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When it Comes to Digital Transformation, Complacency is Not an Option

June 14, 2017

By Jim Panagas and Duncan Hendy

CHANNEL: Digital Experience

We live in a digital age where the rate of change is almost incalcuable. Whatever tools or technologies your business relies on today could be obsolete by tomorrow.

Companies have no time to rest and take a breather. Keeping up to date requires businesses to monitor emerging technology and make the right call as to when it’s time to bring new technology onboard.

So how do you do that, given the staggering number of vendors and solutions out there? By doing your homework, asking lots of questions, and making informed decisions with your eyes wide open.

It Comes Down to Solving Business Problems

We spoke with a few practitioners to hear what tips they would share to stay ahead of the curve.

Jeff Mihalich, director of sales and marketing at Brecksville, Ohio-based Codesummit  recommended shaking off the technology-specific focus. As Mihalich said, “You don’t need a particular technology. You need to solve a business problem. If the technology helps, that’s a reason to buy it. If it’s something you just feel you need to bring in because everybody else is using it, then there’s probably not a good business case for it.”

However, if it is the right technology for your business, continued Mihalich, “See if you can bite it off in small chunks. Don’t try to throw all these cutting-edge technologies into one basket, because you’ll probably end up failing and not doing what you need to do, which is sell your products and services.”

Digital Transformation Doesn’t Come Easy

Digital transformation encompasses numerous business considerations, including cost, learning curve, migration strategy and a host of technical concerns.

And while it brings with it the possibility of an incredibly positive change for the business, there’s the human element to consider as well. The reality is that people don’t like change. They have a comfort zone, and being forced to leave that zone can lead to a great deal of resistance.

Having senior management stand firmly behind the introduction of new systems and new technologies from the outset can go a long way towards alleviating those fears. Buy-in from the senior team sends a message that the new technology is a strategic move wanted by and desired by the business.

It also helps to have management articulate the many advantages of embracing new technology … rather than facing the risk of the business being overtaken by competitors.

Not Just About Technology

That being said, it’s important to realize digital transformation isn’t just about technology. It’s about changing the way that businesses work.

“It’s about what kind of results you can achieve for the business,” said Vince Mayfield, CEO at Fort Walton Beach, Fla.-based Bit-Wizards. He added, “It used to be in marketing that you threw some stuff up on the wall and hopefully you had good data behind it. But now, we’ve got some awesome data systems interpreting and analyzing that data.”

A Long-Term Initiative Rather Than a Short-Term Fix

Finally, businesses must recognize that digital transformation is not a one-time, short-term fix. Rather, it’s an ongoing series of initiatives designed to improve agility and push businesses closer to their customers than ever before.

It’s more akin to a watershed moment that fundamentally changes the business — for the better.

Brian McKeiver, solution architect at Allendale, Mich.-based BizStream anticipates a bright future, where a company’s digital marketing solution receives customer information from multiple real-time feeds so the content truly matches what the customer is looking for. 

“The amount of new technology is going to be incredible,” said McKeiver. “A lot of it will be API-first … leveraging new techniques and different channels. Maybe you need to make a native mobile app, a smart watch app, as well as a website that's responsive on a mobile phone. Having data that's structured and available to you, to be able to build on whatever platform, whatever front end technology — that's where the future is going to be.”

The Moral of the Story

The moral of the story is to be vigilant. 

Regardless of how smoothly your digital systems are operating today, keep your eye on the horizon. Stay informed. Chat regularly with your customers and vendors. Read what both analysts and editors have to say. Have a discussion with a solution partner that’s closer to the technology than you are. 

Yes, it’s a fast moving digital marketplace out there. But if you keep your eyes wide open and make the right moves, success is there for the taking.

About the Authors

Jim Panagas is a Boston-based marketing and communications professional who has served as high as the VP Marketing level. His accomplishments include founding and managing a marketing agency serving technology clients exclusively.

Originally from the UK, Duncan Hendy is content strategy manager at Kentico Software in Brno, the Czech Republic. When not working, Duncan composes classical music, including for the Brno Filharmonie for Mendel: The Legacy, broadcast in 19 countries.

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Kentico's CEO, Petr Palas on Leadership and the Future of Web Content Management

June 14, 2017

By Laura Myers

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 mind of Kentico's CEO, Petr Palas, to discuss leadership, Kentico's recognitions by Gartner, and what trends and innovatons he sees on the horizon. 

As CEO, what do you feel are the fundamental elements to leading a successful company?

"I believe the success of every technology company stands on three pillars: people, product and innovation. Jim Collins, the author of my favorite book 'Good to Great', says that you need to start with getting the right people on the bus. We've been lucky to build a strong and aligned team, starting from the management team down to individual developers, customer success engineers and sales people. Secondly, it's the product. For a technology company, having a strong product is everything. You can fake it by nice marketing only until someone comes and provides your customers with a much better solution to your needs. That brings me to the third pillar, which is innovation. 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."
 

What do you feel Kentico has done to contribute to their recognition in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and how do you intend on keeping up that momentum?

"It's hard to name one particular thing. It's rather the overall Kentico story. We've been in the market for 13 years, always growing and profitable, without any investors. We earned that recognition by sticking to our longterm vision and values and working tirelessly to bring value to our customers and partners, without fancy words and shortcuts. We plan to continue doing what made us successful: listening to our customers, innovating the product and growing our relationships with digital agencies that represent the core of our business." 
 

What are your thoughts on the WCM space? For example, what trends do you see on the horizon or where do you think we will see the most innovation in the coming months?

"We believe the industry is approaching just another inflection point and the traditional CMS products will face a disruption from cloud-first headless products that will provide higher agility that is so important for companies that go through digital transformation. What we repeatedly see with our partner agencies is that the headless approach allows them to move from waterfall to much more agile planning which results in a better allocation of people's time and shorter time to market.

When I say cloud-first, I mean CMS products built as true multitenant Software as a Service. Many vendors offer their on-premise products through their managed hosting or Platform as a Service plans. However, neither of these models provides the true benefits of the cloud.

Our vision is, however, much broader than just a headless CMS. We are the first vendor providing a digital experience platform as true SaaS. Also, we recognize the need to empower non-technical roles who do not want to depend on developers for things like creating a landing page and we will provide a solution that combines the benefits of headless core with channel-specific functionality." 

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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Study: Location-based Marketing, Big Data Ranked Top Aussie Digital Marketing Opportunities

June 07, 2017

by CORINNE NOLTE

Half of all Aussie digital marketing professionals believe location-based marketing presents the greatest opportunity to the industry in Australia, ahead of big data and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to surveys undertaken at the recent Kentico Roadshow.

While the outlook for the local digital marketing sector is positive, research indicated there are challenges ahead, with 55.7 per cent of conference attendees saying that the inability to harness big data, or being overwhelmed by big data, was a major challenge facing Aussie digital marketers.

Wayne Jasek, director of Asia-Pacific operations at Kentico Software noted that despite a lot of industry attention on the impact of ad-blocking technologies and their potential to limit the effectiveness of targeting audiences online, only a small minority of industry professionals saw ad-blockers as a threat to their work.

The study also found that 55 per cent of attendees believe that businesses are not providing enough fresh or personalised content on their online platforms for audiences.

“Today, personalised online content is critical,” Jasek said.

“Delivering personalised, dynamic content across all digital channels means that a business is keeping visitors on its pages longer, which in turn increases their conversion rate.”

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