Los Angeles-based Crownpeak embraced the cloud before it was cool. From the very beginning it provided cloud-native solutions, which have now developed into what it describes as a cloud-first Digital Experience Management (DXM) platform with native Digital Quality Management (DQM).

Established in 2001 by Jim Howard, Sean Lally and Carl Sutter, Crownpeak has raised $62 million since in four rounds, the most recent in April when it raised $50 million in a round led by K1 Investment Management.

This year, Crownpeak also merged with UK-based ActiveStandards, which provides enterprises with Digital Quality Management (DQM) capabilities. A DQM platform routinely checks for content errors and inconsistencies, brand adherence, user experience issues, SEO opportunities, compliance risks and outdated assets and flags concerns for immediate attention.

It was also one recognized by Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner in its Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management (WCM). Gartner recognized it as one of four Visionaries this year, along with Hamburg, Germany-based CoreMedia, San Francisco-based Automattic and Amsterdam-based Hippo (which was recently acquired by BloomReach).

Gartner on Crownpeak

Gartner praised Crownpeak's emphasis on digital quality management, noting that it "ties in well with customers' increasing emphasis on the measurable effectiveness of delivered experiences."

However, it said Crownpeak‘s brand recognition remains a problem, "although an infusion of capital in 2016 raises the possibility that its marketing effectiveness will improve.”

In this the fourth in a series of reports on the Gartner Visionaries, we asked Crownpeak CEO Tim Vollman about Crownpeak’s position in the market and its plans to grow.

Crownpeak's Cloud Credentials

Roe: What differentiates your company from the other companies in the Visionaries Quadrant?

Vollman: We have always been a cloud-native solution. Being born in the cloud, and not having to evolve from a legacy solution, has enabled us to offer tremendous economies of scale to our customers, including the elimination of infrastructure costs, high-availability at web-scale, world-class security for digital presences, evergreen upgrades and much more. 

Additionally, Crownpeak’s founding was centered on being purpose-built to anticipate and solve the problems of large and often complex global enterprises. 

Our DQM module, which enables you to ensure quality systematically across all your digital properties, is just one example of how we are radically challenging the industry to progress.

Roe: Visionaries are forward-thinking and technically focused. How does Crownpeak meet these criteria?

Vollman: We are incredibly proud that Crownpeak was named the "most visionary" in the Visionary quadrant. 

We have led the market for years as the first Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) web CMS and are now pushing the envelope in defining the larger DXM arena, including the interaction of DAM, testing, targeting and personalization, digital quality management, and other important features.  We continue to build on our history of innovation while also ensuring our customers are satisfied with our ability to meet and exceed their needs. 

Learning Opportunities

Roe: Do you perceive the company as ground breaking or industry shaping?

Vollman: Yes, absolutely. In addition to the historical perspective of being the first to bring cloud into the conversation, we continue to break new ground.

Our recent addition of the DQM module to the suite positions Crownpeak as the only web CMS with a fully integrated digital quality management tool. It has also helped create a new view of the importance of quality in digital experience across the industry. Speed and ever-evolving UX expectations can now live in accordance with high quality that is enabled through automation.   

Roe: Why is the DQM module so popular?

Vollman: We continue to harness our own innovation and the close customer relationships we've nurtured over the years to build powerful yet elegantly simple solutions, designed for the digital marketer and digital technologist’s most pressing goals and challenges. We’re continuing to innovate to serve customer needs, and we’re leveraging our Customer Advisory Board and User Group meetings to gather insights and develop both strategic and tactical directions.

Roe: How do does Crownpeak meet and feed into organizations’ digital transformation needs?

Vollman: We help globally distributed teams collaborate and meet their needs no matter where they are on the spectrum of centralized versus decentralized. Often our customers want to centralize certain governance functions and technology platforms, while decentralizing or distributing deployment, administration, and content workflow — the Crownpeak platform is purposefully built for these scenarios.

  1. Integration: We recognize that a digital transformation requires an ecosystem of systems and our flexible, open, componentized architecture has enabled our customers to integrate our platform to any number of other types of systems in a myriad of ways.  We continue to invest in our APIs and integration capabilities to make integration friction-free.
  2. Speed of cycle-time: Our SaaS platform is an integral force that makes companies faster and more competitive. Because we can equip a company with an enterprise-grade system in as little as six weeks, we have become the clear platform of choice for digital experience management. 

Roe: What trends do you see in the Web CMS space?

Vollman: We obviously monitor all the emerging trends but three primary trends on our radar are:

  1.  The conundrum of content quantity.  Marketers are under constant pressure to create more and more high-quality content (a seeming dearth) and at the same time are being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content they need to manage (estimated to surpass 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020).  The Crownpeak platform helps them to both quickly create and manage all content with ease and agility, without sacrificing the quality of that content.
  2. Cloud. While we have been leading the way, the demand is now catching up in our space.  Our competitors are largely "Cloud Too" while we are cloud-native. Right now, we find ourselves in the right spot as this trend unfolds, but are keen to remain ahead of the curve. 
  3. Machine Learning.  A hot trend across all of technology, machine learning is of particular interest to us in how it can be leveraged to ensure ever more targeted and personally valuable digital experiences to individuals, and different applications across big data sets such as those we've gathered in quality assessments for large organizations and different sectors. 
Roe: Can you outline your roadmap for 2017 to whatever extent you can reveal it?

Vollman: Among other initiatives:

  1. We are very excited about the newest version of our User Interface which has been redesigned from the ground-up for flexibility, ease of use and simplicity and is being met with rave reviews.
  2. We look forward to making introductions surrounding Machine Learning alluded to earlier, and;
  3. We are excited about innovations surrounding our DQM platform that will enable our customers to leverage the best of big data technology to ensure the accuracy, optimization, usability, and compliance of their digital experiences.