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Interview with Ian Truscott of SDL about the Bemoko Acquisition

By Mike Johnston March 13, 2013 Interviews  Comments

As you may have heard, SDL recently acquired mobile web solutions provider Bemoko to enhance their Tridion content management system. To help us understand what it was that made this acquisition attractive to SDL, we decided to speak with VP of Product Marketing for SDL Content Management Technologies Division, Ian Truscott.

Why did SDL feel it was necessary to purchase bemoko as opposed to implementing their own solution?

 Good question. SDL already has a strong track record of customers using Tridion to deliver content to mobile devices.

In addition to the underlying platform capability to do that, we have been investing in a product strategy to deliver this single, multi-channel delivery tier for some time. For example, the 2011 product release included functionality that enabled the content author to preview and then edit in context content as it appeared on a selected mobile device – so this was our trajectory, toward a single multi-channel delivery tier.

What we found in bemoko was a complimentary technology that will accelerate the realization of that underlying strategy. We are probably best known for the strength of our content model (managing content variants, multiple sites and channel localization through the BluePrinting model) and we found that the way bemoko manages devices is very complimentary to that.

That complimentary fit was essential for us; our strategy dictated a single delivery tier - I refer to this as an experience tier – rather than a bolt on capability, a silo of technology/content or an additional thing for our customers to figure out.

In addition, an acquisition obviously brings talent to the organization – and in this case we have acquired some outstanding individuals that will be a key part of delivering this strategy.

Why bemoko specifically?

Our research revealed what I think most people assume about this space, there are a lot of niche players. What we found during that research was a wide variance in what mobile vendors offered in terms of the product/services mix.

As I touched on in your last question we needed technology that had a level of maturity that would accelerate our own strategy and people that would contribute and fit into the SDL culture. In the UK we have a saying that” you are judged by the company you keep” and in bemoko we found they kept pretty good company as a technology provider for brands such as Pizza Hut and Cable & Wireless.

What does this new offering bring to SDL’s current feature set?

Put simply, on day one, it gives our customers an “out of the box” delivery platform that renders content optimized for the device (from a trusted partner with an investment in the integration) and analytics to provide insight into that experience.

Of course they all say that – so I think some of the highlights are the way it handles image scaling (something often forgotten in responsive design strategies), the way it manages device families, inheritance of capabilities and a focus on salability and security – all consistent with the needs of a typical enterprise Tridion customer.

That’s just day one - going forward – and this will start in our next major Tridion release at the end of this year – these capabilities will be baked into our next generation content delivery platform. A delivery platform that already includes the targeting and personalization functionality we have built or acquired through the FredHopper and Alterian acquisitions.

Can we expect mobile apps from SDL in the future that coexist with / allow interaction with the CMS?

This was already happening thorough our UX development strategy; significant parts of the product are already optimized for touch and this will continue. We anticipate a growing number of our users to be using mobile devices to contribute and manage content.

Will bemoko continue to operate under the bemoko name or will they disappear and become absorbed by SDL instead?

I think the rest of my answers give you a sense of the nature of this acquisition; we see the technology from bemoko in the core of our next generation content delivery platform – rather than as a bolt on.

What other future opportunities does this acquisition present for SDL?

Talking to our customers, they are moving from mobile being a side project, limited to some brands, markets, products or services - a content/technology silo - to being a part of their mainstream content and marketing operations. This obviously coincides with how their customers are engaging with them – access to the web is ubiquitous as we reach for whatever device comes to hand.

We therefore perceive a future for digital customer experience that is omni-channel, not simply that you can blast your content out and it looks pretty on a smaller screen – but that as a consumer you can move between digital touch points and maintain a consistency of conversation from device to device during that engagement – something that leverages all of the pieces of the CXM platform that we are building out.

Does this round out all of the necessary pieces that SDL needs to provide a solid solution for the consumer or are there still other pieces of the pie that you are looking to fill?

That depends on the pie! Joking aside, it really does depend on what is the customers need and therefore what would make up a solid solution for them. If we ring fence this conversation around the mobile web, then yes.

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So there you have it. I fully expect we'll see more and more acquisitions coming down the pipeline involving other vendors within the next year or so as they scramble to ensure their products are mobile ready.

For more info, visit SDL online at www.sdl.com/products/tridion/

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Mike Johnston

Mike Johnston Author

Mike is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of CMS Critic, he is an entrepreneur, marketer, movie lover and tech geek. 

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