What’s In It For Me
For 3,800 website owners, that concern has caused a lot of lost sleep since it was announced last week that Ektron and EPiServer were merging. Even before the CMS watchers began fueling speculation of a possible merger, Ektron customers had good reason to question the intentions behind Accel-KKR’s investment. There aren’t many examples of successful equity buyouts where the investment in an aging technology platform generated profits for its owners without increasing the burden on its customers. From almost every angle, the acquisition of Ektron and its subsequent merger with EPiServer looked like it was made at the expense of the Ektron install base. Or was it?
Herald the New Dawn
In the coming weeks there will be a flood of information coming forward that sheds light on EPiServer’s new “convergence” strategy. That’s great news. Take the celebration to the streets. There’s something in it for everyone – Ektron devotees and detractors alike.
For the Ektron users who have been gathering in conference rooms after hours, popping corks and chanting, “The king is dead, long live the king”, you’re in luck. The years of waiting in quiet envy of your competitors’ platforms are over. For stakeholders who’s long-suffering attachment to an outdated CMS architecture was thought to be irreversible, you now have options.
Synergy and Flexibility Can Coexist
EPiServer has crafted an elastic path strategy to migrate Ektron sites to their newly branded cloud platform. These things don’t happen overnight, but eventually, the merged platform will incorporate the most compelling features of Ektron into a product suite built on EPiServer’s best-in-class architecture. To ensure continuity within the camp of the committed and allow the greatest possible latitude for deciding if and when to move, EPiServer intends to support the most current releases of Ektron indefinitely and twilight the older ones over time.
All this bodes well for the Ektron user community. The good bits of Ektron will get better; its shortcomings will be buttressed by superior EPiServer technology, and the choices for migration are left to the discretion of the website owners. It will be some time before the cost implications of this merged universe are revealed, but intuitively, the dividends from any investment that enhances the digital experience will more than offset their impact on budget.
A Call to Action
Some Ektron customers will not accept this news enthusiastically. Platform migrations can be an all-consuming affair and not every organization is driven by the same business requirements or has the same appetite for change. However, for thousands of forward-thinking website owners who are coming to grips with the limitations of their digital infrastructure, this merger should be embraced as a wake-up call, an invitation to leverage their current investment without starting over, and an opportunity to up their game and gain competitive advantage.
Barring any missteps in execution, this strategy will play out nicely for all parties involved and disprove widely-held beliefs about failed mergers, incompatible platforms and the collapse of customer value. Good job Accel-KKR.
[Image courtesy of Georgie Pauwels via Flickr Creative Commons]