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build lasting relationships with their customers and employees.

In addition to writing in hundreds of publications, he is the bestselling author of "Moments of Magic," "The Loyal Customer," "The Cult of the Customer," "The Amazement Revolution" and, most recently, "Amaze Every Customer Every Time." He is also the creator of The Customer Focus program, which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

Did we mention he's the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations — a company he founded in 1983?

Organizational Ego is Eating Trust

I had reason to visit the International Monetary Fund website recently. Based on its content, the IMF is an organization overflowing with ego. Dominating the homepage was IMF chief Christine Lagarde with a very large picture of herself. In imperious language we are told that Lagarde “welcomes the pledge by the G-20 group of advanced and emerging economies to step up efforts to boost growth and create jobs.” 

Week in Review: Behind Ektron's Buyout + Meet the New Dropbox for Business

Behind the Ektron Buyout
Investment or sale? Maybe a merger? Ektron's big news.

DAM Pack Leaders
Forrester taps its top two for DAM for CX.

Mobile's Place in Enterprise
Eight ways to integrate mobile in enterprises.

30,000-Foot View of SharePoint
Why SharePoint's far from done.

New Dropbox for Business
Who'll be the Dropbox for business? Dropbox.

Don't Discount Google and Gmail
Psst, Microsoft: See what Gmail users can do.

Turbo Charge Your Marketing with Big Data
How to Raise Conversions & Improve ROI
Download White Paper

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Is Newly Sold Ektron Merging with EPiServer?

It's hard to separate fact from fiction in the continuing saga of Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

But we wanted to share the newest rumor this morning — namely, that the company that just bought Ektron is also buying EPiServer and has plans to combine the technologies.

Company President Tim McKinnon, the guy who runs the day-to-day operations at the web content management firm, told CMSWire today that he doesn't know anything about the alleged merger.

But McKinnon also told us yesterday that Ektron's minority investor — a private equity firm called Accel-KKR was not buying the company — just before a document that refutes that statement surfaced online. You can view it in the story here.

OpenText Buys Actuate: Beginning of a New Era for ECM?

When content management was introduced in the 1980s, it was cutting-edge, even bleeding edge and promised to transform the ways in which we work and do business. Getting “the right information, to the right people at the right time” was its promise. Much of that its promise has been realized, at least in terms of what we thought of as “information.”

But the world, back then, wasn’t digitized the way it is today. Data was far more static and when we heard “tsunami,” we thought of a dangerous wave of water rather than a wave of information that held the potential for tremendous opportunity. How times have changed.

And for content management vendors, today’s world of big data, small data and analytics opens the door for transformation. By harnessing their existing offerings and leveraging 3rd platform tools, enterprises will be able to engage with their customers and employees in more valuable ways — whether they ‘re pushing the right offerings to customers more intelligently, learning more about which products and services to put to market, becoming alert to customer problems before they become big problems and working more intelligently and more collaboratively with employees and business partners.

Once Red Hot Ektron Reportedly Sells for Paltry Sum

Privately held companies have it easy: they can vaguely boast of double-digit growth, record profits, strong cash balances and bright futures even when reality seems to suggest otherwise. At least that seems to be the case with Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

The web content management firm, which was consistently ranked one of the fastest growing tech companies in New England in the early 2000s, seems to have come to a stunningly disappointing end.

(UPDATE: Ektron confirmed to CMSWire this afternoon that it closed a second round of equity funding with Accel-KKR, but stopped short of acknowledging a sale.

In a conversation with CMSWire's Virginia Backaitis, Ektron President Tim McKinnon claimed the company is profitable and growing — and contended that rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

In a press release issued mid-afternoon today, McKinnon stated that the Accel-KKR investment "provides strong support for Ektron as it delivers upon its vision and mission to provide solutions to customers," and adding that the company is "well positioned for continued growth in 2015."

Greg Williams, managing director at Accel-KKR and a member of the Ektron board, noted in the statement that the private equity firm has been "more than impressed by the momentum, profitable growth in the business and the results the team at Ektron have been achieving."

The press release contains no comments from — or makes any mention of — Ektron CEO and co-founder Bill Rogers.)

IBM is Offering Watson Analytics - At No Charge

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IBM just announced a new use for Watson, its supercomputer: a freemium analytics service that's available to all business users. It provides business professionals a unified experience and natural language dialogue so they can make better use data to achieve business goals, IBM claims.

Since it announced a very limited beta in September, IBM claims 22,000 people have signed up for the service. That seems way below the minimum threshold needed to make this a viable business, which may explain why the company is now opening it up to everyone. The freemium service will automate the once time-consuming tasks of data preparation, predictive analysis and visual storytelling for business professionals.

Spanning Expands Cloud Data Protection to Office 365

2014-05-December-Copies.jpg"What if?" This question plagues companies who have made the move to the cloud. In spite of reassurances of data security and efforts by providers to back data up, the worst case scenario is never far from mind. Spanning, just over a month after its acquisition by EMC, is offering Office 365 users a solution to help manage that "what if" scenario.

The new cloud-to-cloud backup solution is designed from the ground up to work with desktops, tablets and mobile devices and offers access to all enterprise data wherever employees are working and through their preferred device.

Want to Retain Your Customers? Get Personal

Many marketers are stuck in the personalization slow lane. Personalization is no longer a luxury reserved for big players like Amazon but is an expectation. So marketers who want to keep up with the competition must employ a personalization strategy. The good part? It's easier than ever to get on board with personalization. A number of tools exist that will amass customer data for you and provide you with opportunities to tailor your customers' online experience.

But there's one area where personalization can have impressive effects — customer retention.

Videos for Experiences, Sounds for the Sightless, Pictures for Words

The latest in personalizing, opening doors and enhancing from the Melting Pot, Utah's Dixie, the Birthplace of American Liberty and The City.

Promoter.io Gets $1M to Grow Customer Loyalty

San Antonio, Texas-based startup Promoter.io has raised $1 million and launched a new software platform that it claims helps you better understand and leverage your most loyal customers.

The company will use an established loyalty metric and methodology known as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to rank the loyalty of a customer database. Promoter.io's software will use NPS to help companies understand how loyal their customers are and cultivate the strongest "promoters" to help build the company's products and brands.

Marketing to Millennials: You're Doing it Wrong

2014-05-December-Reader.jpgMillennials have it rough. Not only have they come of age in the worst economy since the Great Depression, but log on to any news site and you’re likely to find them assailed by older generations as selfie-taking, text-a-holic, unemployable idlers.

But perceptions of millennials are beginning to shift. A number of recent articles point out that millennials are not somehow worse than boomers or gen X, they’re just different. These differences touch many aspects of millennials’ lives — from work ethic and prioritization, to spending habits and how they use technology.

As a demographic, they present obstacles for marketers. To understand these obstacles and overcome them, it’s important to first understand what makes millennials tick.