MACH and J. Boye social night in Toronto – November 21st.
I will be in Toronto on November 21st. to attend a J. Boye CMS Experts group in person. It has been quite some time since I’ve been to one, so I’m looking forward to seeing Janus and friends. Following this event, we’ll be at the Cactus Club at First Canadian place at 5:30pm along with other MACH alliance folks in based in Toronto.
MACH Three dates announced
The MACH Alliance has announced the dates for their next conference, to be held in New York City on June 17-18, 2024. I can safely say that the alliance overall and events are making great strides in promoting the principles and educational material needed for successful MACH enablement. I think organizations (clients, SIs, etc.) that are “MACH/composable-curious” should make an effort to attend. The content should be more client-focused and essential for networking and seeing the state of the composable industry.
MACH Alliance throws down the gauntlet
The MACH Alliance published an open-letter in response to some vendors who are not members using the term MACH in their marketing. It’s been interesting to have the vantage point in my career where I can see all sides; vendors who are MACH vs. those who are not but also the market of customers who are looking for clarity and understanding in what they buy.
The MACH Alliance admittedly has to walk a fine line between “advocacy” and “gatekeeping” functions. If they are too strict in criteria, they would completely dissuade vendors and SIs from undertaking the effort to make their products and practices MACH-compliant and open themselves up to accusations of gate-keeping. If they are too loose, then the standards and practices cease having a clear meaning and definition. The resulting thread on LinkedIn covers both sides.
I suspect this opening salvo is merely the beginning – in the same way that many other many other vendors have “embraced and extended” or coopted terms (such as headless) – with more M&A and “SaaS-ification” of existing products, these situations aren’t going away any time soon.
Some thoughts on Adobe Franklin
As promised, I published my fairly long piece on evaluating Adobe Franklin and it’s model of in-document editing (and relying on cloud document storage for many of the CMS “management” functions).
Apparently there are actual real live sites running on it out there. Matthew Garrepy pointed me to https://www.merative.com/ (the former IBM Watson Health unit – remember when that was supposed to be the next big AI thing?) which in turn led me to find a whole host of GitHub repositories with the implementation code for all sorts of sites, so clearly some Adobe folks are pushing this model for some very large enterprises (Accenture, Volvo, PGA Tour, etc.) are among those that have sites “live” in one form or another.
WordPress 6.4 released
WordPress 6.4 was released this week. Being a minor release, it’s not surprising there aren’t any major updates (you can see the full list of improvements here: https://wordpress.org/documentation/wordpress-version/version-6-4/ )
But the more interesting element (and one thing that I love about Automattic) is each release is accompanied by a new theme that is specifically made to take advantage and highlight the newest capabilities. In an era where much of the innovation in CMS is centered around APIs, structured content, delivery, performance and the like, it’s nice to see that visual design (and how much you can get “out-of-the-box”) is still a focus for them.
(Given the particularly artsy bent of the theme designers I can only assume the inclusion of “Vonnegut’s asterisk” is entirely intentional. If so, cheeky.)
Of course, all the focus on visual design flexibility is likely coming from the need for WordPress to blunt the likes of Wix and Webflow potentially stealing that market – but I think it’s a good strategy.
On the subject of WordPress, I relaunched my corporate site recently. This gave me a good chance to play with their Gutenberg editor in a more constructive fashion (and I do have some usability opinions there. Perhaps there will be a blog post at some point).
Some folks asked why I didn’t do a rebuild in a headless CMS and play around with Astro – but I think this is a good example of the right tool for the job. In my case, the majority of my content is still “blog-ish” and already existed within WordPress. It was much easier for me to build the rest of the site around that core and refactor the visual design.
I will also say for me personally, it does provide the right amount of flexibility within the templates (but lots of easy ways to override and extend – but that’s just because I know CSS relatively well). Time-to-market is the operating principle for many right now, and this approach underscored that.
6sense crushes Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Gartner Magic Quadrant
ABM is something that really only B2B marketers get into, so this news may not apply to most of my readers, but it’s interesting (to me anyway) to see there are actually martech categories where there are clear winners and losers. This one is an example where 6sense and Demandbase are clear leaders and it’s not even close.
CMS and many other categories often have the C-word (“commoditization”) thrown about, which makes it hard for vendors to compete – but ironically makes it harder for buyers to choose from among many vendors where the differences are less clear. In the ABM case, you can’t go wrong with either 6sense or Demandbase.
With CMS, you are making a similarly large bet in a much more active market – trying to parse out nuggets of differentiation to meet your use case. (This comes with a minor plug for my services – if you need someone to walk you through all the choices out there, please reach out).
Hubspot acquiring Clearbit
Related to B2B ABM tooling, Hubspot announced they are acquiring Clearbit. It is interesting to see more and more B2B and ABM functionality becoming critical (and closer) to core digital experience delivery.
EQT and Sitecore
The normal routes for a PE firm to exit their position in a company have largely dried up recently (and very quickly at that), so EQT is suggesting an approach that seems halfway between a SPAC and an IPO. (Paywall jumping link here)
What does this all mean? Who knows! But it is worth mentioning because there are a lot of vendors that are in a similar space – namely, they got private equity funding and there are limited options for an exit. Given that every PE investment is getting rather long in the tooth (Optimizely acquired by Insight Venture Partners in 2018, Acquia by Vista in 2019), it’s likely there is not enough growth or margin for an IPO and fewer (or zero) tech vendors that would actually want to acquire them.
Really, what would an Oracle, Microsoft, SAP or Salesforce get out of buying a Sitecore, Optimizely or Acquia? So this approach by EQT might make some sense. It may also signal a move to investing for cash flows, rather than enterprise value growth – which makes a lot of sense, given this is a largely mature market at this point.