Kentico now has 2 CMS products

It is not unusual for software vendors of all sizes to release new products, but it is a bit unusual when a vendor releases something overlapping and potentially competing.

That’s effectively what Czech-based CMS vendor Kentico did back in November with the release of Kentico Cloud, a completely new and separate product that runs as a parallel product line.

To learn more about both the vision and reality behind Kentico Cloud, I talked to Kentico CEO Petr Palas and Director of Product Karol Jarkovsky. In addition, I sought guidance from MMT Digital, a Kentico Gold Partner based in the UK.

Introducing Kentico Cloud

According to Petr and Karol from Kentico, there were 3 main drivers behind the introduction of their new product:

  1. Cloud: Most companies still running their CMS in inefficient way
  2. Omni-channel: Web is no longer the primary channel which finally moves us away from the page-oriented world.
  3. Digital transformation: Which requires organisations to be more agile, including on digital content

To address these big changes, Kentico has had internal resources work in internal start-up mode for a while on smaller stand-alone products that used to be called:

  1. Kentico Draft for producing content in an omnichannel world
  2. Kentico Deliver for content delivery via an API
  3. Kentico Engage for marketing and experience optimization.

These were the three main components that came together and became Kentico Cloud. As Petr wrote in the release announcement for Kentico Cloud it is a new Cloud CMS, not just CMS in the cloud. In an honest quote from the blog post Petr continued:

“If you know Kentico CMS, our traditional CMS product, you’re probably asking yourself: “Is this Kentico CMS hosted in the cloud?” Not really. That’s what we did previously with Kentico+, which was Kentico CMS hosted in Microsoft Azure and managed by Kentico… and it didn’t work”

According to Kentico, not a single line of code has been reused from Kentico CMS.

Kentico also has a bit of edutainment on their website with the below summary of the advantages:

 

traditional-cms-kentico-cms
A light-hearted illustration from the Kentico Cloud website where the headless knight comes out victorious

 

A partner’s perspective on the new direction for Kentico

MMT Digital is one of the Kentico Gold Partners and has worked with Kentico for more than 5 years implementing Kentico CMS with customers around Europe and North America.

I spoke to Rich Madigan, who is a Senior Project Manager at MMT. To quote Rich:

“Kentico Cloud does bring a new approach to development and the use of Kentico Draft is a big deal for clients. They’re now able to get started on content creation and curation much earlier which helps streamline project delivery”

In our conversation, Rich also highlighted that while Kentico Cloud is still in its infancy, the product is a pleasure to work with, particularly from a development perspective as it provides greater freedom and the ability to embrace more modern front end technologies.

Rich also mentioned that the shift to the cloud has had a customer impact when it comes to ownership. Particularly for IT teams that have to get used to both a subscription model and a new and modern infrastructure.

The J. Boye take

To be fair, innovation is a good thing and Kentico deserves credit for executing on their vision.

Needless to say, customer requirements and the underlying technology platform has radically changed in recent years. To just name a few buzzwords: Cloud, headless, marketing automation, personalisation, omnichannel. The CMS space in 2017 is far from the same as in 2012.

Kentico Cloud does not come with the bells-and-whistles compared to the legacy Kentico CMS. Based on requirements, agencies and customers will have to choose the best fit for them.

As usual: Use your requirements to choose the best fit for your projects.

Learn more about recent CMS innovation

Full disclosure: Kentico is a long-time J. Boye member with seats in our CMS Expert and Software Product Management groups while MMT Digital is a member of our UK Kentico Partner Group.

Introducing Concept Software

rasmus-skjoldan-software-pmHow can we as software product managers set up radically experimental projects to gauge the viability of new ideas—without risking ongoing business and without confining ourselves to the restrictions of the current business environment?

Rasmus Skjoldan is Lead Product Manager at Swiss-based software vendor Magnolia and posted this question at a recent J. Boye Software Product Manager Group meeting in London.

He shared his inspiration as a product developer by the way the automotive industry uses prototyping – also known as concept cars – and coined the term concept software as a potential answer.

Besides the memorable quote on creating unsellable things as shown in the photo from the group meeting, Rasmus outlined concept software as a way to:

  • explore beyond category
  • consciously design for dreams and emotions

This article is based on a conversation with Rasmus and shares some of the thinking behind what he calls ‘concept software’.

Software product design must learn from the 1930s auto industry

concept-car-circa1930s

To quote Rasmus:

“With both courage and resources on your side there is vast potential value in allowing yourself and your organisation to push experimental product-free prototypes to the customer”

Rasmus first presented these ideas at the Web Summit in Lisbon in November 2016, where his presentation focused on how to design great products through freedom from the narrow-minded focus of bringing a finished product to market as fast as possible.

rapid-prototyping-concept-cars

One of the key points in Rasmus presentation was how conventional software innovation follows a distinctly different pattern than what the auto industry uses to conceptualize new product ideas. Traditional software prototyping and what is known as concept cars are categorically different approaches to prototyping – with different outcomes:

  1. In traditional software prototyping, you build several rapid prototypes which lead to a decreasing amount of candidates and eventually one sellable product. The cornerstones of the process are failing fast, getting to market quickly and focusing on a single solid offering as the end result. The value in terms of external revenue comes from the working, sellable product, whilst the early prototypes and product candidates, that did not get used, are thrown away.
  2. The concept of concept cars aims to explore multiple ideas in one unrealistic explorative and often futuristic, prototype – which lead to multiple, sellable products. This approach means less throw-away and in turn succeeds slowly, has a slow market entry but which can influence multiple products or product lines. Rasmus asks: “Might we use the same thinking to create a new thing called concept software?”

Concept software changes the game

renault-laguna

As a designer turned technologist turned product manager, Rasmus sees concept software as a way to explore and design differently. There are many examples of concept cars that illustrate this.

From the customer point of view, concept software has the potential to evolve brand perception, while increasing employee pride internally as the staff gets to work on cool stuff that is showcased to the world.

When asked to look for examples of concept software, Rasmus cited the work at Magnolia with beacons and apps for fast track to IoT technology, while others mentioned the much-hyped Google Wave and other Google products that failed.

When a group member at the J. Boye group meeting asked how to sell the idea and investment to management, another member quickly replied: “Consider it a clever marketing investment”.

Learn more about software product management

Thanks to Crownpeak for hosting the group meeting in London in late January.
The next meeting in our European Software Product Management Group is hosted by Magnolia in May, while eZ Software hosts the kick-off meeting in our US Software Product Management group later this month.