Xenia Von Wedel from SocialRadius recently did a Q&A with CEO Interview Elie Auvray, to get a feeling what the Adobe / Day Software means for the Content Management market in general, and for Jahia in particular and decided to share her interview with our readers. Thanks Xenia!
Xenia Von Wedel: The announced Adobe acquisition of Day Software, a WCM competitor of yours, strikes us as a bit odd. What does WCM have to do with graphics tools?
Elie Auvray: First of all, I would like to congratulate the Day team for an outstanding deal. It is also a great recognition of the value provided by next-generation WCMs, so we at Jahia are happy about that as well.
The acquisition makes sense for Adobe, as it allows them to cover the whole value chain from content creation to its management and publication across any channel. Day will be the framework Adobe lacked for their enterprise offerings.
Xenia Von Wedel: They say that “Day customers will be able to leverage more interactive application and document capabilities from Adobe® AIR®, Adobe® Flash®, Flex, Adobe® LiveCycle® and PDF” – can’t they do that with Jahia as well?
Elie Auvray: Yes, a number of our customers already integrated some of Adobe’s flagship products with Jahia. Even through Adobe products aren’t open source, they are very interoperable – if they weren’t nobody would use them.
Xenia Von Wedel: Will the acquisition give Day a competitive advantage over Jahia?
Elie Auvray: No. Once the acquisition by Adobe is approved by authorities, Day will be even more focused on what they call the “Customer Experience Platform”, which is but one facet of Jahia’s offerings. Our mission is to unite and present content, no matter where it comes from and no matter what’s its type. Therefore Jahia will still be the vendor of choice for customers who need to tie all their content together with a sophisticated front-end solution that makes all their information silos work together, smoothly. That is very different from the mission of the now Adobe-controlled “Customer Experience Platform”. Jahia will continue to champion robust open source standards and frameworks, such as the Apache foundation. We hope that Day will continue to contribute to these frameworks, but Adobe, quite frankly, hasn’t been the best promoter of standards in our industry, aside from their own.
Xenia Von Wedel: How do you think the acquisition will influence the content management market in general?
Elie Auvray: For the casual observer, it could seem that this acquisition is simply in line with the consolidation recent trends, starting with EMC-Documentum, then Open Text-Vignette and Autonomy-Interwoven – not to mention a myriad of smaller or more technology-oriented acquisitions.
But the Adobe-Day acquisition is unique in that it polarizes the market even more and, at the same time, it commoditizes so-called ECM solutions: By making Day the backbone of its content value chain (from creation to management and delivery) as opposed to Alfresco – which seemed the logical choice considering Alfresco’s OEM relationship with Adobe – Adobe validates that Content repositories are the new commodities, and that what really matters is the tools and composite applications that are capable of being repository-agnostic.
That is very good news for Jahia, as we’ve hammered that message since our inception. It’s not good news for pure document-centric vendors that built their entire core around more limited content types, such as documents and records.
I remember that John Newton, CTO of Alfresco, said at the 2009 Boston Gilbane Conference that “a WCM can live without a DMS but a DMS cannot live without a WCM”. Adobe’s move affirms the wisdom of that comment.
Xenia Von Wedel: What’s the relationship status between WCM and ECM?
Elie Auvray: User experience platforms like Fatwire, Day, and Jahia communicate with, rather than compete with ECM/DMS. That’s why connectors, REST interfaces, and standard like CMIS are so important.
At the end of the day, what matters is software that unifies those content silos. At Jahia, we started unlocking the frontiers among software classifications with our United Content Hub (link: http://www.jahia.com/jahia/Jahia/Home/features/jahia_enterprise_class_software/Enterprise_Connectors)
We think that Day is a great competitor for these reasons. It's good to face competition on such an innovative market, as it reinforces Jahia’s vision. As it is, customers shortlist us on a regular basis at the expense of Microsoft and other ECM and portal vendors that fail to deliver comparable value.
The relevance of this convergence, from a user perspective, came from Stephen Powers on January 22 of this year in “Web Content Management and Portal: Together at Last?”:
IBM is betting that the WCM and portal markets will converge and cease to be separate markets, with vendors offering combined WCM/portals suites that have one administrative tool set, one presentation management structure, one repository, and so on.
Xenia Von Wedel: Although Day Software is not open source, CTO David Nüscheler has a strong voice in the open source community. What impact will the acquisition have on the CMS community?
Elie Auvray: We really hope that David will continue to contribute to the open source community. Whether he can do it within Adobe remains to be seen, considering Adobe’s track record of strong, but not so open, products. Similar fears surfaced after Oracle acquired Sun, and the recent retirement of some of the standards Sun had shepherded should make us wary of Day’s future involvement with standards.
Xenia Von Wedel: How will the acquisition affect the remaining CMS players?
Elie Auvray: Our industry is maturing and consolidation is a natural and healthy evolution that serves the greater good: innovation. When an industry consolidates, it means yesterday’s innovations becomes today’s commodities, setting the stage for the next wave of disruption!
Xenia Von Wedel: Big companies tend to acquire, rather than innovate – can smaller players still play a vital role?
Elie Auvray: Yes. Smaller players are in the best position to innovate, since they are more nimble and technology-driven. Larger Software companies are tied to the short term imperatives of the stock market, focusing on maintenance revenues as opposed to the next big thing.
Xenia Von Wedel: Day Software and Jahia are competing in the same high-end/Enterprise CMS space – does Jahia still stand a chance considering the massive sales power Adobe brings to Day?
Elie Auvray: Blue chip companies often pick Jahia over much larger software vendors for a simple reason: our software relieves their pains faster and it costs them much less.
That has nothing to do with in-house sales power. What sales power does is to bring more opportunities. Our indirect sales model serves us well in that regard: 60% of our software-related revenue is brought by partners, and some of them have tremendous sales power. Our job is to make the best product that our partners can easily deploy and put in front of more and more customers.
Xenia Von Wedel: Conversely, will the acquisition give Jahia a price or flexibility advantages?
Elie Auvray: There has already been a lot of debate among pundits on the acquisition’s impact on the price of Day’s licenses: the short answer is no one really knows!
Xenia Von Wedel: Day Software and Jahia both say that content is everything – what are Jahia’s differentiators?
Elie Auvray: Yes, Jahia and Day share the same vision around what content really is. What we bring is an added dimension of "whatever the source or type ," – be it a PDF stored in Alfresco, Documentum, or Sharepoint, a JSR 286 portlet, a mashup, a widget, an RSS feed or an open social gadget -- these are all natively managed and supported objects in Jahia.
The market used to be divided – and still is, to a certain extent – among ECM, DMS, Portal, WCM, mashups, and other content silos, due to technical incompatibilities. This causes great confusion among users, integrators, and customers when they have to select the right product for their project.
This divide no longer makes sense, since projects must now use multiple components, or “content composites”, to fulfill customer requirements.
Xenia Von Wedel: Could you tell us more about these “content composites”?
Elie Auvray: Content Composites will make your website, portal, extranet, intranet, Enterprise 2.0, or whatever the name project much more flexible. At the end of the day it's all about what you want to do with these content-rich applications; but the core features required to deliver such solutions are basically the same. Content composites are small parts of a web site such as: Articles, files, document list, breadcrumb path, tag cloud, collaborative application, document sharing, social interactions through comments, votes, wikis, forums, and blogs: it's only a question of what, when and how you want to aggregate those content objects within your web solution.
This is consistent with our vision from day one: that all these objects should be integrated into an intuitive and unified web interface, where webmasters, content producers, and even developers can work efficiently without having to worry about the type of content or composite, or where it comes from.
We called this “web content integration”: combining WCM, DMS, and portal features in a unified web platform that communicates seamlessly with complementary third party software. Our next version, Jahia 6.5, will deliver the latest evolution of this concept in the most powerful Composite Content Platform in the market today.
Xenia Von Wedel: How do you envision the future?
Elie Auvray: Information (collective knowledge) is the most important asset companies have, after their people. As a matter of fact, Adobe products are key in our industry. But the real value is content. Not the file type, the tools or the technology.
Information –wherever it comes from- needs to be controlled and accessible not only from anywhere, but also smartly leveraged across different sites and applications. Ubiquitous digital content must be freed from technological limitations. This is the challenge confronting next-generation WCMs like Day and Jahia.
About Elie Auvray- President of the Board & Chief Executive Officer
Elie Auvray co-founded Jahia Solutions Group, starting french operations in 2002 and is acting as President of the Board and CEO. In 1996, Elie founded Voice, a software vendor, pioneering the easy-to-use web application development with Vivendi Group as their first customer. In 1999, Voice merged with the company of the former President EMEA of Cisco in order to create a global software provider, Reef Internetware.
Working closely with the CEO, Elie was the General Manager for Reef France, the first country in term of sales (overachieving sales objectives 7 quarters in a row), and built the first US sales team in San Francisco. Consequently, Elie lead the Europe Presales organization, developing and supporting the company's Partners network. Reef successfully raised 85 million euros in 2001 from international venture capitalist (Goldman Sachs, 3i, Viventures). Reef Internetware IP was acquired by Mediasurface in 2002. Elie has a Master of Business & Tax Law, a Master of Contract Law and is a graduate from the Business Law Institute (IDA) of Paris.