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Ektron Web CMS (Ektron) News, Reviews

Who Wins, Loses in Ektron-EPiServer Web CMS Merger?

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The merger between Ektron and EPiServer announced Tuesday forms a tech alliance that could compete with web content management system giants like Adobe and Sitecore, according to industry analysts.

Or, as one analyst said, it could be "another venture capitalist effort to milk software license maintenance revenues out of an ailing vendor."

"It’s not the first time we’ve seen a struggling software vendor taking a private equity bailout," Boston-based Nucleus Research Vice President Rebecca Wettemann told CMSWire after Accel-KKR bought Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron last month.

Days later, the investment firm bought Stockholm-based EPiServer. This week, it confirmed reports it was merging the entities.

Ektron customers "at least have a clearer view of where the company actually stands," Wettemann said, adding that the first 90 days will be critical to both customer bases as the new executive team lays out its strategy.

Told You So: Ektron is Merging with EPiServer

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Accel-KKR, the private equity firm that closed 2014 by buying Stockholm-based EPiServer and Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron, today confirmed what CMSWire reported more than seven weeks ago.

It's combining the two web content management systems (CMS) under the EPiServer name to "create the most complete digital experience platform in the cloud."

The news came at the exact time winter storm Juno was pummeling Ektron's New England headquarters — an irony not lost on former employee Fred Bals. Bals, who left Ektron in November after five years as manager of its customer advocacy and media relations programs, said simply, "One natural disaster deserves another."

But not everyone was as pessimistic. Ed Rogers, who joined Ektron shortly after his brother Bill founded the company in 1998, said it was potentially positive news. Rogers, who was fired in 2011 and went on to launch Akumina, told CMSWire, "New leadership signals a cultural change. I'm hopeful the new team will put the customer first, something that should be good for Ektron clients."

Ektron Delays Annual Conference 7 Months

Low registration numbers have reportedly convinced Web CMS provider Ektron to delay its annual conference. Ektron Synergy 2015 is now scheduled for Nov. 8 through 11 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas — seven months later than originally planned.

The change marks the latest in a series of shakeups at the Nashua, N.H.-based company. In the past two months, Ektron has made headlines with a sale to a private equity firm and a change in executive leadership that resulted in the ouster of co-founder Bill Rogers.

Rogers left late last month, but the company has yet to officially announce his departure or announce a new CEO.

Ektron was sold last month to Accel-KKR, a private equity firm that also bought EPiServer. Some sources within and outside the company report Ektron and EPiServer are destined to merge in the near future. 

Bill Rogers Is Out at Ektron, Sources Say

It's a new year, but the Ektron story is far from over.

Multiple sources confirmed today to CMSWire that Bill Rogers is no longer CEO at Ektron, the company he founded. The move signals the end to the Rogers family era for the 16-year-old web content management systems (Web CMS) provider.

The Rogers' brothers -- Bill and Ed -- had worked together at the Nashua, NH-based company for a good chunk of its 16 years. Ed, who served as chief operating officer, was fired in 2011 and went on to found Akumina. Bill was Ektron's CEO all the way through last month's major investment by Accel-KKR.

However, speculation was high that Rogers would be ousted, and sources today confirmed to CMSWire that Ektron officials told the 200 or so employees of Rogers' departure earlier this week.

It is unclear as of now if Rogers was terminated or left on his own terms. CMSWire's email and text to Tim McKinnon, Ektron president, were not immediately returned.

Rethink Your Redesign Strategies to Hit Your Targets

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The central message of 2014 for digital marketers couldn't be much clearer:  give customers the information they need on whatever devices they're using.

That theme surfaced again Tuesday in a CMSWire webinar sponsored by Ektron, "Website Redesign: Strategy First, Tactics Second." Two Ektron executives, CEO Bill Rogers and CMO Lou Jordano, provided a roadmap they said will help marketers attract more business from different types of customers. You can watch the webinar here or at the end of this story.

"It's tactics that win marketing battles, but strategy that wins wars," said Jordano, who led the first part of the presentation. "You have to have your website strategy clearly in mind before kicking off any redesign or rebranding project." 

Not a Rumor: Accel-KKR Invests in EPiServer

Say what you will, but sometimes the scuttlebutt that emerges through Twitter (and that we report on) happens to be the truth, or pretty close to it anyways. We can now confirm that Accel-KKR has made a “majority investment” in (and may very well own -- read on) EPiServer. This news comes to us direct from EPiServer, which says that it can’t provide further comment right now.

Hats-off to Martin Henricson, CEO of EPiServer, for letting his customers, partners, employees and anyone else who might be affected by the news know that there’s something significant going on.

Ektron: Good or Bad Software? Depends On Who You Ask

2014-08-December-Coin-Toss.jpgSale. Investment. No sale. No investment. Merger with EpiServer. No merger with EpiServer.

Whatever the heck's happening at Ektron, this is a technology company.

And the future of the Nashua, NH-based .NET Web CMS provider comes down to a simple question: Do people like its software?

The answer depends on who you ask. Some say its usability is poor. Others think the product's never been stronger. Some think its lifetime support model is its sweet spot. Others say that support's inconsistent.

"My take is that the product has never been stronger compared to older versions but that the competition in the CMS market is full of strong players that are rapidly expanding into the ‘content marketing’ world," said Chris Chodnicki, co-founder and executive director of strategic partnerships and alliances at R2integrated, a Baltimore-based Ektron partner. "If the funding means Ektron can integrate their product to meet the challenges we are seeing with clients and what other platforms are bringing -- and at a very accelerated pace -- then this will be welcomed news."

Is Newly Sold Ektron Merging with EPiServer?

It's hard to separate fact from fiction in the continuing saga of Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

But we wanted to share the newest rumor this morning — namely, that the company that just bought Ektron is also buying EPiServer and has plans to combine the technologies.

Company President Tim McKinnon, the guy who runs the day-to-day operations at the web content management firm, told CMSWire today that he doesn't know anything about the alleged merger.

But McKinnon also told us yesterday that Ektron's minority investor — a private equity firm called Accel-KKR was not buying the company — just before a document that refutes that statement surfaced online. You can view it in the story here.

Once Red Hot Ektron Reportedly Sells for Paltry Sum

Privately held companies have it easy: they can vaguely boast of double-digit growth, record profits, strong cash balances and bright futures even when reality seems to suggest otherwise. At least that seems to be the case with Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron.

The web content management firm, which was consistently ranked one of the fastest growing tech companies in New England in the early 2000s, seems to have come to a stunningly disappointing end.

(UPDATE: Ektron confirmed to CMSWire this afternoon that it closed a second round of equity funding with Accel-KKR, but stopped short of acknowledging a sale.

In a conversation with CMSWire's Virginia Backaitis, Ektron President Tim McKinnon claimed the company is profitable and growing — and contended that rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated.

In a press release issued mid-afternoon today, McKinnon stated that the Accel-KKR investment "provides strong support for Ektron as it delivers upon its vision and mission to provide solutions to customers," and adding that the company is "well positioned for continued growth in 2015."

Greg Williams, managing director at Accel-KKR and a member of the Ektron board, noted in the statement that the private equity firm has been "more than impressed by the momentum, profitable growth in the business and the results the team at Ektron have been achieving."

The press release contains no comments from — or makes any mention of — Ektron CEO and co-founder Bill Rogers.)

Is a Private Equity Firm Buying Ektron?

BOSTON -- Rumblings that a private equity firm is buying web content management system (CMS) provider Ektron swept through the Gilbane Conference at the Renaissance Marriott Hotel in Boston this week.

Although sources were not willing to go on record with CMSWire, one industry insider told CMSWire that an acquisition was forthcoming — and that it did not involve another technology firm. The source did not respond when asked directly if the sale involved a private equity firm. 

Earlier this year, Ektron closed a growth equity funding round led by Accel-KKR. The company stated at the time that this minority investment, the company's first institutional round, will enable it to accelerate product and company expansion. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Neither Greg Williams, managing director at Accel-KKR and a member of the Ektron board, or Ektron employees immediately responded to our email requests for comment.

Microsoft Wants to Own You [Video]

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has a strong record of delivering on his promises and we’re now beginning to see what that looks like. While we’ve already told you a great deal about the company’s recent advances in big data, OneDrive, Office 365, AzurePowerBI, predictive analytics and Cortana + Bing, this week we’re getting a peek at how the company’s productivity apps might work in its mobile-first, cloud-first world.

We predict that they’ll be like spokes on a wheel with the individual in the center, thereby eliminating silos between our professional and personal lives.

After all, the generation of workers that brought Bring Your Own Device (BOYD) into the workplace isn’t going to want to toggle between roles.

In a 'Troubled' WCM Sector, Analysts See 3 Innovators

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Fireworks may explode in the night sky as the US celebrates the Fourth of July weekend, but things are much quieter in the web content management market.

The frenetic pace of nine-figure WCM acquisitions of the past four years ended before Christmas, and the once-deep river of venture capital funding for fledgling players ran dry long ago.

Market shifts and technology trends -- the somewhat surprising strength of mobile, the stampede to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), a growing infatuation with digital marketing -- were missed by many players, leaving the field "fragmented" and "troubled," according to fresh research by Matt Mullen and Alan Pelz-Sharpe at 451 Research.

News Bites: New Words on Google Analytics, Telerik Tries Open Source, More

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And now, the news ... Google Analytics provides a single view, Telerik open sources UI tools and launches newest Sitefinity and WebDAM refreshes its platform and mobile app.

Plus, Ektron unveils a new content marketing platform and Gmail trials a new Grid View for promotions.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Web CMS

We recently picked the brain of a web content management analyst to discover what's in and what's out. Today, we go to the numbers to tell us who's hot.

Ektron reported double-digit year-over-year growth in revenue as well as double-digit earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for fiscal year 2013. The Nashua, N.H.-based web content management (WCM) provider -- recognized by Gartner and Forrester -- claims its platform includes capabilities to unlock key parts of websites without affecting stability, involving IT resources or requiring a lengthy platform migration. 

On the heels of its growth announcement, CMSWire talked to Bill Rogers, Ektron's CEO and chairman, about getting the most out of your CMS.

5 More Education-Focused Web Content Management Platforms

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Last week we listed five education-focused web content management platforms. Though it was not meant to be an exclusive list, I was quickly notified that I left out some other popular platforms. This week, I bring you five MORE education-focused web CMS.

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