eZ Systems has launched eZ Publish 5.2, a short term release that adds a suite of digital marketing and customer experience management (CXM) tools to the mid market focused Web CMS.

Updates for Community and Enterprise Editions

As an open source CMS, eZ Systems offers a free Community Edition and an Enterprise Edition, the latter of which is the focus of the digital marketing and CXM tools. Community Edition users will see a bevy of upgrades as well, because eZ Publish 5.2 features an extended dual kernel architecture originally added to the initial v5.1 build.

Both editions of eZ Publish now have an upgraded caching system for speeding up page load times, and native support for multisite publishing. These under the hood improvements now make v5.2 the preferred version when developing new sites, Nicolas Pastorino, eZ Systems vice president of marketing said in an interview.

Additionally, the underlying Web framework, Symfony2, has been upgraded to its own 2.3 Long Term Support version that allows developers to base applications on a more stable system. There's also now support for a variety of commenting systems like Facebook or Disqus via semantic configuration. PHP and REST APIs now include a Javascript based client to help developers speed up creation of apps, Pastorino said.

Since eZ Publish 5.2 is not a long term support version, some of the Enterprise Edition customers may choose to wait until May 2014 to upgrade. Version 5.3 is scheduled to debut then, Pastorino said. Even so, customers are happy to see the rebuilt architecture within the 5.x series, he said, something that opens the door for really long term projects.

"The new stack makes multichannel publishing much easier, and simplifies integration with other systems," Pastorino said.

image-ezpublishleadformcapture-2013.png

eZ Publish 5.2 Enterprise Edition includes a lead form capture tool to map forms to a contact database. The lead image is of the drip email campaign builder.

CXM Plus Digital Marketing Tools

Free Community Edition users will see plenty of benefits in the 5.2 release, but the real power comes from the segmentation, lead management and marketing automation tools for Enterprise Edition users. eZ Publish has around 450 customers on the Enterprise version, Pastorino said, so it will interesting to see how they roll out these features over the next year.

With many open source systems, marketing tools are often an afterthought, and now eZ Publish has jumped into this game with gusto. A partnership with Net Results provides eZ Publish with its marketing automation tool, and it includes the ability to segment website visitors based on on site activity, for example.

Pastorino called it a natural evolution, and from a business perspective, that is true for many digital properties. Having the ability to track site visitors and build profiles is now possible in eZ Publish 5.2, he said, so marketers will no doubt be looking forward to seeing it in action.

The digital marketing suite includes three segments: marketing automation, analytics and CXM tools like segmentation and personalization. These tools are all provided by third party systems, but they do cost extra, and are provided by eZ Systems partners in various regions around the world.

On the marketing automation side, there's a landing page builder that lets non technical users use pre built forms to help create new campaigns. There's also a social media publishing tool for scheduling Facebook and Twitter posts, lead scoring, database segmentation and CRM integration within this segment.

On the analytics side, there's an added odoscope -- a tool that shows the nature of all traffic visits, ad hoc filtering, a customizable dashboard and statistical reports. Furthermore, there's a tool called Live Viewer for detailed tracking of what is happening with site visitors in real time. Having this data allows for real time updates and feedback for news editors, social managers and front page managers.

Since media companies represent the largest industry vertical for eZ Publish, this tool may indeed come in handy. On the personalization and segmentation side, the Recommendation Service tool allows updates to be made on any device to target exactly the right audience. It combines the analysis of an audience's behavior with the learning of the metadata of content. 

Predefined scenarios can be deployed in only a few clicks to help drive traffic, and ideally, sales. eZ Publish 5.2 looks to be taking on the Acquia/Drupals of the world with this kind of marketing capability, and indeed, Drupal is one of eZ Publish's main competitors, Pastorino said. Once the eZ Publish 5.3 LTS support comes out in 2014, it will be fun to compare it with the forthcoming Drupal 8.

Both systems will likely continue to focus on the digital marketing side of things, and this could even help them compete against the more commercial offerings we see in enterprises. 2014 should be the most fast paced year to date in the competitive digital landscape!