Overall thoughts on the week –
There is a lot of vendor focus around two core problems these days; federation and visual editing. Some examples:
- Netlify acquiring Gatsby (particularly for Valhalla – federation) and Stackbit (visual editing)
- Contentful releasing Orchestration and Experience Builder (as part of Contentful Studio)
- DXP vendors going composable and adding these functions; Sitecore with Pages. Optimizely with Graph and Visual Builder.
There are a lot of functions like this which will get absorbed into larger portfolios one way or another. As always, the real test is to understand how well they actually work together; either within a product portfolio within a vendor (are the UX, APIs and documentation aligned?) or across vendors (how open are the APIs and UX to integrate?)
First, some personal announcements:
I’ll be working on contract part-time with the MACH Alliance to help with technical evaluations (for both ISVs and SIs) – I am really looking forward to working with that team and keeping up-to-date on what’s going on in our space.
I’ll also be presenting on a webinar with Andy Kaiser , the CEO at Ninetailed on October 26th at 11am ET. For more information, see the announcement. It will be referencing something I wrote about personalization quite some time ago – “Is the hype around personalization dead?” and we’ll cover how some of the challenges remain, but also where the tooling and opportunities have changed.
After a summer of clearing my head and doing lots of building and physical labour building stuff (with my hands! and power tools!) it’s now time to get back indoors and front of a computer for the long, cold Canadian winter. As such, I’m starting to work with a few vendors on some product strategy and thought leadership material – if you have a need here, please reach out.
Contentful Storylines and product announcements
Contentful is wrapping up their multi-city Storylines tour. During this tour, they announced Experience Builder which represents something of a philosophical shift for them in finally acknowledging what we all know – even in headless systems, most organizations are still building web-centric applications and the need to cater to content creator needs is still a high priority. They join Storyblok, Kontent.ai and other headless vendors in working to close the usability gap for content creators (but there is still a lot to do across the board, in my humble opinion).
Optimizely One represents the integration of the Content Marketing Platform (formerly Welcome Software) deeper into the portfolio, including powering things like Experimentation.
SaaS Core is the ability to run their CMS in a SaaS delivery model (handling upgrades, etc.) and looks to be a similar approach to what Sitecore has done with XM Cloud and Adobe with AEM as Cloud Service.
They also announced an upcoming release of Visual Builder – which seems at first glance to be comparable to Contentful Experience Builder (and other tools to layer visual editing on top of underlying headless content sources) – as noted, these functions are all starting to come together and is an interesting trend confirmation; headless approaches are becoming more marketer friendly, and DXPs are becoming more composable.
Read the Optimizely press release.
Sitecore XM Cloud Plus and Symposium returning
XM Cloud Plus represents Sitecore making progress in integrating their various acquisitions into something more akin to replacing their on-prem/PaaS Experience Platform. After taking a year off and perhaps feeling left out after Opticon, Sitecore has announced the return of Symposium – to be held in Nashville October 14-17, 2024.
Read the XM Cloud Plus announcement from Sitecore.
Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) updates
Adobe announced some updates to AEM, including more out-of-the-box front-end and edge delivery improvements and document-based authoring from the Adobe Franklin project.
I have a much larger posting on Adobe Franklin, enhanced by discussion with Cruce Saunders of Simple [A] as this content creation paradigm is of real interest to both of us. I have a sandbox up and running, and have been doing some playing.
Read the summary from Loni Stark (Adobe VP of Strategy and Product).
MACH Alliance Admissions Playbook
The MACH Alliance has released detailed admissions process playbook. See the announcement and playbook itself. This should clarify the different categories, criteria and process itself for organizations looking to become members – or customers who want to understand what a “MACH” vendor or SI actually means.
Digital Experience Community MVP program
The DX Community is accepting nominations for MVPs. It’s a rather new community, but there are over 330 members on Slack and reasonably active discussions around our industry – I recommend joining, particularly for the networking and discussions.
Builder.io Visual Copilot
On my note about headless vendors doing more in the visual editing space, but there being work to do – builder.io took this one step further with code generation from Figma. There is still gaps around governance on how to keep designs (and design systems), code, content and content standards aligned – but this is an interesting development in the space.