When business is doing great, you don't just sit back and ride the wave -- you go out find yourself a Chief Technology Officer. At least that's what Ektron did.
New To Ektron, Not to CXM
The general rule of thumb these days is grab someone who's been around the block a while and knows the ins and outs of the business. Ektron has already shown this by bringing on board former Autonomy/Interwoven exec Neil Miller to head up Business Development for its CXM platform
Now, they nab former Oracle/Endeca CTO, Tim McKinnon, to take on the same position for their company. This is actually a brand new position for Ektron. In the past, it has been Ektron's CEO Bill Rogers who made all the CTO decisions. But, a sure sign that business is doing well, there's just too much to do for one man -- time to bring on a dedicated CTO.
As CTO at Endeca (recently acquired by Oracle), McKinnon led e-Business initiative. McKinnon told me that his mission with Endeca was accomplished and that although he knew the company would do well with Oracle, the path it was on now is different from his vision. His decision to go with Ektron is directly related to his interest in customer experience. He said that Ektron was still small enough to be nimble and innovative, but big enough that it had the resources, customer base and the existing product to build on -- enabling Ektron to move quickly in the CXM market.
The Truth in is the Search
Before Endeca, McKinnon was a chief technologist for Microsoft's Digital Marketing Platform Group (to get there, he came from the FAST acquisition). Suffice it to say he's been around and knows a thing or two about not only traditional search, but search as it applies in the bigger context of customer experience.
A quick scan through McKinnon's work history shows his experience with search -- particularly with FAST search. This is very likely a key driver to getting on board with Ektron.
Ektron's roadmap will continue to look at how search can support more contextual, personalized experiences. This includes how search operates on big data, and extends both automation and optimization capabilities that improve the customer experience.
Ektron has taken FAST search tightly under its wing and made it a key part of its Customer Experience Platform. In December, Ektron officially announced the integration of FAST to offer personalization and page generation. As one of the first Microsoft partners to leverage FAST for a better, contextual experience, it makes sense that Ektron would want someone in the driver seat who understands search technology well.
But, just because McKinnon has a strong background in FAST, doesn't mean it's the only search engine we should expect Ektron to integrate with down the road.
The addition of Tim to Ektron’s world-class leadership team builds on Ektron’s momentum as we look to retain our leadership status within the customer experience space,” said Bill Rogers, Ektron founder and CEO. “Tim’s accomplishments in enterprise search and customer experience management makes him the ideal technologist to lead Ektron’s next-generation value proposition and supporting technology implementation."
McKinnon's time with Microsoft's Digital Marketing Platform Group also provided him with a good look at web content management and collaboration (SharePoint) and digital advertising. All key technologies for Customer Experience Management, and a key partnership with Microsoft that Ektron intends to build on.
McKinnon says that Ektron is in a market among giants and he believes that Ektron is in the position to move quickly and out-pace the competition. The CTO role comes with a big pair of shoes, and it does seem like McKinnon is ready to fill them and take Ektron to the next level. As usual, we'll be watching to see.