Stockholm-based Episerver has a new logo and a new nickname: epi. But the company claims it's changing more than its branding.
Episerver, a provider of web content management and digital marketing software, has been trying to redefine itself since merging with Nashua, N.H.-based Ektron early this year.
“We’ve been out on the road pressing the flesh, getting the word out that we’re going to protect our customers’ investments, that we won’t be sun-setting software, and talking about our route forward,” said the company’s CMO James Norwood.
Norwood came to Episerver nine months ago from private equity firm Accel-KKR, which acquired Ektron and bought Episerver last December. A month later, AKKR announced it was merging the companies.
Since then, the challenge has been allaying the concerns of customers and business partners affected by the merger. In June, Norwood told CMSWire, “Despite the market noise and the to-be-expected competitor (fear, uncertainty and doubt) FUD, our mission and our approach seems to be really resonating with our customers, who are excited about the combination."
Now he insists, “We’ve carried forward what works and left behind what doesn’t.”
That includes people. Only one Ektron employee is on epi’s management team. Four others are Episerver veterans and another four are former C-level executives from enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor Epicor, where Norwood and epi's President, Mark Duffell, both worked.
Accomplishments to Date
To date, epi boasts that it has converged "the best" of Episerver and Ektron products including the Episerver Digital Experience Cloud. It has also been putting time into necessary “processes and systems that weren’t in place,” Norwood said.
Scott Liewehr, co-founder and CEO of Digital Clarity Group, told CMSWire that Ektron had a good product and a history of poor communication and bad business decisions.
At one point Ektron “ticked-off” its service partners by unabashedly competing head-to-head with them on Ektron implementations, Liewehr added.
Ektron initially produced software, and referred customers to its implementation experts for services. But it later competed with those partners — only to reverse course again, quit the services business and attempt to rekindle those damaged partner relationships.
Result? Quality of implementations/integrations suffered, Liewehr said.
Norwood claimed that's all in the past, and he's out to prove to his stakeholders that the epi brand is solid.
At least some partners and customers are buying his story, based on reaction from participants who attended Ascend ’15, EPiServer’s user conference in Las Vegas last week.
“I’m bullish,” said Liewehr. ”Episerver is investing in the product, in better management, putting money into the partner channel …”
Of course, it's worth noting that Liewehr has been an advisor to both Ektron and AKKR.
Here For You
At the conference and in our conversation, Norwood stressed that epi would deliver on its promises, nurture its relationships and be easily accessible to its customers, “always.”
Epi is also growing its cloud offering. The company is deeply invested in Platforms-as-a-Service (Paas) and Software-as-a-Service (Saas) on Microsoft Azure.
And though some believe epi is after Adobe and Sitecore customers, Norwood insists otherwise. He said the company would continue to focus on mid-market, companies with $100,000 to $1 billion in annual revenue.
Norwood said the company is profitable. It's grossing around $100 million, he noted — a statistic he said he'd like to double.