Percussion Web Content Management
Jumping square in the middle of the Web 2.0 bandwagon, enterprise Web CMS vendor, Percussion, has announced a new Solution Series for their Rhythmyx Web CMS platform. While we're all aware of the broad scope of Web 2.0, the focus of Percussion's effort are on target, if a bit more focused. This latest update hones in on integrating Web 2.0 content flows, and on a concept that other Web CMS vendors, such as Hot Banana, have placed a lot of value on -- measuring the performance of content and creating feedback loops.

Percussion 2.0, too

To wrap a little context around today's news, Rhythmyx is the enterprise-grade Web content management solution proffered by Percussion Software. Out in the rough and tumble, the product most often stacks up against the likes of Interwoven, SDL Tridion and Open Text's RedDot. This idea of a Solution Series is marketing speak for a functionality bundle that builds on top of the core product. Sometimes these things are free -- as with their FastForward Solution (PDF) -- and sometimes they are not. Percussion has an interesting history, not all of it related to Web content management. The company started life building add-ons for Lotus software, evolved to offer an XML application server and further evolved to offer an IT-friendly Web CMS solution. Percussion is in an interesting position today. They found themselves at a crossroads in 2007 and have taken some decisive action. In May of this year they split off the Lotus business into a newly formed sister company named Axceler. They also took stock of their own position in the market and of the latest trends and resulting pressures being placed on CMS vendors. Being an IT friendly vendor in a market where the business people are increasingly taking control of the CMS was not, in their estimation, the best place to be. And as folks like Forrester pointed out, what the company had in tech depth, they lacked in competitive differentiation. And thus, we have the genesis of Percussion 2.0. The gist? Well, that's evolving, but, it seems to be doing so rather quickly and decisively. To better position Rhythmyx in a Web 2.0 world, and one dominated by content-minded business folk, there could not have been a more logical place to start the refinements than with analytics and light weight content integration. Measuring content performance and audience behavior is key. Integrating Web 2.0 and user generated content also tops the list.

Integrating Analytics Has Value

Vendors like Hot Banana have long down played the tech side of the solution and positioned around empowering the business side of the house. When J.L. Halsey Corp grabbed them and Web analytics vendor, ClickTracks the message was clear: integrated Web CMS and analytics has significant value.

We'll Take the WebTrends Integration

Percussion have skinned the analytics integration cat differently. WebTrends -- even if not loved by all -- is a market leader in the space. The two companies have built a tightly integrated solution wherein content administrators in the Percussion back office have in-context analytics and campaign data available to them. And marketers in the WebTrends SaaS reporting tools have real time access to the Rhythmyx UI and metadata. The offering allows the tracking of targeted users' online behavior via visual displays like WebTrends SmartView, which displays traffic data overlaid on Web pages for at-a-glance analysis. The tagging process can be automated according to WebTrends data, and '5-Point-Scenario Analysis provides visual conversion analysis for campaigns and other promotions -- pinpointing exactly where and why customers are on the road to conversion.
percussion analytics integration

WebTrends Analytics - Reports Integration The integration points are more than skin deep. When configuring the Rhythmyx back office, system admins enter WebTrends account credentials and other configuration details. This allows Rhythmyx to pick up and utilize a number of data sets metadata related to active campaigns and audiences.
percussion analytics integration

WebTrends Analytics - Campaign Integration By tying in the business analytics data to the content management interface, marketers have a one-stop process for applying analytics tags to content items and for closed loop feedback on real world performance and behaviors. Additionally, content positioning and display can be automatically adjusted based on integrated analytics logic.

Bring the Blogs into the Fold

The second bit of news today is Percussion's Blog Integration Solution. According to the company, this addition promises to "transform almost any blog from a separate, isolated channel into a cohesive part of delivering a multi-channel customer experience." Again, the integration is more than skin deep. To understand this, its important to note that Rhythmyx has a baking -- or they actually prefer the term frying -- approach to delivering content. This means, Rhythmyx by and large lives behind the firewall and is not involved in the delivery side of the operation. This story may also be evolving, but it the state of their CM union today. So when they say that blog content is being integrated, it surely means that the content is coming from a 3rd party platform and being integrated as content items in the Rhythmyx core system. The key values are: * Decoupled Content Architecture. Blogs are one point. The new feature here -- if you think about what's happening under the covers -- is really the provision of a light-weight XML content input channel. Those with ears to hear will know that this opens up quite a few possibilities. * Workflow for Web 2.0 Content. CM vendors the world over are grappling with user generated content. The folks upstairs want control of the message and the image, yet must accept that rapid, informal and light-weight content is here to stay. Applying and leveraging workflow processes and checks is key to success and sign-off. * Content Reuse. Rhythmyx thinks in terms of content entities, not web pages. By converting blog and other light-weight content into native entities, the system can measure, optimize and most importantly, reuse this content.

The Wrap

Overall we're impressed by Percussion's shiny new 2.0 visage. Importantly, beyond beauty, the features announced today have weight. They speak to the company's ability to digest market trends, build compelling partnerships, and commit to core product changes that address and embrace current customer needs. This past July Forrester delivered a light slap on the cheek. By next July we'd expect a pat on the back.