Ektron, a prominent .NET Web CMS provider, has debuted version 9 of its core product, and the focus is on things like personalization and targeting, two popular themes in digital marketing and mobile.
Responsive Design, Mobile Tooling
Due to the proliferation of various sized mobile devices from tablets, smartphones and the new, larger so called superphones (think five inch screens), more and more CMSes are trying to figure out how to get content to adapt disparate screen sizes.
One popular way to do this is to use what's often called responsive design. Instead of building separate websites for a mobile browser, a system can be made to force existing contet to, in essense, resize itself to fit different device sizes. Some website elements are easier to configure for this purpose than others, and that sometimes means things need to disappear in order to fit on a 3.5 inch screen.
Nevertheless, the challenge is in how to make a website functional and stylish whether on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone without having to build dozens of different templates. Ektron tries to accomodate this by using what it calls breakpoints that allow for customers to design pages for a group of devices rather than by piecemeal.
Breakpoints can be set for a range of devices by varying screen size, and when a webpage detects a device that fits the breakpoint, it will know to resize the content according to the template. Content can also be previewed at a closer level by checking how it will look on particular devices, not just according to screen size. There's even a swap images tool for switching out an image in favor of another according to the device type.
Drag and drop different images to use on different devices in Ektron 9's responsive design tools.
Personas + Targeting
Obviously, mobile device proliferation is major pain point for CMSes, but the other big one is digital marketing. Marketing is a fast changing area that large enterprise software often simply can't keep up with, so many vendors simply allow for integrations with marketing systems
Ektron does this as well, but with version 9, it has also baked in more native marketing functions like allowing for personas to be created based on attributes in a CRM or marketing automation system. What will a site look like to a current customer versus a partner, or a first time visitor versus someone who's closer to being ready to buy? Build site versions (or parts of a site) for each of these groups to make each visit more meaningful and relevant
Ektron has also included search capabilities based on SOLR, and its faceted and near real time search ability is also configured to work with Ektron APIs. Ektron 9 comes just a couple of months after the release of version 8.7, itself not a minor update. On the other hand, the company did just close a round of private financing to push its mobile and cloud capabilities, so launching Ektron 9 on the heels of its fundraising achievement was likely preordained. The company is holding a webinar June 25 to show off the new system, so head on over if you're considering Ektron 9 or even if you are a competitor who wants to poke around.