Will we; won't we; or at what point will we have to?
These were some of the lingering questions current Ektron customers brought to Episerver's Ascend 2015 held in Las Vegas this week because it was there that the Ektron and Episerver merger hit the stage - largely under the MC duties of James Norwood, CMO and executive vice president strategy.
From a show perspective, Episerver didn't disappoint. The location (The Cosmopolitan, which has a reputation for being one of the nicest hotels on The Strip), the speakers (recurring headliners R "Ray" Wang of Constellation Research and graffiti artist and author Erik Wahl) and the final-night party (taking over the Vegas Marquee Club), had the makings of all the best "customer" shows.
The content is, of course, more important and the customer success stories, labs and deep product dives were equally worth customers' time and costs. Not all attendees were able to answer will-we, won't-we, and what-point-will-we-have to questions during the show though. Some original Ektron customers informally cited executive buy-in as a reason for not moving to Episerver yet, while others were actually looking for a deadline from the company to do so - as having so would help their case internally, they opined.
While industry experts predicted the latter would not happen, Episerver used this week to announce the Fall 2015 release of the Episerver Digital Experience Cloud, significant growth to its partner program (adding 45 new ones), and more new and existing customers migrating to the Digital Experience Cloud.
Episerver contributes the success of the converged release so far to its rapid "move up" approach, which Norwood says is designed to assist users on earlier releases of Episerver and Ektron to avail themselves of the people-first technology featured within the Digital Experience Cloud.
"For those ready to make the transition, we're providing straightforward tools, partner implementation services, and Expert Services Accelerator Packages, which combine to ensure customers can keep technology at arm's length when transitioning to this empowering platform - as many already have to great effect," said Norwood.
Regardless of where Ektron customers are in the migration, the proof of each company's functionality merging is already there (many tech companies can't say the same for mergers/acquisitions). The Instant Templates release is a good example of that as it's based on the popular "Page Builder" and "Master Templates" functionality of Ektron. With the goal of ensuring brand consistency, users (e.g. marketers, editors, writers) can create their own reusable templates and leverage reusable components (e.g. blog entries, news items, videos) to create once and deliver across sites, audiences and channels.This is one of many examples of bringing and updating Ektron functionality for Episerver customers.
In line with its "people-first technology" promise, an interesting capability of Episerver, as discussed with VP, Product Management Bob Egner, is its search capabilities, which empower everyday content developers to provide related articles to end-users. As many Web professionals know, this tactic can boost page views when done right. The way it works is simple (at least from a user perspective). An editor can search for (on the back-end) all related articles for people interested in tea versus coffee, for example, and those articles will display on the site. While the functionality goes beyond that, it's a simple instance of giving everyday users the power to improve their own content and its performance, which helps move the needle for the brand as a whole.
While only a couple updates are mentioned here, Episerver is definitely on-trend with giving content developers the tools to do more - test, analyze and optimize content the way it should be, in real-time, by real users and real simply.
Episerver is, of course, not the only CMS or digital marketing solutions provider on the market. Website Magazine recently covered DNN's new updates, as well as Sitecore news and others in our Software channel.
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