Crownpeak Executives Discuss DX & Compliance Challenges
On March 27th, 2019, customers, partners, and prospects gathered together in IET Savoy Place on the River Thames in London, England, to partake in the 2019 Crownpeak Empower UK, a user conference designed to connect, collaborate and inspire one another. With the magnificent views of the London Eye in the distance, like-minded professionals shared their knowledge and insights, heard from industry experts, and collaborated on the opportunities to address digital and compliance challenges.
I was fortunate to sit down with various members of the Crownpeak executive team to discuss their visions for success in 2019, challenges their customers are facing with the market today, and the role of EMS in the digital business world. Follow along below!
Ravi Kumaraswami, CEO
Ravi joined Crownpeak in 2017, so I was interested in hearing what his vision for success would be for the company this year, and what has surprised him most about this space, especially with coming from a social media software provider and formerly serving as Lithium Technologies CRO.
“At Crownpeak, what we are trying to do is help our customers deliver awesome experiences to their customers; and awesome experiences are ones which are relevant, are where you’re giving the consumer relevant information, and is delivering that experience in the channel that they are present in and respecting their privacy. We are the only unique ones who have the ability to deliver that.
I would say that [during] the last 18 months, one of the things that has really surprised me is, this is one of the spaces which doesn’t have a SaaS solution. The customers want change; the consumers want change every day because that’s their lives. And when they’re dealing with corporates, they’re finding that it takes 18 months, [or] 24 months to actually get these corporations to change. These corporations are using archaic technology. I think that’s a huge opportunity for a company like us because we deliver innovation every two weeks. Our customers can take advantage of that innovation. They don’t need to do an upgrade—ever. Whereas, when they’re using our competitors, they might take 18 months to implement something. But, in 18 months time, when those competitors have innovated, there’s huge upgrade cost for those customers to actually take advantage of those innovations which is not true in our customers’ case.”
Ravi agreed that customers are looking to Crownpeak to help push them through those new upgrades and are relying on Crownpeak’s ingenuity to assist with navigating them through the process. My next question for Ravi was based on Crownpeak’s trifecta in the digital experience market. With solutions for enterprise content management, digital governance, and digital quality, this can definitely be an advantage compared to other systems. I asked Ravi how all of these features come together in their platform?
“I think that, again, [going] back to the consumer; when the consumer is dealing with a brand, they go to a website, or they go to any digital channel, they’re looking for information. They want that information right now, they want it to be correct, they want it to be high quality, and they don’t know whether to trust that company or not from a privacy perspective. A lot of marketing technology is being used on these websites to attract them. So, when brands are trying to build trust and engage with these consumers, we are the only ones who can help them provide quality digital experiences and protect the privacy of the consumer. Therefore, they are able to build trust with their consumers. Anybody who doesn’t use us has to go to three different companies to assemble this technology and integrating those technologies, etc., has its own challenges.”
Darren Guarnaccia, CPO
We had the opportunity to interview Darren near the end of last year, so I knew he would have a unique perspective on Crownpeak’s vision for 2019 and the success they have planned for their customers. During our conversation, Darren explained the three pillars of success that they focus on with their customers:
“I think the way we think about success is ultimately our customers’ success. When I look at what our products do, and the problems we solve for our customers, it really comes down to three major things. The first thing is we really have to do is bring simplicity to our customers. So much of the market today [is] so complicated; the technologies take so long to implement. We’re really focusing on simplicity and usability as a number one pillar of our products, and that’s about how easy the products are to use; how simple they are to deploy. So, that’s job number one. Number two is just about speed. Marketers have to go fast today, and they’re so encumbered by so many other things in complexity; like regulation. Whether its privacy regulation, or accessibility regulation, or just being able to launch campaigns and sites faster, there’s this need to go faster. There’s this need to do more and do it quicker. The third one is interoperability. I think we’ve seen, over the last couple of years, these sort of mega stacks and suites of unimaginable breadth, and I don’t think that’s what the world wants anymore. I think what everyone really wants, is solutions that fit the job. This idea of a return to best-of-breed. And so, for us, it’s about interoperability. It’s about plugging into your existing toolsets, it’s about using all the things you already have because no one wants to rip all that stuff out anymore.”
Since we were already on the topic of success and how Crownpeak solves major issues for their customers, I asked Darren to expand on what he’s hearing from customers—old and new—about the challenges they are facing?
“They’re under a ton of pressure. I think about the role of who we really serve is this operational marketer… they could actually have an IT role, but it’s this operational person that has to make all this stuff work. So, CMO goes off and buys a bunch of cool stuff, but its ultimately that VP digital, or that web operations person, or any marketing operations person who is responsible for making all this work. They’re under a ton of pressure to make it all work. They’re either spending more and more of their budgets just operating it instead of innovating because its heavy, and its slow. They’re looking for ways to get efficiency, they’re looking for ways to get more effectiveness, and their numbers go up every year. Marketers are about growth and about growing their business. If you’re spending all this money just keeping the lights on, you’re not innovating. What I’m hearing from customers, and the frustration is, help me simplify this, help me remove complexity, help me operate quicker. And honestly, [with] so many of these tools now, many of the legacy vendors are on-premise, even though they’ve “moved into the cloud” they’re still heavy, they still require upgrades, and that is really driving customers crazy. They want speed and flexibility, and that’s what they’re looking to get from Crownpeak.”
To end, Darren explained that the advantage of having all of their solutions for ECM, digital governance, and DQM in one platform is their differentiator because, as he said, “all roads come back to customer experience because all these things are really about enabling that operational marketer to be able to be more effective in that world.”
Ian Lowe, VP of Marketing
I had the opportunity to interview Ian back in January on Crownpeak’s incredible success; not just their place in the 2018 Forrester Wave: Web Content Management Systems but also being recognized in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for DXP 2019 for being the only authentic SaaS vendor in the DXP market. I was excited to meet Ian in person to learn more about Crownpeak and some of the core challenges they see coming down the pike over the next five to ten years.
“Crownpeak, several years ago, had started thinking deeply about, not just content management, but the entire experience about marketers delivering to their audiences—whether that’s a prospect or a customer. How do we really engage and deliver great customer experiences? As we thought about that, we identified some core challenges we see coming down the pipeline over the next five to ten years. Our core path to success is working against those core problems. Basically, we think that companies today have a real challenge with time to market—particularly enterprises. They’re investing a lot in technology, they’re building large stacks, they’re getting lots of data, but are really challenged to get these things as agile as they need to be. The market’s moving faster than ever before and while marketing itself hasn’t changed, do you want to deliver messages that matter to audiences that you understand and really get them to believe in your brand? That’s always been the same, but the speed at which we have to deliver, the number of devices we have to deliver against, is just exploding. And for that reason, we think that more and more enterprises are going to be focused on how do they move their budget away from technology and into experience? And for us, the key element of that is our SaaS-based foundation which allows companies to deliver great experiences in weeks instead of months. The second big major factor is consistency of experience. When you look across all these digital channels, or even just one channel (you look at web), so many enterprises have dozens or even hundreds of websites. Building a way to consistently deliver experiences against those, so the brand is on message, the quality is where it needs to be, and that you’ve got the accessibility and SEO standards, you need to be discoverable and useable by the largest audience possible, that’s another major issue. That’s why we’ve invested in digital quality, a tool that can scan everything—no matter where it is. Finally, privacy is a huge and developing area of concern for businesses. Consumers’ attitudes are really changing; there’s more and more regulation. So how did we not only supply a consent solution—which we already do—but how do we make that consent solution part of the customer experience? How do we enable what we’re calling headless consent? How do we allow businesses to really build progressive consent, adaptable consent, and work the way the customers expect it to?”
Adding to these challenges is also the amount of investment these technologies are putting into their marketing infrastructure and the complexities they can face. “The amount of complexity that’s in their stack leaves them in a position where 50, 60, 70 percent of their marketing experience budget, or digital experience budget, goes to infrastructure rather than experience,” adds Ian.
With content management going through several waves of evolution, my last question to Ian touched on the role of EMS and how it fits into the digital business world and why it’s so critical in today’s digital landscape?
“Lots of organizations stand up a content management system—struggle with getting it to do what they were promised to do. And then they have seen things like WordPress, or other sorts of consumer technologies that are great, but they aren’t secure, they’re not scalable, and they really end up tied to a single project. So, getting a good industrial grade content management system that scales the way you want, and in particular, doesn’t have infrastructure costs associated with it, is critical for businesses today.”