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Web Cms News & Analysis

The Holistic View of the Customer Experience

There's a consensus that if you want to be successful on line, you’re going to have to deliver an exceptional customer experience, something that leaves others trailing. Of course, there are many opinions on how to do that.

E-Spirit, for example, has a very particular notion of what customer experience involves. Many other vendors start by talking about technologies or silos. But for Oliver Jaeger, e-Spirit's vice president for global marketing and communications, it means the entire customer cycle from first contact to last sign-off.

While many companies just don’t get it that the whole process needs to be managed, e-Spirit is actively pursuing ways to provide that ultimate experience.

Jahia Add-On Tool 'Frees' Digital Marketers to Engage

Open source Web CMS provider Jahia wants to empower digital marketers with its latest tool.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based company this week launched Form Factory, which officials say frees digital marketing teams "in the creation and monitoring of their favorite engagement tools."

The add-on comes in the same year Jahia released its Digital Factory 7 which officials at the company say is part of a "rise of the digital industrialization."

Digital River and Microsoft's Bumpy E-Commerce Road

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It's been an interesting couple of weeks for Digital River. Its deadline to re-sign Microsoft to an extension of the Microsoft Operations Digital Distribution Agreement, which would continue Digital River provision of Microsoft Store’s e-commerce platform beyond March, 2015 came and went on Dec. 1. While only a handful of people might have noticed, the company made a bigger splash on Dec. 8 when it announced an extension of the negotiation timeframe until Dec. 19.

Digital River's stocks rose and fell with the ups and downs of the announcements, dropping almost 25 percent from its close of $25.51 on Friday, Dec. 5, to $19.71 on Monday, Dec. 8. The stock eventually bottomed at $16.58 on Dec. 11, a drop of 35 percent in less than a week. On the power of yesterday's news the stock closed at $24.08, a 45 percent jump from last week’s low.

Merging the Yin-Yang of Content-Commerce

2014-12-December-Kitties.jpgSince the early days of e-commerce in the mid to late 90's, businesses had a vision to merge content and commerce into a seamless experience. What people discovered pretty quickly in the 90's was that merging content and commerce was really challenging. Little has changed since then, because while people would like to join the two, they really are more yin and yang -- contrary forces, yet complementary.

TYPO3 Updates Open Source Web CMS Neos

Open source web content management (WCM) provider TYPO3 released a new version of Neos that officials there say improves the user experience for digital marketers in a "smoother" and more "time-saving" way. 

The Baar, Switzerland, open source vendor today releases Neos 1.2 that "offers many convenient new functions and significant improvements that make the everyday work of editors and developers much easier" for a more intuitive workflow.

The update comes a year after version 1.0 was released.

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.)

Pantheon Hires a Heavy Hitter to Lead Its Marketing

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Tectonic plates are shifting in the CMS market and at Pantheon, a start-up that came to market just over two years ago and is actively positioning itself to be the leader. And in the increasingly open source area of the web content management, you can’t to do that without a heavy hitter who knows both marketing and how to engage with developers.

That’s why Matt Stodolnic, a Pivotal, VMWare and SpringSource vet, is a perfect fit for Panthoen. He has joined the company as its senior vice president of marketing and alliances.

Has Personalization Hit a Dead End in CX? #Gilbane

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BOSTON -- Martha Elliott started to catch on through her bank's home page. Each time she logged on, the home page included images of African-Americans. 

Elliott is African-American.

"I didn't like it. I like diversity," the technologist told CMSWire today at the 700-registrant Gilbane Conference at the Boston Renaissance Marriott Hotel. "I want a bank that's diverse."

Instead, she got some back-end personalization she felt was "disingenuous." Pretty much the opposite of personalization, right?

Trends in Web Content Management From #jboye14

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I've been to my fair share of J. Boye events both in Philadelphia and in Denmark, and always come away with the same conclusion: J. Boye events are different. They're more than just traditional conferences, they’re really centered around networking and sharing knowledge among peers in a friendly atmosphere. It’s an event organized by people with a passion and deep understanding of the online space, not built around the wishes of vendors (read sponsors). This three day event filled with interesting speakers from around the globe leaves you feeling like part of the J. Boye community.

Turn to a Platform to Tame Your Web CMS Chaos

The last thing you want in a web content management system (CMS) is something kludgy.

Josh Koenig preaches this — and he knows the industry well. He's co-founder and head of developer experience for Pantheon, a San Francisco-based website platform for Drupal and Wordpress sites.

Where should web CMS users be headed in 2015 and beyond? In a webinar hosted by Pantheon and CMSWire yesterday, Koenig said the best option is a platform that leverages open source technology.

"A good platform lets you realize full value of open source," said Koenig, who's also the co-founder of Chapter Three, a San Francisco-based Drupal agency. Platforms, he added, make managing websites easier and faster, and helps drive standardization in an organization's web development and management processes.

Sketchnotes from Total Customer Experience 2014 #TCXUX

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As I was scanning the Twitter feed for voices from Altamont Group’s Total Customer Experience 2014 conference in San Francisco yesterday, a few very interesting images caught my eye. The work of Bobby Meeks, user experience architect at AutoZone, were some of the best designed “notes” I’d ever seen. 

“I grew up thinking I was weird for not taking notes in a linear fashion,” Meeks told CMSWire.  “My textbooks, folders, and composition books all had doodles in them instead of bullet points. Fast forward to present day … I found the awesome book by Mike Rohde, The Sketchnote Handbook, that put a name to the practice and went deeper into how to be more disciplined when doing it.  Now I do it as part of my daily routine.”

I was so intrigued by Meeks’ note-taking talents, I asked him if he would expand on them and give us his perspective on Day 1 of the Total Experience conference, which focuses on customer/user experience, as well as experience design.

SDL Will Consolidate Its Marketing Cloud in 2015

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At a time when its larger rivals are building up their marketing clouds, SDL is planning to consolidate its cloud in January to just four product groups from the current seven.

The shift in strategy follows a turnaround year for the UK-based customer experience management company, which began 2014 with a major restructuring that is now paying dividends. 

SDL only adopted its focus on customer experience 10 months ago, but is now boasting of record revenue. Executives said plans for the coming year include doubling the global sales team, launching a major brand advertising campaign and, possibly, making new investments in digital agencies and social media.

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