Fifteen-year-old CrownPeak, one of the original Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) web content management providers, merged today with a London-based digital quality management provider. 

Los Angeles-based CrownPeak is joining with London-based ActiveStandards, which provides digital quality management (DQM) products. The merged companies will operate under the CrownPeak name. 

The changes usher in some executive changes. CrownPeak's Jim Yares, formerly the chief operating officer, is the new CEO of the merged company. ActiveStandards CEO Simon Lande and CrownPeak’s former CEO, Jim Howard, will remain as advisors to the combined company, which will now include more than 100 employees.

CrownPeak will still be based in Los Angeles and will have an office in London. Howard served as CrownPeak's CEO since co-founding the company with Carl Sutter in 2001. It has more than 200 customers today.

Meanwhile, CrownPeak also announced some new capital. El Segundo, Calif. investor K1 Investment Management, an existing capital partner, gave CrownPeak another $50 million to support a re-launch as well as future product enhancements.  

Experience Meets Quality

Company officials said the merger will create the only cloud-first digital experience management platform that features built-in digital quality management. 

Yares told CMSWire the combined company enables the only cloud-first Digital Experience Management platform that features built-in DQM, content management, personalization, search, social media management, analytics and global hosting.

What do existing CrownPeak customers get? Digital quality management capabilities for the experiences they manage with their CrownPeak DXM subscription.

What do ActiveStandards customers get? The option for a cloud-based DXM platform.

"It allows us," Yares said, "to augment and bolster the implementations of our competitors by offering DQM to our competitor’s customers. It dramatically increases our European marketing, sales and customer support presence. It establishes a platform into which we can make additional strategic acquisitions."

The two companies had worked together before the merger. They offered an integrated offering with several joint clients including some of world’s largest insurance, financial services and pharmaceutical companies, company officials said. The ActiveStandards platform will now be called “CrownPeak Digital Quality Management” and remains as a standalone solution.

Other integrated capabilities include:

  • Native, cloud shared-service platform to standardize development of websites and digital experience layers across large enterprises
  • Ability to enforce quality and compliance standards across every website, both pre- and post-publication
  • Dashboards providing visibility across digital touchpoints
  • Deployment architecture that enables digital experiences to be deployed as “front end” across multiple legacy applications to create digital experiences

Analysts' Take

CrownPeak hasn't gone unnoticed in Web CMS. In its July 2015 Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, Gartner named CrownPeak a "visionary." Gartner ranks companies as either leaders, challengers, visionaries or niche players. 

In the report, Gartner analysts Mick MacComascaigh and Jim Murphy called CrownPeak an experienced SaaS provider that has "grown strongly in the past few years, gaining new customers and expanding within its installed base."

They praised CrownPeak's service architecture which they said brings scalable, flexible, pay-as-you-go and continuous innovation qualities. 

"It provides excellent ongoing follow-up with customers to obtain their input into its roadmap and development on, for example, out-of-the-box connectors to third parties," they wrote.

The authors did report that CrownPeak's marketing effectiveness has lagged behind its vision and that its market visibility is relatively low. It does not, the authors added, provide "such a comprehensive set of capabilities" as some of the other Web CMS leading vendors.

Gleanster Research has named CrownPeak one of the best Web CMS vendors.

Web CMS industry watcher Tom Wentworth, now the chief marketing officer of predictive analytics provider RapidMiner in Cambridge, Mass., told CMSWire CrownPeak never quite caught up to leaders like Adobe and Acquia (the latter is Wentworth's former company).

“CrownPeak was an early pioneer in SaaS web content management with a good product and vision, but only moderate success relative to competitors like Adobe and Acquia," Wentworth said. "The merger with ActiveStandards adds a compelling set of compliance and governance capabilities to CrownPeak that will help them better differentiate, especially in highly regulated industries like financial services and pharma.”

ActiveStandards was formerly known as Magus

Title image of Jim Yares from his Twitter page