Progress Employees on Market Trends, DXP & Cognitive WCM
Last month, Laura Myers and I were ecstatic to be able to attend the ProgressNEXT 2018 event in Boston as media reporters. Of course hearing about all the exciting announcements was just the tip of the iceberg and the intriguing conversation never disappoints.
To kick off our interviews, we were eager to sit down and chat to a few employees from Progress who of course are some of the leading experts in today’s CMS industry.
All three conversations were unique in their own way. For a sneak peek on what you can expect to read below, we touched on the latest trends we are seeing in the market today, everything digital experience and what it means to be cognitive in the WCM world today.
Mark Troester, VP of Strategy
To kick off our first interview, we had the opportunity to sit down with Mark Troester, VP of Strategy at Progress to gain his perspective on the CMS industry and how he sees the application development world coming together. Mark said that the cognitive first approach is what’s really driving that idea and we need to think beyond that, “it’s really a need to provide a better cross platform experience so that a user and customer can choose the device of their choice or the channel of their choice." One of the common conversations that we discuss here on CMS-Connected is the GDPR and how people and companies have been collecting data for so long but just now are we getting to a place where we are finding out what exactly we can do with it, so we asked Mark how businesses should be approaching all the data that they have, “It’s really paramount for them to think about what the personas are, to think about the segmentation and think about how the user experience is going to be driven throughout the entire journey and factor that into the planning before they actually do the development” said Mark.
Speaking of data, now a days, it’s so easy to collect and store data but Mark made a really great point that sometimes collecting too much data is not necessarily a bad thing “I would always collect it because you can’t go back and re-create it.”
Coming from the scope of a holistic digital experience we asked Mark how he thinks that area is evolving with all the different types of devices and channels that are coming up and how somebody can best approach that “you need to take the experience to where they are” says Mark “we have been stuck in this world that all we’re trying to do is get people to come to us and I think we need to flip that and we need to go to where they are”. Mark says it’s also important to think about the omichannel or multi-channel user experience “it’s really the digital channel that the user chooses to use which may change based on where he or she is”
In the end, Mark really believes that it’s just really thinking about the “entire user and customer journey and propagating it across all the right digital touchpoints”
Dion Picco, VP of Product Management, Product Marketing and UX
In my interview with Matt as you will see below, headless CMS is a huge interest in the industry today, but what exactly is a headless CMS and why does it matter? Dion Picco, VP of Product Management, Product Marketing and UX at Progress shed light on this technical topic which I happen to love most about the industry. There is without a doubt been an explosion of channels in the world today, whether it be mobile devices, Alexa, in car systems and those channels will continue to grow. Dion mentions that “Customers on the other hand expect that their experience span’s channels” what he means is that when you start something on the web you can then continue it on a mobile device. That is what headless is all about “Instead of a content management system that’s really designed just for web, it’s a content management system that’s really designed to provide API access to your content so that any of those devices can both fetch content and report analytics that ultimately allows you to have consistency of delivery but more importantly harmonize and analyze customer journeys and customer experiences across all of those channels”
On the first day of the key notes there was a lot of discussion around cognitive so we asked Dion what his thoughts were and what it meant from a WCM perspective. With Sitefinity, they have applied cognitive in a few ways; the first is in their EDC analytics add on within Sitefinity “what EDC does is it looks at clusters of customer behavior and starts to analyze those customer journeys in a phenomenal use of cognitive computing”. Optimizing the way that you build and deliver content is another example that Dion mentions “Content authors often spend a lot of time doing annotations of the meta data of their content so what entities exist within this image. Using machine learning, it will analyze that and apply all of the right tags so now I don’t need to do those things anymore.”
Dion summed up machine learning by mentioning a Steve Jobs quote when it comes to machine learning ‘... the computer is the most remarkable tool that we've ever come up with. It's the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”, think of AI as the equivalent and taking us to that next level, “It’s almost a motorcycle for your mind” said Dion.
We were also curious to hear Dion’s thoughts on what major shifts he’s seeing in the industry. Just a few years ago it was mainly about delivering a website project but now “it’s about delivering a digital experience it’s not about delivering just a website anymore.” Customers are asking themselves “how do I transform my business and really change the way I interact with my customers”
In the end, Sitefinity and Progress really focus on delivering that portfolio that really matches what the customer wants to see and how they intend it coming together.
Matt Gharegozlou, VP of Sales
We were very excited to speak with Matt Gharegozlou, VP of Sales for Progress to discuss how exactly Sitefinity is organized and how their go-to market strategy works. Sitefinity really focuses on geography when it comes to their organized marketing strategy and with using direct and indirect methods.
They have a huge sales team who are supported by pre sales engineers who also work with the services team. Since we were on the topic of partners, we asked what their requirements are or what they look for in a partner “really we are looking for partners who understand the space and in the digital world per se” and that doesn’t just include digital transformation but also full agencies who can help throughout all the phases of a project such as design and development. Matt brought up a great point that sometimes platforms do not come with design skills so that’s where a partner can come into play and help with that and work alongside with them. "We as a Progress team, we really partner in order to provide services and we make sure that those partners have capabilites that they can provide those services; long term engagement and short term engagement with their users." said Matt. With that said, being a full service agency is really the bread and butter of what Sitefinity looks for in a partner.
Because Matt had such a great perspective in the industry and is always very in tune with what’s going on, we asked him his thoughts on the overall market and some of the trends are he is currently seeing. Matt started off by emphasizing the GDPR. When it comes to being GDPR compliant, Matt said the absolute minimal security standard is to be GDPR compliant and “it’s going to be one of the events like Y2K” because of all the activity surrounding the GDPR and what is going on behind the scenes. Matt also mentioned headless CMS as a trend with “lots of small projects that they have to get the website going immediately” and lastly they are seeing lots of engagements with services, “that business has grown significantly for us and we are actually adding more professional services sales to help to sell utilizing our partners to deliver”
It’s without a doubt that the most popular trend in today’s market is the GDPR as Matt mentioned above but you should always be thinking about your data security and digital strategy when it comes to your CMS.
Nowadays, we are really seeing customers setting that standard for those changes and are truly the ones that are inspiring those and other changes that are coming about to the industry today.
If you’re interested to hear the thoughts of some of those Progress customers doing amazing things with their platform, be sure to circle back as myself and Laura will be sharing those interviews next on CMS-Connected!