Kentico 10: "The Most Scalable Kentico Release in its History"
Today, Kentico, a content management and digital experience platform provider, announced their latest release of its ASP.NET CMS platform, Kentico 10. Karol Jarkovsky, Director of Product at Kentico, was kind enough to jump into a skype interview with our Tech Reporter Laura Myers, here at CMS-Connected, on the issues that Kentico addressed with the new release and the future roadmap of the platform.
Kentico has seen that marketers, developers, and content creators are frustrated as they are overwhelmed by the complexity of the tools and find they simply can’t get the advertised benefits out of their CMSs. To solve this issue, the vendor built Kentico 10 as an intuitive toolset that not only aligns both developers and marketers but also allows them to easily get their job done faster.
Apparently, frustration over the complex tools is not the only market problem. Karol explained the three primary issues Kentico saw in the market and addressed with Kentico 10. Before talking about those, I‘d like to take a moment to show my appreciation for how Kentico conducted its own market research to figure out where the struggles were by talking to developers, marketers, and content creators in order to create a rooted solution. According to the results of their research, there were three main pain points that stood out the most to them:
Although organizations want to increase productivity, they simply don’t have the right technology in place.
CMS fails to deliver enough context for businesses to achieve their goals.
CMS doesn’t either scale as needed or if it does, that comes at a price.
Not only did he provide results, but he also explained which solutions came with the new version by addressing each painpoint. First and foremost, the most important area that should be improved is productivity, according to Karol. He referenced one of the most recent researches from Gleanster Research, illustrating that 75-80 percent of organizations expect a reduction in the content management cost when they implement a CMS. However, it turns out that the majority of the exciting tools that some vendors offer do not enable users to be more productive. In fact, they spend a decent amount of time on one simple task. Karol extended this with an example and said that a content authors spends, on average, from 10 to 15 minutes to find the right image for the content, and from there, they also spend some time to optimize that image for various channels, devices, and layouts. To tackle this issue, Kentico 10 offers a solution, called responsive images management, which allows users to predefine specific image variants. For example, after you simply command the system on which variants you want created, the image uploaded will automatically be optimized without any additional work.
The second pain point is the context, as mentioned above. In regard to context, Kentico believes that there are three main goals that marketers are struggling with the most:
Converting prospects into customers
Increasing existing customer value
Gaining an ROI from marketing activities
Achieving these goals is directly related to the success of marketing campaigns. However, Kentico saw the struggle was within the campaign process. According to Karol, the success sometimes takes a fair bit of tweaking of marketing campaigns. He references Lean Startup methodology at this point and says marketers need to go through multiple loops to fail, learn, and improve. However, the problem is that many marketing tools available don’t let marketers make any changes to a running campaign as they have to conclude the campaign and start a new one if they want to tweak the campaign based on their new findings. Which results in them losing data that they collected up to that point. In reality, marketers learn a lot throughout their marketing campaigns, and often, many assumptions made in the beginning get replaced with the facts over the course of the campaign. To solve this problem, Kentico 10 offers a campaign management tool which allows marketers to make changes to a running campaign on the fly without losing any kind of data so they can immediately see what impact the changes have on their campaigns. What I really like about this solution, though, is that Kentico also built a feature called “campaign journey tracking” which is a type of analytics, as Karol explained, that allows marketers to see which particular step of their campaign gets the highest visitor drop out so they will understand exactly which part of the campaign failed and what needs improving. In this way, marketers can detect the problem much faster than ever, regardless of their skill sets and experiences in reading analytics. Although Karol categorized this feature under the second painpoint which is context, it could also be shown as one of the productivity tools.
The third pain point is scalability. It is no secret that the data sets organizations gather and use today are much larger than ever. In fact, it is estimated that 53 percent of data is left unanalyzed by organizations. 45 percent are unable to analyze data across disparate sources, and 42 percent do not feel they can drill into enough detail to gather actionable insights. The bad news is that the data that organizations need to harvest will increase rapidly. Gartner estimates that there will be 6.4 connected “things” in use by the end of 2016 and that this number will increase to over 20 billion by the year 2020, simultaneously increasing data fragmentation and data volume. To address this pain point, Kentico made Kentico 10 the most scalable Kentico release in its history. He emphasizes that with Kentico 10, online marketing scalability is significantly higher than any of the previous versions of the Kentico platform.
What’s Next for Kentico EMS
Last but not least, he shed light on what’s next for Kentico EMS. Now that Kentico 10 is out, Karol Jarkovsky told us that they have already started to work on the strategy of Kentico 11. Although he couldn’t reveal the details of the new platform yet, he said that the e-commerce solution will see some improvements with Kentico 11. These improvements will be more focused on integrations. The reason is that even though Kentico EMS comes with a built-in e-commerce solution, there are always organizations that want to use standalone best-of-breed e-commerce solutions. Instead of saying our way or the highway, Kentico plans to provide integrations with those best-of-breed B2B and B2C commerce solutions, so organizations, especially in the mid-market, wouldn’t miss a mature, stable, flexible CMS solution that would match their e-commerce functionality very well. Therefore, Kentico’s plan is to work with market leaders in the e-commerce space on delivering the optimal solutions for those organizations that are looking for the best of both CMS and e-commerce. Additionally, Karol stressed that they will continue investing in the ability of their CMS solution to keep their superior usability as Kentico sees it as a differentiator in the market. With Kentico 11, Kentico is also looking for improving data visualization to make sure marketers can do more in less time with Kentico, a better way of building marketing emails with their email marketing solution, and upgrading the marketing dashboards that would enable marketers to make faster and more accurate decisions.
There has been a significant rise in the demand among customers to have compelling online user experience; this has encouraged organizations to adopt WCM solutions and services for the enhancement of online experience of customers. Moreover, these solutions help in reducing the cost attached to the creation and management of huge web-based content, as they require little IT support. From the vendor’s perspective, today what we see with the release of Kentico 10 is that the vendor has carefully examined the needs of the market and built their new version based on those findings. From a usage perspective, though, call me optimistic but it is exciting to see that enterprise technology providers like Kentico have finally and truly started to help organizations slowly catch up to the high level of customer expectations.