Elie Auvray

Ask Elie Auvray to define digital experience (DX) and you get a simple answer.

For Auvray, CEO and co-founder of Geneva, Switzerland-based Jahia Solutions Group, DX is all about convergence: convergence of technology, convergence of tasks and convergence of people. 

It's a belief deeply embedded into the foundation of Jahia, an open source digital experience platform that unifies CMS, portal, digital marketing and commerce. Since it was founded in 2002 by Auvray and web technology veteran Serge Huber, Jahia’s vision has been one of convergence.

The goal has been to unify web content management, digital marketing and portal aggregation capabilities and reduce software silos and third-party component segmentation to enable users to focus on what really matters — relevant customer relationships.

Great DX, Auvray said, is part of Jahia's DNA. And as digital transformation becomes an increasingly important priority, Jahia's growth is also accelerating.

In February, Jahia closed on $22.5 million from Invus, a New York City-based investment firm. Auvray said Jahia is using the money to fuel growth and expand global reach, especially in the enterprise space. 

Since then, Jahia has entered a partnership with translations.com, opened an office in Germany and, more recently, earned recognition as a niche player on analyst firm Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals.

Auvray will be taking part in a DX Visionaries roundtable discussion at CMSWire's DX Summit next week at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. We caught up with him in advance to get a preview of his thoughts.

Converged Digital Experience

Roe: What's the message you want to deliver at DX Summit?

Auvray: That digital experience is defined by one word. Convergence. This is essentially what we foresaw with the creation of Jahia in 2002. We foresaw the fact that a lot of capabilities that were one separate would converge to provide exceptional customer experience in a digital age. 

There is no such thing as a digital customer anymore. There is just the customer. This means customers that have engagement with brands in physical stores expect to have the same engagement on its digital channels.

Roe: So this is what is driving Jahia?

Auvray: We have always been a digital experience company. At the time we launched the concept of a digital experience platform didn’t exist. Back then, analysts didn’t understand.

It was difficult to explain that we were not just a content management system, that we were not just a web content management system, we were not just a portal. We had this idea of convergence. And now, with digital marketing and digital content on top of that, we set up as the convergence deliverer.

Today analysts talk about convergence and digital experience platforms all the time. When you look at their definition, it's exactly what we have been doing. It’s not just a question of twisting the software to fit changing markets.

Roe: Why is convergence so important?

Auvray: Convergence is the core of the digital experience. Digital experience is defined by the convergence of capabilities and internally by the convergence of work by people that did not used to work together before, and who must work together.

Roe: Why is there so much confusion about digital experience?

Auvray: The reason there is so much confusion is that there are so many acronyms. You can talk to hundreds of companies that pretend to deliver improvements to the digital experience, even if they come from a completely different software area than digital experience.

If you talk to a company in change of SEO it will tell you that it can give you a 360-degree view of the customer. If you talk to a simple contact management system provider, it will tell you the same thing. Everyone claims to be doing it.

There are products for CIOs, there are products for CEOs, there are products for CMOs — all designed to provide better engagement with customers. However, the truth is, if you try and pull the offerings for CIOs and CEOs together you have to pull together several different technologies.

In practical terms this is where the confusion arises. 

Roe: Name five things you have in refrigerator.

Auvray: I have nothing in my refrigerator. You know why? Because I just moved to San Francisco to support Jahia's growth in the US market and I haven’t had time to put anything in there yet.