Just when you thought the dust had settled following the recent launch of eZ Publish 4.1, open source content management vendor eZ Systems (news site) has initiated an aggressive recruitment campaign for its core development team eZ Labs, indicating that the next version of eZ Publish may come sooner rather than later.

Recruitment Drive Expected

However, for anyone familiar with eZ Systems, the fact that the company has launched this recruitment campaign is hardly a surprise.

Earlier this year, they launched a similar hiring drive in the US after CTO and co-founder of the company, Brad Farstad, moved to Chicago to spearhead the company’s US expansion plans. At the time, Farstad indicated that ultimately their goal was to increase staffing levels for the company globally, not just in the US, by 25%.

A European recruitment drive probably makes a lot of sense following recent publicity around the Publish 4.1 release.

But the recruitment of new staff is more than a case of ‘bums-on-seats’. eZ Labs is looking for software engineers, testers and document editors in Belgium and Norway and possibly other offices around Europe. While not explicitly saying anything, it eZ Labs appears to have quite an agenda for 2009.

Development Is the Focus For 2009

While its principal goal in 2008 was to make the company profitable, Farstad admits that they would like to have spent more time on development than they did.

"We were very much focused on making eZ a profitable company in 2008, but wished we'd been able to invest more in development. eZ Find 2.0 and eZ Publish 4.1 were great accomplishments, but 2009 will be even better,” he said.

To this end, eZ Systems has announced Roland Benedetti, the former Managing Director for eZ Western Europe, as VP Product Management. The company, which turns 10 this year, in naming Benedetti as Product Management VP, underlines a feeling internally that the two functions of Product Management and Engineering should be separated.

Roland Bendetti_eZ Systems VP_2009.jpg

Roland Benedetti, new Product Management VP with eZ Systems. Appointment clearly splits Product Management and Engineering functions.

It says the purpose of the split is to try and improve the company's communication with external groups, including customers and communities, as well the broader markets.

On his appointment, Roland Benedetti said that he would be targeting these different groups to ensure that any feedback on the latest release will be incorporated into future products.

Developer Days

“ . . . we wish to broaden the role of community contributions at eZ Systems. To that end, we are organizing several developer days in April to meet community members and partners to discuss possibilities for community involvement in the eZ Ecosystem," Benedetti said.

The next developer days will be held in Paris (April 9th), Dortmund (28th or 29th, April), Oslo (tba). Also PHP Vikinger will be held in Leuven, Belgium at the end of May.

Speaking of Profitability

Speaking of a focus on profitability, eZ Systems has released news on the financial front. The 2008 Annual Report shows a profit of 337 thousand NOK (before tax). 2008 revenues were 35,9 Million NOK (or a little over US$ 5.2 Million) + 33% for the group, up from 26,9 Million NOK the year before.

ez Systems AS, the parent company, had revenues of 25 Million NOK in 2008 (approximately US$ 3.66 Million) compared to 16,9 Million the year before, resulting in a profit before taxes of 1,4 Million NOK (US$ 205k).

This is the first in a number of years that eZ Systems has been profitable. They attribute this good news to improvements in Germany and Norway where they were able to increase revenue and reduce costs.