Once upon a time personalization was a magic and wonderful word. The promises came and went, largely unfulfilled. That's not to say that the technology didn't work. It did. Nor is it to say that the basic ideas were bad. They weren't. The problems by and large were related to how people attempted to use the stuff and the complexities and costs related to integrating it.
Amazon and others have continued to pursue the grail, if in modest strokes. Now were seeing web content management vendors investing in this direction. I say "grand!" If it's done simply and with out too much ambition, personalization can be a great tool.
A Small Resurgence
Most recently we saw Vignette announce their Vignette Recommender personalization product. Open Text / RedDot have been offering their Personalization Server as part of their overall experience management solution. And today Percussion is set to announce a new Personalization Solution bundle as an add-on for their Rhythmyx Web Content Management software.
Not all these products do the same thing of course. Vignette and RedDot offer recommendations that are both rules based and based on statistical analysis of search or other behaviors. Percussion's new Personalization Solution works off an easy to understand segmentation plus rules approach.
Background on Percussion
To wrap a little context around today’s news, Rhythmyx is the enterprise-grade web content management solution proffered by Percussion Software.
Out in the rough and tumble, the product most often stacks up against the likes of Interwoven, SDL Tridion and Open Text’s RedDot. Their concept of Solutions is marketing speak for a functionality bundle that builds on top of the core product. Sometimes these things are free -- as with their FastForward Solution (PDF) -- and sometimes they are not.
Percussion Personalization Solution
This new offering sees its first public announcement today. With the Personalization Solution, organizations can create a “personal” messaging experience for their online audiences by tracking visitor behaviors and optimizing site presentation. The key benefits touted by the company include:
* Delivering consistent messaging dynamically across multiple channels
* Creating geo-targeted promotions
* Tuning the site based on visitor behavior
* Displaying recommendation lists based on personas
* Segmenting and tagging content automatically for the right audience
The software bundle is something that evolved in the field, driving off the needs of Percussion's existing customer base.
Architecture of the Solution
Those of you familiar with the Rythmyx Web CMS product know that it implements a "baking" approach to rendering content -- that is, the CM typically sits in the back office and then pushes assembled content or pages out to a delivery tier. Then the delivery tier handles the assembly of the final interface, other interactivity, etc. With the Personalization Solution, the CMS bakes both content, segmentation data and rules and pushes them out to the website delivery tier.
Availability and Pricing
The Personalization Solution is not free, but as of press time here in the CMSWire garage, the final numbers had not been finalized. The plan is to have the software commercially available within the next month. And the company says it will run on all standard platforms including Windows, Red Hat Linux and Sun Solaris.
Stay tuned here as the Web CMS Personalization story evolves.