PARIS — Any company that fails to place content and content management at the heart of its digital transformation strategy is on a road to nowhere.

Content, according to Aleksander Farstad, CEO and co-founder of Porsgrunn, Norway-based eZ Systems, is not just an element of digital transformation, but is the key driver of it.

Farstad opened the two day eZ Conference: Beyond the Web today at the Châteauform' City Le Cnit with an argument: by ignoring content development for different channels and different contexts, companies set themselves up for failure.  

The conference brings together partners, customers and principles from the open source content management provider's worldwide community.

Content Means Engagement

Companies have invested heavily in developing social media strategies, or focused on developing superlative customer experiences. But if they skipped the content step Farstad pointed out, they will have nothing to engage their customers with.

He noted how a number of companies that might not be regarded as publishers in the traditional sense, reconfigure the content developed in the course of normal business transactions to create assets they can reuse across different channels.

Farstad offered the example of Hagarty Insurance in the UK, which specializes in car insurance for classic cars. It has taken the content gained from interactions with its customers to publish an annual book about the value of these cars, as well as producing videos and social media campaigns based on the content.

Content Equals Success

Not every company has reacted as quickly, or as flexibly, to the challenges that the content boom poses. But Bård Farstad, co-founder and eZ Chief of Strategy said it's an issue that every company will face sooner or later.

“What we have learned is that successful companies understand the value of content. It is a key element in digital companies. These traditional companies are using their content to create great digital experience. They are all becoming publishers,” Bård Farstad said.

He offered a broader context for the phenomena. 

The appearance of the first static websites 20 years ago drove changes in the nature of business, and therefore of content's role.

This in turn pushed the development of the first content management systems, whose continued development ran in parallel with these changes. These tools have become indispensable for most companies today, but still create headaches for enterprises that operate on more than one channel and device. In other words, just about every enterprise.

When poorly managed, a company's presence on multiple channels and devices can result in a disconnect with customers, who expect a consistent experience across all channels, devices and pages. 

EZ Systems believes the key to delivering that experience is personalized, or contextualized content.

A Look at eZ Systems' Future Product Strategy

On the basis of this, Roland Benedetti, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at eZ Systems, outlined eZ’s product strategy going forward. 

It falls under five general themes:

1. Accelerated Development

This will see eZ working to make it easier for developers to adapt quickly to changing business environments. The partnership with Paris-based, a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provider, in September is particularly important in this area. 

2. Editorial Efficiency

The company is working on features that will enable workers and enterprises to develop fast, clean and accurate content.

3. Personalize the User Experience

This involves developing content that works in context and with relevancy. EZ will work in the coming months to provide more ways to do that as well as working on integrating its customization services with its content tool box ezStudio. It will also look into implicit and explicit content personalization.

4. Enable Adaptive Content

Developing and building ways for publishers to reuse content, across channels, without have to redevelop the content each time.

5. Connect Content and Commerce

EZ has a reputation for working with the publishing industry, but it is increasingly working with e-commerce businesses by providing content management to online retailers. It plans to further build out these capabilities in the coming months.