It’s been an edgy 18 months for eZ Systems (news, site) with a couple of changes in CEO, new releases and now, only this week, the announcement that it has secured another €3.3 million (US$ 4.47 million) in funding.
Clearly, backers of the open source web content management company are happy not only with the release schedule that aims to release an upgrade every six months, but also with plans for the money, which comes from existing investors and new investors, who haven’t been identified.
According to CEO Gabriele Viebach, who joined eZ only last September, the money will be used principally to upgrade its sales, marketing and partner activities as well as scaling up its capacity to provide global support.
And there lies the key to eZ’s commercial strategy, which has been previously identified as taking its web CMS global, but which appears to have eluded it despite the potential of the software.
When I arrived at eZ, I quickly realized the company's potential with its unique combination of superior product offering, open source community and global enterprise customer base, particularly within Media and Finance.
I am very happy that we now have the resources to accelerate the development of the company into a major global player in the Web Content Management market and exploit our strengths in mobile and multichannel content management," says Viebach.
It’s hard to know whether there is just the tiniest touch of criticism of previous management decisions here and whether this round of funding is as much about building up the company’s international profile as it is about Viebach firmly stamping her mark on the company’s future direction.
But certainly Viebach needs to make her mark. In November 2009, the company appointed Christoph Rau, a 25-year veteran from IBM to succeed Aleksander Farstad, who co-founded the company 11 years ago.
At the time, she is reported to have said that she found everyone friendly and happy and that business continued as usual even after the changeover.
In an interview at the time with CMSWire, we noted that the company spent 2008 restructuring itself and shifting revenue focus from consulting to support contracts. Company founder Aleksander explained how some healthy navel-gazing led to its realization that to chart the right course for the next 10 years, a more experienced leader was needed. That’s when Rau was brought in.
Whatever happened, last September Gabriele Viebach took over the reins, introduced an accelerated growth strategy and here we are in February with US$ 4.47 million in funding and the outline of an expanding global strategy.
eZ Publish in 2011
eZ Publish Web CMS is an adaptable, open source content management platform now in version 4.4 with its principal selling point the ability to allow users to manage and distribute any type of content, from any content source, across any channel.
eZ Systems is still committed to a lifecycle that includes two releases per year. So you should expect the next release of eZ Publish to come sometime March/April 2011. Called Matterhorn, it will include a mobile admin API, improved workflow, redesigned eZ Flow and inline editing, among other UX improvements.
For developers, expect to see the API for mobile apps and a toolkit, semantic web support and targeted content publishing. For enterprise customers, official API support, analytics and multivariate testing are in the works. Interesting times ahead for eZ.