Industry Insights

Leading CEOs Discuss Their Intrinsic Elements of Success

Every year, Gartner publishes its report, The Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, and every year the industry waits to see where and how those little blue dots will move about, as a reflection of Gartner’s in-depth analysis of leading vendors. 

Looked upon by many as a guide for companies to evaluate which Web Content Management solution would be right for their business, we here at CMS-Connected are always happy to see numerous vendors included in the report that we know very well. We often create a few conversations following the release focused on the recognition within the report, and showcase details of the platforms themselves but admittedly, when I reflect on the various businesses, I look through the lens of leadership and wonder what is on the mind of those at the helm of these companies, the CEOs themselves?

Thankfully, upon reaching out, I was fortunate enough to gain access to the great minds leading the organizations represented in the image below. Read on for a few of my personal highlights or to take in the entire conversation with each CEO on their facets of success, simply click on their logo

  • Acquia
  • Coremedia
  • Episerver
  • eZ Systems
  • GX Software
  • Kentico
  • Opentext

It All Comes Down to People

When inquiring on what these leaders felt were the intrinsic components that made the difference in the success of a company, there was one theme that stood out, here most explicitly made by Aleksander Farstad, eZ Systems’ CEO: “People! eZ was founded on a philosophy that innovation happens at the interaction between people. Success happens when you can attract, maintain and grow talented people, in an open culture, sharing information and knowledge.”

Sören Stamer, CoreMedia’s CEO, brilliantly built on this idea by explaining how hiring and growing great talent can snowball into success: "Great talents want to work with great talents. They want to learn from and with them. They want to solve interesting problems and build beautiful things. They want to be able to be themselves and be recognized for who they are. This can be a kind of virtuous circle. Creating it is a core responsibility of any CEO."

That interaction however, doesn’t exist solely between colleagues. Mark Barrenechea, CEO and CTO of OpenText, shows that even when leading an organization, gleaning knowledge from those around you is always considered in best practice: “You do not need to be the smartest person in the room, but you need to be the best student and ask lots of questions. This means listening – to your employees, your management team, but most importantly to your customers.”

Riding the Waves

Petr Palas, CEO of Kentico, made a great analogy when he discussed success: “As a technology company, you need to constantly watch the waves and make sure you jump on the right wave at the right time. This is the most dynamic part of the mix and also the most risky one which is why many technology companies get stuck at some point of their evolution by playing it safe and getting disrupted by new entrants.” So what are the waves his fellow CEOs in the space are seeing from the shore?

The first one I noticed, was content: “We see digital is moving beyond the web and we see that it is content that fuels digital success. This is accelerating, with apps, mobile, IoT and more things to come. However, most Web Content Management systems are still purely Web centric, and not content centric. This is not a good fit for this new digital world.” states Aleksander Farstad, CEO of eZ Systems.

“Content is still king in the digital world,” says Mark Duffell, Episerver’s CEO, “WCM will continue to grow in importance as commerce becomes more digital. As the digital terrain becomes the primary point of contact between consumers and brands, successful companies will meet consumers online with digital experiences that help them through the buying process the way a store associate would. That’s why personalization is such a hot topic right now. And with the increasing power of machine learning, we’re going to see experiences become even more personalized, to the point that marketers will be able to segment down to the individual level and target individual consumers based on their distinct journey.”

The Content Explosion 

Content has reigned over the digital business world for a while now, but seems to be in an almost explosive phase, setting in motion the acceleration of these leading WCM systems empowering marketer’s to deliver the experience so in demand from consumers. Willem Rossieau, CEO of GX Software sees this firsthand: “We see our customers implementing strategies that reflect the need to interact with audiences in real-time based on smart customer profiles and relevant personal content experiences. WCM is to become the focal point in digital strategies more and more and it will be required to assemble: channels, content, data, orchestration and applications to create and always deliver the best customer experience.”  

The creation of these strategies has hit a truly blinding pace, as mentioned here by Thomas Erickson, Acquia’s current CEO: “Today’s consumer expects a seamless experience across all touchpoints, at anytime, anywhere. As a result, digital teams are racing to spin up marketing sites, campaign sites, product sites, you name it. This explosion of content is helping us reach our customers where they are. It’s also contributing to an enormous amount of multisite management and data complexity. Digital teams want smarter systems -- across multiple data sets, multiple systems of record, and multiple systems of engagement -- so they can make data-driven decisions that transform and elevate the customer experience. Across every sector we see organizations are working with a heightened sense of urgency to implement systems of intelligence and convert customer insight to better business outcomes.” 


Amidst their commentary on leadership applicable to every industry, there was a common understanding on the Web Content Management space peeking through to me. The relationship between people, content and experiences is becoming more symbiotic as time moves on. Digital teams are leading customers to water so to speak, but the customers are showing us the ways in which they want to drink, or in this case, consume. This is causing a chain reaction of innovation within WCM systems to meet the demands of the digital teams rising to the occasion of this elevated experience and in that, they are finding more and more ways to strategize that delivery, creating new ways for WCM solutions to facilitate that execution. 

Laura Myers

Laura Myers

A digital business, marketing and social media enthusiast, Laura thrives on asking unique, insightful questions to ignite conversation. At an event or remotely, she enjoys any opportunity to connect with like-minded people in the industry.

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