Bridgeline Digital has been through some major changes lately with new management and a new version of the iApps Web Content Management Platform. Now it adds a major partnership with UPS that sees the integration of UPS logistics and fulfillment services, resulting in the full eCommerce package.
The UPS Bake Off
In a conversation with Bridgeline Digital Executive Vice President and CTO, Brett Zucker and Senior VP of Business Development, David Maffei, we heard about a UPS bake-off last July which saw a number of well known web content management vendors vy for the position that Bridgeline Digital has found itself in today.
UPS wanted a CMS/Commerce platform to sell to its 7k logistics customers and they wanted it integrated into the UPS global warehouse backend. To make that happen, Bridgeline integrated the warehouse management system into the iAPPS eCommerce framework.
Together, you have three elements to complete the full Total eCommerce solution:
- iAPPS eCommerce Suite
- UPS warehouse management system
- A Front-end story
Zucker said that it was Bridgeline Digital's front end story that really sold UPS and if you think about it, you can see what it's an important element of any platform offering.
iAPPS is one of only a few .NET based web content management platforms on the market today. It's actually a suite of modules built on top of the iAPPS core framework which includes web content management and commerce as its primary solutions and web analytics and eMarketing as modules. It also includes ISYS — an enterprise search platform — which is built into the framework at no additional cost (similar to what you see with Ektron and FAST - except you pay for FAST).
Along with its own technology, Bridgeline has a number of channel partners including BrightCove, Eloqua and Salesforce on the tech side and VML, Moxie Interactive and 352 media Group on the design/implementation side.
The latest version of iAPPS brought a few enhancements:
- Improvements to the in-context Site Editor
- Global workflows
- Dynamic linking of eCommerce product data to both the website and email content
- Updated Email Wizards and new email properties
- New reporting filters and segments for Analyzer
- and more
iAPPS comes as both a SaaS and an on premises platform, with the SaaS version always offering the latest version (the installer is later released to update the on premises version).
An interesting use case for Bridgeline is that of Shaw. It created the Shaw WebStudio — a wizard that helps a Shaw franchise set up a website and still leverage corporate content alongside franchise content.
Shaw is an example of how Bridgeline Digital's iAPPS platform enables you to build a front-end that can be flexible and suit the needs of the customer. Its professional services team likely helps a lot as well and was another key selling point for UPS.
Today's web experience management (or web engagement management) platforms need to offer the full range of functionality required to meet the needs of the consumer. For retail sites or other sites that require eCommerce capabilities, having that UPS integration in the back will be a bill selling point for Bridgeline.