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Acquia Enables Digital Freedom — Experiences Gained

At Acquia Engage in New Orleans in November, our CMS-Connected team took great delight in conducting exclusive interviews with Acquia’s executive, partner, and customer attendees. The event showcased several great minds in the industry, and we were there to take it all in so that we, in turn, could share it with you, our readership. This video article includes four of my sit-down interviews and provides a glimpse into the world of Acquia as they’re happening now.

Click here to catch up with our coverage from Acquia Engage when we took our mic and camera to the Partner Pavilion to speak with several Acquia partners. 

Experience Digital Freedom

Acquia’s current slogan, “Experience Digital Freedom,” was highly visible all over the event. We delved into that mantra for our interviews to get a sense of what it meant to Acquia and its customers.

“It really starts from our roots as an open-source company,” CEO Michael Sullivan told us. “We work in the Marketing space; there’s a lot of fragmentation, we believe in open systems, we spend a lot of time building systems that can be easily integrated with other platforms. There’s such a diverse set of tools that people want to use and we just think it’s really, really appealing; we think this is the future of software. People want to be able to connect to whatever they want; they want to be able to use their old tools, and it’s also about, you know, the freedom in terms of commercial constructs. As a company, we don’t lock people into contacts, we believe in a lot of transparency in pricing and, you know, we believe that things like ‘your data is your data,’ you should be able to do whatever you want with it.” 

It’s Acquia’s open-source framework that offers that aspect of freedom, and customers certainly enjoy the option to use any technology in their stack. “It’s not only the theme for the conference; it’s really the theme and our tagline for the company,” Lynne Capozzi, Acquia CMO tells us about experiencing digital freedom. “Obviously we’re all about digital, and because we're an open-source company, it’s a lot about freedom.”

Acquia’s diverse blend of customers reaps the benefits to its best-of-breed approach. End-users are provided the option to use whatever solutions work best for their business goals and objectives. The online world revolves around content, which means getting content out quickly and in front of the right audience. Acquia’s customers conveyed to us that the platform allows them to do just that.

“Digital freedom in today’s world is create once, publish multiple places, multiple ways based on the consumer that it is going to,” Roy Varghese, Chief Information Officer at NOAA Fisheries explained to us. Roy shared the NOAA Fisheries' journey to personalization and content organization that they went through with Acquia that lead them to a vastly improved website. 

When asked about their experience with Acquia’s digital freedom, Heidi Melin CMO at Workfront, described how the company needed to move from their old technology to something with a more robust set of features. “Certainly, with the speed at which it’s allowed us to deploy not only our public website but also five different sites in four different languages. We could not have done that with another platform,” Heidi said. Switching to the Acquia platform allowed Workfront to expand its sites quickly and effectively.

Continue reading to view the four video interviews of conversations with industry specialists and customers. 

“It’s really a mantra that we live by when we think about how we build products and how we operate as a company.” — Acquia CEO, Michael Sullivan, on Experience Digital Freedom

Acquia’s Point of View

From the Acquia team, I was pleased to welcome their CEO, Michael Sullivan and their CMO, Lynne Capozzi, to join the CMS-Connected team for interviews. Watch our presentation below for insights about Acquia and the conference. 

Michael Sullivan, CEO at Acquia


After Michael and I touched upon the topic of digital freedom, we took the conversation further towards better understanding the crux of Acquia’s philosophy around that freedom — best-of-breed. Why would a customer want to choose best-of-breed over best-of-suite?

“Buying personalization at the same time [as CMS] makes a lot of sense, those things are really close together and there’s a lot of advantages to getting them integrated. You can get farther away from that center of gravity and there's less value to having those things coming from the same vendor,” Michael explained. “It really depends on how well those vendor products are integrated, there's a lot of legacy companies out there in the martech world who have built their stacks through acquisitions and you might as well have bought those pieces from separate companies because there's not a lot of integration there so there's not a lot of value in getting the same things.”

Michael emphasized that it's all about the integration and said that, “people want the ability to put these things together any way they want, and we want to support that for our customers.”

Michael shared that there’s a great advantage for customers when it comes to the open-source API framework on which Acquia is built. Essentially anything is customizable, and any technology can be integrated. Developers working with Acquia have access to the code to achieve any desired result. “You can’t get any more open than having the source code to the software,” stated Michael.

Of course, Acquia cannot go it alone with its offerings. Acquia’s partners play a vital role in the success of the platform. “We spend a lot of time with partners, you know, we really depend on partners,” Michael told us. “We have more than 20,000 prebuilt integrations in the Drupal world, and with Mautic, even more.”

Finally, I couldn’t let Michael get away without asking him my most burning question — and one that I’m sure many people are curious about — around the majority investment from Vista Equity Group. Michael responded openly and enthusiastically by assuring that nothing with Acquia would change in terms of vision; it was about augmenting their ability to execute goals.

“What it really means for our customers, and for Acquia, is that we’re going to get a chance to go faster,” Michael says about Vista’s majority investment.

Every point that Michael made lead back to the core idea of the digital freedom experience. Freedom is a fundamental value of Acquia’s, and their clients benefit from being able to deliver unique and desirable outcomes as a result.

“We have a whole set of programs, and it's not just the technology but the programs to enable partners to be able to create great solutions around our platform. We’re really built as a platform as much as a finished product.” — Acquia CEO Michael Sullivan

Lynne Capozzi, CMO at Acquia


As Acquia’s CMO, I was focused on discussing marketing aspects with Lynne. Marketers are increasingly becoming the largest user-demographic of DXP platforms, and success hinges on marketers having the necessary tools to realize their online marketing’s fullest potential. 

Lynne acknowledged marketers in the space, “We know that more and more, marketers are owning the whole tech stack. Personalization, marketing automation, journey mapping, those are all really important and critical functions and tools for marketers, and so we now have a marketing cloud collection of products that are specifically designed for marketers. It’s more and more important that marketers have the right technology in their stack to be able to really do the great digital experience that customers are now demanding.”

Acquia’s marketing offer is a highly desirable choice for many companies. The industry is keenly motivated towards having effective marketing tools that are easily integrated. At Engage, Acquia revealed the results from their global survey on the state of the CX, and Lynne shared one of the shocking findings from that study.

“One of the biggest challenges that marketers are facing is being able to integrate their marketing technology and so many, many times I hear from other marketers that their data is siloed all of their applications are siloed, and they're really struggling with how to pull it all together,” revealed Lynne. “We recently released, here at Engage, a customer experience study and the results of that study, and sadly one of the data points was that only nine percent of marketers feel like they have a well-integrated marketing stack that works together.”

Nine percent is a staggeringly low stat, and Acquia is now making it a mission to empower more marketers to have and use an effective marketing stack. “It’s important, again, to do that bottom line of being able to create a great customer experience for their customers,” Lynne said. 

Only nine percent of marketers feel like they have a well-integrated marketing stack that works together.” — Acquia CMO Lynne Capozzi

Acquia's Customers' Points of View

CMS-Connected was also able to sit down with two of Acquia’s customers — Heidi Melin, CMO at Workfront, and Roy Varghese, Chief Information Officer at NOAA Fisheries, to recount their outcomes while working with the Acquia platform. 

Heidi Melin, CMO at Workfront


Roy Varghese, Chief Information Officer at NOAA Fisheries


Each customer has unique needs and a set of objectives to get the most out of their technology stack. For Workfront, the enterprise work management SaaS platform, they were on the hunt for a new vendor that would provide the most streamlined systemization to enable brisk implementation. 

“We help companies do their best work,” Heidi Melin tells us about the company. “It was really important to us, as a SaaS company, to be on the most modern technology. Ensuring we moved to a platform that allowed us to move more quickly than we could with our previous platform was really important. We were finding, with an older technology, we were having to do so many things to make the technology work with the modern way we wanted our marketing team to work,” Heidi explained. “Moving to the Acquia platform allowed us to move more nimbly, and with more agility frankly, and allowed us to do things we couldn’t have done before.”

“We selected the Acquia cloud platform to help take us to the next level with our website.” — Heidi Melin, CMO at Workfront.

NOAA Fisheries shared a similar story. In talking about their old technology, Roy Varghese remarked, “our content was not being consumed effectively because our sites were not responsive.” As a federal government agency, NOAA Fisheries’ content is viewed and relied upon by a large population segment; hence, they needed a platform that would effectively index that content. 

The organization entered a rigorous process of selecting a new platform, and Acquia’s solution fulfilled their specific needs. “We went through the typical process of doing market research, technical product evaluation, talking to the industry analysts like Gartner and Forrester. We brought in products to do a technical evaluation, we did RFI’s, we did RFP’s and did a competitive analysis and Acquia was selected as the platform,” recounted Roy.

Best-in-breed Acquia offers flexibility to its users, and customers continue to praise them for their modern, open-source, and efficiently-integrated technology. The individual stories speak to Acquia’s impact on their organizations and continually related to Acquia Engage’s memorable tagline — giving customers the ability to experience digital freedom.

Erika Jones

Erika Jones

Erika Jones is a Tech Reporter and Content Marketer with CMSC Media. Erika enjoys combining her creativity with her technical skills through graphic design. She has a background in communications and marketing and has a flair for social media and content creation. Erika is an avid traveller and enjoys seeing firsthand how technology connects us all in business and pleasure.