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A Fair Review of the Top Web CMS Platforms - BloomReach

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Acquia CMS

Acquia

BloomReach Inc. Founded: 2009
Head Office: Mountain View, CA URL: www.bloomreach.com
CEO & Tenure: Raj De Datta, Since February 2009 Platform Type: Java Based Open Source
License Model: On-premise and native cloud PaaS and a flexible delivery model, including CaaS & EaaS
Starting Price: $120,000 Annual Subscription (4 nodes/servers) Current Version: 12.1
Online Demo: Yes Trial Version: Yes
Customer Training: Yes Certification Training: Yes
Integration Partners: USA – 47, Canada – 4 Professional Services: Yes
License Renewals: Annual subscription renewals
Support: Hippo CMS Community, issue tracker, design, infrastructure and implementation reviews, ad-hoc technical consulting, performance tuning workshops, and Service delivery management services.

Introduction

BloomReach brings businesses the first open and intelligent Digital Experience Platform (DXP), was named a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms 2018 and really aims to drive customer experience to accelerate the path to conversion, increase revenue, and promote customer loyalty. BloomReach Experience is the enterprise version of the java based open source CMS solution Hippo CMS, which was acquired by BloomReach in 2016 and is now an integral part of its Digital Experience offering.

Comprised of three core modules, BloomReach DXP enables creation, management, marketing and measurement of digital experiences across the customer journey – including discovery, inspiration, action, retention and loyalty. It also puts business users in control of AI, so they can blend personalization strategies for specific use cases with full automation, segmentation, rules-based or manual approaches. The three modules include: AI-driven Personalization with BloomReach Personalization, One-to-One Experiences with BloomReach Experience and SEO at Scale with BloomReach Organic.

BloomReach's portfolio of customers include: Neiman Marcus, Staples, REI, Mailchimp and NHS. Incorporated in 2009, BloomReach is headquartered in Mountain View, California with offices in Amsterdam, London, Boston, Dallas and Bangalore and is backed by investment firms Bain Capital Ventures, Battery Ventures, NEA, Salesforce Ventures and Lightspeed Ventures.

Executive Interview

Top 10 Features

  • Full Content Centric Approach
  • WYSIWYG Multi-channel Support
  • Content Personalization Through Relevance Engine
  • Full Multi-lingual Support
  • Easy to Use for Editors
  • Advanced, Customizable Workflow
  • Possibility to Prepare Content and Pages in Advance
  • Flexible Delivery Model, Including CaaS & EaaS
  • Advanced Machine Learning Through Personalization
  • Extensible Platform, Allowing 3rd Party Integrations
Complete List of Features

Key Modules & Connectors

  • Cloudinary Integration
  • Salesforce Pardot
  • commercetools Integration
  • Hybris Integration
  • Elasticsearch Integration
  • Alfresco Integration
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • Oracle Eloqua Integration
  • ECM Documentum Integration
  • IBM WebSphere Commerce
  • Brightcove Video Cloud
  • Bynder Integration

Strengths

  • Since the Hippo acquisition, BloomReach offers an experience platform in addition to the capabilities it already had around digital commerce search and digital personalization.
  • BloomReach has an excellent reputation around the application of machine learning to drive effective commercial interactions. The combination of these existing capabilities with those of Hippo resonates highly with selection scenarios for WCM in the current market, and will continue to be strong.
  • BloomReach Experience provides versatility in its supported deployment models and enables high levels of interoperability with multiple systems. Capabilities such as partial page rendering allow it to work smoothly with other digital platforms and applications.

Weaknesses

  • BloomReach is a newcomer to the WCM market, and less known in Europe and Asia/Pacific.
  • The acquisition of Hippo with a business model based on open-source and subscription-based revenue, by BloomReach, which is a closed-source company will inevitably introduce complexities and inconsistencies with regards to pricing.
  • BloomReach still needs to build out its partner ecosystem quite aggressively in order to compete. 

Differentiators

  • Bloomreach is built on a very strong architecture and central content repository which allows the structure and capabilities to serve out content on web pages, snippets and are embedded into external experiences such as e-commerce environments or exposed rest API. This allows other people to go and take those outputs and embed them in to richer experiences which is a very unique capability allowing you to manage content and use it for any kind of new technology trend.
  • Bloomreach has had tremendous success with their content and commerce capability. The current BloomReach experience platform is a combination of the Bloomreach optimization product for e-commerce and the former Hippo CMS content management product that together was built as a common solution. 
  • With Bloomreach’s AI and machine learning for their e-commerce site they are able to optimize algorithims and search results which can be applied to content in the residual experience platform.

GDPR Initiatives

In the Fall of 2017, Bloomreach rolled out a set of new features in support of the GDPR to help their customers gather data and learn more about their visitor behavior. BloomReach’s main goal was to drive personalized customer experiences while satisfying the privacy compliance demands of the GDPR.
 
BloomReach now offers a built-in Privacy-by-Design framework and out-of-the-box support for GDPR, much like its framework for centralizing digital customer experiences. BloomReach's privacy framework will be a central place to help protect consumer data privacy and comply with the GDPR and with this initiative, every unique user will be able to access their unique profile and take advantage of the GDPR's "right to be forgotten."

Roadmap

Over the years, Bloomreach has grown to be a true global company and looking into 2018, Bloomreach is focused on expanding their global customers while also being highly committed to not only their partner ecosystem but also their partner base.
 
Moving forward, Bloomreach will be expanding the platform in such a way that their partners can easily take their platform and build their own vertical life solutions on top of them and into new markets. Building out their DXP platform is also on the horizon for Bloomreach as they will focus on the innovative capabilities of development teams and the technologies they have available and combine that with their DXP and developer platform to create those unique experiences.

Industry Recognition

Sitecore Gardner Magic Quadrant
Image above from Gartner 2017 WCM MQ Report.
Sitecore ForresterWave
Image above from Forrester Wave's Web CMS, 2017.

Customer Comments

In what ways are you using the platform?
Content Model: BloomReach content is stored as documents within a folder hierarchy, with configurable author and editor permissions based on that hierarchy. This was a firm requirement from our content creators and empowers them by providing an environment familiar from their desktop experience.
 
Multi-site, Multi-channel, Multi-lingual: All content is stored as documents and the site toolkit allows that content to be routed and transformed to various websites, channels, publication modes (published via preview), and languages. We used this mechanism to initially deliver the same content to separate desktop websites and mobile websites, but then later transitioned easily to a single, responsive Libraries' main website by building new templates without major content changes. We also utilize the channel mechanism to deliver subsites within the main website such as special collections exhibits and an important Japanese language collection. The same BloomReach instance also powers several other websites, such as our Digital Collections and an internal staff intranet.
 
DTAP: The repository bootstrapping systems allows us to easily include all content and configuration changes in version control right along with our code, which supports good quality control and productivity on a multi-developer team. That same bootstrapping systems supports clean promotion of changes through the testing, assurance, and production environments both for our local changes and BloomReach updates and version upgrades.
 
Performance and Scalability: BloomReach provides strong website performance and options for enterprise scalability. We trialled BloomReach using the standard development configuration, with a single Tomcat for the Site and CMS web apps, persisting the repository to the filesystem. We brought the production system online in the same configuration, changing the persistence layer to PostgreSQL. Later, we enabled the Jackrabbit clustering option and separated the Site and CMS to two different VMs. Once we needed to increase uptime and performance we split the Site into two Tomcat instances and added load balancing. We know that BloomReach has the tools to handle whatever reliability and scalability needs we have into the future.

What would you say are your biggest business goals using this platform and in what ways are you seeing results?
The University of Maryland Libraries' mission is to enable the intellectual inquiry and learning required to meet the education, research and community outreach mission of the University of Maryland, College Park. BloomReach provides a straight forward content management interface which empowers our librarians and staff to keep our website up to date with all the necessary information about our operations and services, seamlessly as part of their daily workflow.
 
One of our core values is that we champion broad and free access to information. Using BloomReach we have increased the number of integrations with our various digital asset management systems to increase discovery of our unique collections and research output. By reusing a common set of templates across multiple websites and channels, along with integrations such as Solr, we have been able increase the return in our investment in learning and supporting BloomReach.
 
Another core value is one of stewardship of information resources through focus on preservation and the long term. BloomReach is provided as commercial open source through a dual license: the community edition is released under the open Apache 2.0 license while an enterprise subscription is also available which provides support services and additional closed-source capabilities.  We originally trialled and brought the application into production using the community edition. Once we established that BloomReach was working well for us, both for the developers and users, we upgraded to the enterprise edition. However, if for any reason the enterprise edition were to become unavailable to us we could fall back to the community edition and maintain continuity of service.
– Ben Wallberg, University of Maryland

Retailers stand to improve by making their content more discoverable. BloomReach helps them reach this goal because its big data marketing application is completely different from other approaches that are out there.
– Aaron Shockey, Neiman Marcus Direct

Integration Partner Comments

Working with BloomReach as a partner adds tremendous value to our business and our market position online.
Yvo Booisma, Capgemini

At Building Blocks, we seek to partner with ambitious, innovative technology providers who offer products that will evolve the digital experience for our clients. As such, we are delighted to forge a strong partnership with BloomReach. Its technology platforms, combined with the full service offering of the Dept network, will help clients to improve customer experience, generate revenue, increase loyalty and, ultimately, accelerate growth.
– Jasper van de Luijtgaarden, Building Blocks
 

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Gary Eisenstein

Gary Eisenstein

Gary has been working in the IT industry for over 24-years and is a Principle Analyst at CMS-Connected. If you would like to receive additional advice or consultation on selecting a “best-fit” Web Content Management solution, Gary can be reached at gary.eisenstein@cms-connected.com.