Our journey has been an exciting one ever since 2004, when Kentico started. CMS, the founding of our internal startup, headless vs. DXP, division split, carve out, and return to our roots; what’s next? One thing is clear—our future is bright. Read on to discover more about how we got to where we are and what’s ahead of us as Dominik Pintér, our newly appointed CEO, walks us through Kentico’s journey in an episode of americaneagle.com’s ‘Lessons for tomorrow’ podcast.
Becoming a market-leading DXP
Getting to where we are today can be summarized in two words—insightful growth. Back in 2004, Petr Palas, our founder and former CEO, started Kentico as a way to easily develop new parts of an intranet solution he was originally working with. He built a .NET based content management system (CMS) that was easy to customize, extend, and generally work with. Kentico’s always been bootstrapped and self-sufficient, and we’ve watched it grow and transform significantly over the past 18 years.
Since the CMS-times, we’ve added an intranet solution, social networking, digital commerce, digital marketing, and eventually developed into a solid DXP in about 2013. The foundation of this popular tool was in place even then. “We’ve always known where the market was going. We’ve always been able to innovate rapidly and bring things to the market before the market even knew that this was the future direction,” says Dominik.
Last week, we took an exciting step forward and returned to our roots, refreshing our name to Kentico. Following the carve-out of Kontent.ai, we’ve got lots to look forward to when it comes to investing in product development and innovation of our flexible digital experience platform.
Headless—sometimes an appropriate choice, sometimes not
Some of the shiny examples of always staying ahead of the curve are our earlier investments into headless and cloud. Back in 2010, we started to develop our first cloud solution, running in MS Azure, and later on, our first APIs and a headless version within our product, finalized in 2012. That’s when we launched our first SaaS offering. Even though this internal project wasn’t commercially successful, it was an incredibly valuable lesson for us. Leveraging this experience, we’ve laid a solid base for our internal startup, Kontent.ai, and in building our own cloud-native DXP, Xperience by Kentico.
But given the hunger in the market to adopt headless and composable solutions, is that always the best choice for everyone? Or does it make more sense to go for a flexible DXP? “It really depends on how mature you are as a company and where your organization is on its digital journey,“ says Dominik. “If you’re the size of Amazon.com, relying on best-of-breed tools, pioneering best practices around running a website, then going fully composable makes sense for you. You need to customize everything so that the entire DXP runs according to your specific needs. For anybody else, this strategy isn’t the best choice—a flexible DXP is.”
The incredible complexity of connecting many different tools into a composable—headless—solution is truly demanding. You’re responsible for everything working smoothly together, managing all the relationships with the individual vendors, their procurements, and keeping license costs under control. It can get very expensive and time-consuming, also when it comes to hiring an appropriate number of developers who look after the individual implementations and maintenance.
Headless was born for developers to take control back, to be able to play with the latest technology. But at the end of the day, companies need to think about return on investment (ROI). A composable solution is very powerful but also very expensive, given the investment into all the individual tools as well as the number of developers’ hours needed for them to run flawlessly.
A flexible DXP, on the other hand, offering a fully-fledged solution with an open door for countless integrations in the form of a hybrid headless, is the right way to both enable developers and empower marketers. You have the option to use all the tools, unified within one user interface, that the platform offers by default. They’re simply there for you as an organization to start your digital journey and as you grow your digital maturity, you might go more in-depth, experiment with new tools from within the platform, or integrate any other external tools.
Gone are the days when marketers wouldn’t touch the code. Today, they’re savvier, they want agility as the pace of the market is very demanding and once you miss the train, it’s gone. Therefore, enabling a low-code/no-code approach that Kentico’s DXP offers, is the future. And again, we’ve known that for a while. With pre-built integrations, even less tech-savvy people can do much more themselves.
“After Covid, we gained a better understanding that a company might not exist in two years. Time is of the essence. So, if you’re planning to launch some projects that will take three years to implement, that might be too long, you need to react faster. A flexible DXP allows marketers to achieve more by themselves before an entire development team needs to come in and prepare something custom. It’s a solution that allows for quick innovation experiments,” rounds up Dominik, excited about the future.
A flexible DXP is the future
Unlike the headless CMS market, which seems to be slowing down lately, the DXP market is still healthy, profitable, and popular in the community. For a while, we’ve tried to focus on investing in both directions, developing both a DXP and a headless CMS simultaneously, but it was demanding. To make sure both businesses were treated well, we separated into two divisions in 2019.
“Our initial thoughts were that DXP wouldn’t be the future. But that turned out not to be the case as headless is suitable mainly for Fortune 500 companies. A flexible DXP is a much better value proposition for companies. It's a platform companies can truly grow on,” adds Dominik, explaining why it felt completely natural to separate the two products and start this new chapter. “It will help everybody in the market—our customers, all partners, and even internally. And it allows us to go in our own direction. It's very exciting!”
Shaping the future of your digital experiences
Before the carve-out, part of the money we were making would always fund the internal startup. But now, we can invest it all in our own product, which allows us to innovate faster, improve our services and provide you, our customers and partners, with an even better product. And we’re already paving the future-proof path for you, having introduced our new, cloud-native SaaS solution, Xperience by Kentico, in July 2022.
“The market seems to be vibing about cloud. We will still have an on-premises solution available, but this offers a great deal of flexibility as well. Our solution can be easily customized and decomposed. If you need to leverage any other external tool, you can easily plug it in. That’s how we built Xperience by Kentico,” states Dominik. It’s a platform built as a single-tenant solution, offering an additional layer of security and privacy, isolation, and performance. That’s why it perfectly represents the future of DXP.
What’s ahead of us in the upcoming years?
In Dominik’s words: “The DXP will play a key role in categorization, aggregation of data, and making sure that the right data and content is shared to the right audience. We’re also looking for the best practical ways to leverage artificial intelligence. That's where our future is going and how we’re building our new product today, so that it accommodates all the growing needs of the DXP market.” And it says it all about the direction we’re headed.
Generally, our aim is also summarized neatly in our win-win-win philosophy. We’re looking at what our customers need and do our best to deliver on it so that they can grow their digital experience maturity efficiently. We also want our partners to be successful and deliver the best possible services to their clients, which is why we invest in constantly improving our product and services too. And finally, we want to make sure that even our employees are happy and satisfied, so we’re doing our best to innovate even in this sphere as we see great importance in it.
Would you like to explore even more? Make sure you watch or listen to the whole episode of the ‘Lessons for Tomorrow’ podcast, hosted by americaneagle.com’s fantastic Tim Ahlenius. And if you’ve still got questions, reach out to us! We’re always here for you.
The Total Xperience with Kentico CEO, Dominik Pinter
Hear first-hand from Dominik, our CEO, about Kentico’s journey and future!
Subscribe to the Kentico Xperience newsletter
You'll receive our newsletter once a month with all the updates you need to know to keep you in the loop with the Kentico Xperience community. Just the hits—guaranteed.