The newly merged EPiServer and Ektron are rapidly moving forward on building a new and improved digital experience platform with global reach and forward thinking technology. Some of the company leaders recently held a webinar for current partners to explain the roadmap for the new company and how clients and partners alike will benefit from the merger. Below are some of the highlights from the presentation and our take on what the future holds for EPiServer.
The New EPiServer, By the Numbers
The merger of the two companies is touted as creating a “new digital leader of scale”. So what does that scale actually look like? Here is a breakdown of the combined company’s overall size and market presence:
- 30,000 websites powered globally
- 280,000 web editors worldwide
- 880 partners
- 340 employees across 15 offices
- 8,800 customers served in 30 countries
- $200M in commerce transactions per year at largest customers
Who’s in Charge?
The new management at EPiServer is a blend of previous EPiServer and Ektron leadership, with the two top posts being filled by Accel-KKR hires, CEO Mark Duffel and CMO James Norwood. The pre-merger EPiServer CEO, Martin Henricson, remains as Executive Chairman and President of US Operations, and Marty Leamy has taken the role of GM, Americas Integration. On the Ektron side, the former top brass, CEO Bill Rogers and President Tim McKinnon, are no longer with the company.
“Protect, Extend, Converge”
This is the mantra of the new EPiServer when it comes to supporting the existing client base of both platforms and beginning to blend the Ektron and EPiServer technologies.
Protect - A key goal in the short term is to protect existing investments by clients on both the Ektron and EPiServer side. Both platforms will continue to be supported with security updates, patches, and technical support available. While acknowledging that a more aggressive “retirement” schedule will be introduced for older versions of the platforms, all current versions will continue to receive support for at least the next year.
Extend - Existing complementary solutions will be offered to each platform. For example, EPiServer’s search solution, EPiServer Find, will be made available to Ektron users, while Ektron’s Digital Experience Hub (DxH) will be made available to EPiServer users. This intermingling of technologies acknowledges the strengths of each platform and allows the full EPiServer customer base access to best of breed solutions. Additionally, and perhaps more significantly, current Ektron users will reportedly be granted a like-to-like license at no cost if they wish to switch to EPiServer entirely. Given that the EPiServer platform will largely be adopted as the primary solution in the long run, this is a welcome and exciting development.
Converge - Ultimately, the new EPiServer will be a single unified platform built around the best of existing functionality and net new features. Currently, late 2015 is the target to release the initial version. Whether or not this aggressive timeline can be met is yet to be seen, but engineers and architects are already hard at work building the next generation platform. With a 50% increase in R&D spending, the team is equipped for rapid progress.
Roadmap for the Future
So what is the new and improved EPiServer platform going to look like? First of all, it will no longer be called EPiServer CMS. The new unified platform will be referred to as the Digital Experience Cloud. As the name implies, emphasis will be place on deploying the solution to the Cloud, although on-premises hosted solutions will still be available and supported for the foreseeable future. Simply referring to the platform as a CMS or WCM system will no longer fully define the features and capabilities. The Digital Experience Cloud will ultimately be a suite of tools including CMS, digital marketing, digital commerce, multichannel campaign management (MCCM), digital asset management (DAM), and product inventory management (PIM). This vision will be realized through internal development as well as a mergers and acquisitions strategy. In addition, the platform will position itself as an integral part of, but not the sole solution to, a wider digital experience strategy. The new platform will continue to offer best-of-breed integration with a wide variety of third party solutions.
From our standpoint, we are extremely excited about the current and future path of EPiServer. Current Ektron customers can rest assured that they will not be left to fend for themselves with a deprecated CMS but will continue to receive support and a blueprint for progress. Migrating to EPiServer sooner rather than later seems to be the best approach, as it will position websites to more easily transition to the Digital Experience Cloud when it becomes relevant. This is especially attractive as the migration may incur no additional licensing costs.
EPiServer looks to be positioned for strong growth and success. Realizing their complete vision is a work in progress, but the assembled team and the resources being devoted to build the new platform give us the confidence to recommend EPiServer for our current and future clients in need of a robust digital experience platform. EPiServer and the Digital Experience Cloud will provide the tools, insight, and intelligence needed to succeed in today’s, and tomorrow’s, digital business world.