Interview with Nuxeo CMO, Cheryl McKinnon

CC: First off, let me thank you for taking time out of your no doubt busy day to speak with me today, I appreciate the opportunity.

CM: It's my pleasure. Thanks for the offer.

CC: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be with Nuxeo?

CM: Yes. I started with Nuxeo in Sept 2009 as their first Chief Marketing Officer. Nuxeo embarked on an aggressive North American expansion program for 2009, and building an experienced sales and marketing team was part of that plan. I've spent most of my 16+ yr career in one aspect of ECM or another. I started doing consulting and technical training, then moved into more product management and marketing roles.

I've been with leading ECM companies such as Open Text, Hummingbird and PC DOCS. The last role I had at Open Text before joining Nuxeo was Director for their Enterprise 2.0 team. But my academic background is not in technology or computer sciences, I came to the world of content management through graduate work in history, so I've always been fascinated by aspects of information capture and long term preservation of digital content.

CC: Interesting, you said you came from OpenText to Nuxeo. OpenText has, over the last couple of years been doing some fairly aggressive acquisitions. What made you choose to leave for Nuxeo?

CM: I really am an avid trend watcher in the ECM space… and always made the choice to be with a vendor that I thought was pushing the envelope in shaping the next generation of ECM. The signals around me were lining up to show that we were (and are) on the brink of some interesting changes in this market.

Having lived the world of Enterprise 2.0 for 2 years, realized that the concepts of openness, transparency, community were not just buzzwords. When I started investigating open source ECM companies it struck me that companies like Nuxeo were not just talking about these concepts – but had been running their business with these principles for years. It seemed like the utterly logical next step in my career.

We are also seeing disruption from other new models – Sharepoint continues to grow in adoption, and the new 2010 release will push this momentum even further. The rise of interoperability standards, open source, Cloud and SaaS are all putting pressure on the leading vendors of the 1990s that are struggling to move architectures and business models forward.

CC: I would agree, it seems like a bit of a shift in the industry to a more open environment then it used to be.

CM: Open is important – but it's open source as well as open standards. CMIS is a really key innovation.

CC: Compared to open source competitors such as Alfresco, how do you feel Nuxeo differentiates itself? I know this has been asked a thousand times I'm sure but it bears repeating.

CM: Sure… Alfresco is certainly the most well-known open source ECM brand out there, so we're glad that much of the tough work on educating business buyers about the benefits of open source has been done. We differ in a few ways: 1) technology stack 2) business model 3) target markets.

1) Technology stack – we've architected our underlying ECM platform – what we call Nuxeo Enterprise Platform (Nuxeo EP for short) in a way that we think is technically superior to most other vendors out there. It's intended to be highly extensible, configurable, plug in friendly, and is proven to scale at rates Alfresco often cannot.

2) Our business model is intended to be clear and understandable by the end user or partner. We do not have a separate ‘free community” edition of the code vs. a paid for ‘enterprise edition' that customers need to purchase in order to get support. We have 1 downloadable offering (under LGPL license agreement) that is platform – so what the customer prototypes and pilots is exactly what we'll engage with them on a support contract. No unpleasant surprises or unplanned budget items down the road.

3) Our target markets are generally large enterprises or governments who have unique content management challenges that need a platform that can be extended and tailored for their needs. We don't try to chase the Sharepoint alternative message – offering basic content management is something we can do, but not where the power of our platform shines. We'd be much happier working to fill the gaps where Sharepoint doesn't have a strong fit instead of trying to go head to head with a de facto office standard.

But we also have Cloud editions of our DM offering for small or medium businesses who don't have the IT infrastructure to support an ECM deployment – we can get them up and running very quickly priced at simple monthly or yearly subscription rates.

CC: Do you find Nuxeo products tend to be used more in one type of market then another? By market, I am referring more to sector such as retail, manufacturing, warehousing, etc.

CM: Our top industry sectors are : government, high-tech engineering, education and aeronautics/aerospace. Generally we do well in organizations that perceive themselves to be innovators or leaders in their own industry segment – they've realized the value of using technology for competitive edge in this information economy.

CC: Who are your most high profile customers (that you can share with us)?

CM: Larger companies often have development teams and architects that know their business and technical requirements. These kind of organizations are becoming impatient with software vendors who have fewer resources than they do, don't know their business needs, and take too long to deliver fixes or new features. Some of the high profile customers using Nuxeo for ECM include: EllisDon ($3B construction management company in Canada), Cengage Learning (large K-12 online learning/encyclopedias), the French Press Association, French Ministry of Education, and numerous public sector agencies in Europe. Also, BBC.

CC: How is Nuxeo aligning itself with mobile application functionality? Is there any such existing integration functionality already in place?

CM: Yes, mobility has been a really hot area for us lately. Some of the beauty of being open source is that we're seeing creative applications and clients built for our platform all of the time. The new CMIS initiative is also inspiring developers to build out CMIS clients that work with any cmis-compatible ECM repository (including Nuxeo).

Toolkits for Android were published just in the last couple of weeks, and we have Nuxeo specific clients for iphone, windows mobile. We're also seeing some really interesting new partners come on board specifically looking to build document centric applications on iphones – but needing a repository for secure content storage at the back end. So 2 streams of innovation – interesting clients accessing Nuxeo stored content, but also using our enterprise platform to build brand new content applications with a mobile user interface.

CC: You recently announced some new integration possibilities with Lotus Notes. Can you expand on that for us?

CM: Sure. We worked with our Nuxeo Galaxy Partner metaLogic on this integration and migration toolkit. metaLogic has been a partner since 2009, and bring 2 decades of Lotus Notes and Domino Doc expertise.

With many Domino Doc customers trying to decide what to do with their legacy investment now that IBM is end-of-lifing it, metaLogic found a great way to help refresh their content management infrastructure by introducing Nuxeo as their next generation platform.

So this toolkit bring migration and integration support to help in a few ways – from simple Lotus Notes email filing and capture in Nuxeo DM repository, to more complex migrations of content and metadata when the customer choose to move entirely. They have early adopter clients that are seeing success on this movement today, and we're thrilled we could co-launch the solution for a global audience.

CC: What other integration options are available for Nuxeo that people may not be aware of.

CM: We work with a range of proprietary and open source vendors to help our customers round out their content management needs. Examples include scanning/capture and OCR with products such as ReadSoft. CMIS has opened up some amazing doors to integration even as it was in late draft stage. We have integrations with WCM tools such as EZPublish and Drupal, portal apps such as LifeRay, BPM tools such as Bonitasoft and Intalio.

CC: What can you tell us about Nuxeo Studio?

CM: Nuxeo Studio is one of our gems. We launched it in early 2010 and it has already started driving new opportunities and revenue for us.

Nuxeo Studio is a hosted design environment that helps our subscription customers and partners significantly fast track their application customization and configuration activities. Rather than needing developers to code changes specific to a site deployment, Nuxeo Studio lets business users with a technical background build new content types, lifecycles, content automation streams, even re-brand the look and feel of the application with simple drag and drop/wizard tools.

A business analyst or information architect who understands business logic, metadata, etc can build out new applications in hours instead of days or weeks. At the end of the design session, the customizations can be simply exported into a .jar file, and when dropped into their Nuxeo repository, they immediately can see the plug-in take effect and can get their users to work.

CC: With this suite of applications, Studio, EP, DM.. what is the next innovation we can expect to see from Nuxeo?

CM: We have a few cool things on the 2010 roadmap. In late June we'll be launching our Case Management Framework, which is another distribution of our Nuxeo Enterprise Platform foundation offering that has been extended and tailored to help companies and ISVs and integrators build case-centric business applications for vertical or horizontal purposes.

We have numerous success stories in government globally with applications such as correspondence management, so we've taken many of the common elements, templates, workflows, metadata and added the framework element to fast-track new application deployments. It's bundling much of the work and learning we've accumulated by doing successful deployments to help more organizations get their projects moving quickly.

We are also enhancing our Records Management offering so that we can get our US Federal DoD 5015.2 certification done in October 2010. We've got strong content lifecycle management capabilities in our core offering today, but have a couple of new features to add before we go for certification. So we will also drive new opportunities in the government and regulated industries who need the stringent records management features that the DoD spec outlines.

CC: How is Nuxeo working to help educate vendors, system integrators and customers on best practices? What tools are in place to make the transition from standard records management to electronic less “frightening” for companies seeing this as a requirement?

CM: I started my career in ECM as a trainer, so I'm pretty committed to education on all levels. We're on a constant improvement project to help improve our documentation, publish more whitepapers, get more customer stories out there.

We're also big supporters of the industry associations like AIIM and ARMA who are committed to these vendor-agnostic best practices. I'm constantly trying to keep my blog fresh (as does the whole Nuxeo management team) so that we're sharing what we learn, what we read, what our customers/partners do that works.

There's a really vibrant ECM community out there on the various social networks, so we do what we can to connect people and publish content that is useful and can help projects get moving.

CC: Well, Cheryl. That's about all of the questions I had for you today and you've done a great job of answering them in good depth, I appreciate that. Do you have any parting comments you would like to make? (Consider this your open mic moment)

CM: This has been fun, glad to have the opportunity. Final comments? Just that this is one of the most fascinating times I've seen in the world of ECM. Some of the changes we're seeing today – move to interoperability, split between the ECM platform vendors vs. ECM Suite vendors, rise of open source and SaaS – “means the innovation in space are going to come from some new vendors and fresh perspectives. Watch this space ? “

You can learn more about Nuxeo by visiting their website at or follow Cheryl on twitter.