The latest major release of web experience management vendor EPiServer takes a responsive design approach to multichannel content management that gives more control to marketers to create a single brand experience.
Busy Building Great Web Experiences
To get the scoop on all the changes that come with EPiServer 7, we chatted with Bob Egner, VP of Product Development and Global Marketing at EPiServer. Enger told us that EPiServer now has around 4700 customers with annual revenue around US$ 40 million. A Sweden based WEM provider, EPiServer has 210 employees worldwide with 30 of those in the US, showing that its US presence is starting to take shape nicely.
EPiServer is about more than web content management, which may be how many might know the vendor. It's now a platform that offers digital marketing and online sales, along with a strong core web content management platform.
The last time we saw a major release from EPiServer was over a year ago, but there have been a number of pretty important platform enhancements since that time. Some of these things play a direct role in EPiServer's ability to deliver multi-channel web experience.
A sample of these "in between updates":
- EPiServer Adds Google Analytics to Its Customer Experience Platform
- EPiServer Introduces Real-Time SEO Advice
- EPiServer Makes Multi-Channel Social Engagement Easier
- EPiServer Gets SEO Manager Add-On for Web CMS
Putting Agility in the Hands of Marketers
EPiServer 7 isn't just aimed at marketers, but these people get a lot of attention and new capabilities to support the challenges they face marketing across multiple channels and different devices.
To start, marketers can now handle content for multiple channels in one interface and preview how that content will appear across the different devices used customers. Content reuse has been made easier with the addition of small content elements that can be moved around and added as needed. This is all thanks to a brand new responsive design for the platform.
Thanks to the Google Analytics integration earlier in the year (see above), EPiServer now enables marketers to tie in analytical information across channels via tracking tags. And real-time SEO capabilities offer best practices for getting found via search queries.
To improve engagement, Enger told us that to go along with EPiServer's segmentation tools (which allows the grouping of visitors into segments) marketers can now also recognize the visitor's context (eg, devices and interactions), and personalized the experience based on this information. This context is being captured across devices and channels and marketers can see this in Google Analytics.
Also note that if an organization has a different analytics tools in-house other than GA, EPiServer offers the source code for this new tagging and tracking capability to use in another tool.
On the social engagement side, EPiServer offers both communities and the ability to publish content out to social networks.
Easing the Job of EPiServer Developers
Enger let us know that developers were also a big focus of this latest release. It's now easier to build sites out, thanks to a strongly typed model and content blocks built into the platform. EPiServer 7 has full support for both Web Forms and MVC (note, EPiServer is a Microsoft.net based Web CMS).
The device display was built by EPiServer and includes different previews for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. It is configurable, so as new devices come out the platform can support them without major effort.
Thanks to its modular approach, we will continue to see new integrations (like Google Analytics and the SEO Manager mentioned above). EPiServer has strong community via EPiServer World (17k developers participate in the community today) and an Add-On store where developers can pick up and integrate new modules.
According to Enger, EPiServer has implementation partners who are building integrations to the platform, as well as tech partners and other third party developers creating their own apps to integrate.
And since EPiServer is Microsoft-based, we asked about capabilities to support the new Windows 8 experience. Enger told us that they were looking at the touchable interfaces of Windows 8 and they have taken some important implementation steps to make EPiServer web experiences touchable.
Creating One Brand Experience
Enger said that EPiServer started out as a web content management platform, but has evolved beyond that to engagement (both web and customer). He agrees with analysts who say that web content management is very much commoditized today, but sees the gap as being how to better manage content on a more granular scale which allows the creation of one brand experience across channels.
That's what EPiServer 7 is all about. And yes, it easily takes its place among a number of the CXM vendors on the market today.