Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Look Back at 2012

2012 has been a really interesting year for me both personally and professionally. Some ups, some downs, but more ups than downs, which is how you want it to be, so you won’t see many complaints here.
On a professional level, Ektron continues to be an innovative thought leader in the WCM space, so I’ve got job security and I work with good people. On the personal side, my family is doing well and looking forward to another Christmas, which to many is the best time of the year to spend with family, so that’s good too.
But let’s take a look back at how we got here:

Let’s Talk Business

2012 has been a year of change at Ektron. I’ve seen good friends move on to take on new opportunities and had the pleasure of meeting new faces that are as excited about the vision Ektron has as I am. These changes were highlighted by the naming of Ektron’s new President (Tim McKinnon) and the release of Ektron version 8.6, a major release in many aspects.

I've had the opportunity to develop new, long-term partnerships with clients like, GFT Forex, the Illinois State Medical Society, Morley Companies, the Credit Union National Association, and others, while working diligently to continue to strengthen relationships with existing customers like Indianapolis Power & Light, Culligan, Wolters Kluwer, and others. It's these relationships that I truly enjoy the most because I love watching clients succeed and knowing that I played a role in that success (big or small) is something that means a lot to me.

Aside from the Ektron WCM specifically, the digital market has seen a major shift in several areas such as mobile, where we’ve grown from simple “mobile-friendly” websites to responsive web design and true multi-channel support. We can thank Apple and Android devices for driving this as much as anybody, but it’s caused anyone that manages web properties to rethink what they’re doing and ensure that the platform driving their website is going to be nimble enough to adapt to the ever changing market.
We’ve also seen changes in the level of personalization that users now expect from their web experience. That “one-size-fits-all” site you ran out there in 2009 is no longer capable of producing quality leads and delivering the customer experience that users now expect. Tools like HubSpot, Marketo, and Eloqua are opening up the Marketing Automation market that’s really been somewhat limited in the past.

It’s been really fascinating to watch, but what it all really comes down to is how to give the user what they want, where and when they want it. Talk about a society of instant gratification…

In The Middle

Transitioning a bit between both professional and personal worlds, I’ve gotten really involved in social media and networking this year. I’ve been active on social media for a long time online via Facebook, Twitter, and whatnot, but really spent a lot of time participating in offline events with the Social Media Club of Chicago and others. I’ve met some really amazing people that are even better in person than they are online! I’m grateful for all the new friendships that I’ve made in 2012 and many of them started at SMC events.

Let’s Talk About Me

Like most of us (I imagine), I find myself turning around and wondering where did the time go? It seems like summer just ended and now we’re less than a week from Christmas – it just doesn’t seem possible.

I’ve seen Payton perform her first dance recital, turn 5, yes 5, at Disney World, and head off to kindergarten. And I’ve watched Keira grow from this curly haired ball of energy into this really sweet, affectionate little person. We’re so blessed to have them and they constantly amaze Tess and I with the things they do (and say!).

There were no really big life changes (no new babies, we didn’t move, etc.), but we lost people that were close to us, which is always the hardest thing to reflect on. I've found that the best way to cope is to try to maintain a positive outlook and stay focused on the things that I can control. If you don’t, you’re really going to miss a lot.

Wrap It Up

The end of each year gives us an opportunity to look back and take stock of everything we've experienced. The new year though, gives us an opportunity to look forward.

It's great to learn from the past, but it's the things you have to look forward to that mean the most. Thank you to everyone that made 2012 a successful year and I look forward to seeing what 2013 has in store. From our family to yours, I wish you the warmest holiday wishes and the best in 2013.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Five Ektron Enhancements That You Should Be Thinking About for 2013

As we wind down another wonderful year, I've come to find that a lot of our customers haven't had an opportunity to see the latest and greatest functionality that an Ektron-powered website has to offer. Therefore, I wanted to share my list of Five Ektron Enhancements That You Should Be Thinking About for 2013:
  1. Bringing Everything Together with The Digital Experience Hub -- Ektron's biggest product enhancement in version 8.6 was the introduction of the Digital Experience Hub (DxH). The DxH provides a middleware layer that makes integrating Ektron with other technologies, and other technologies with each other, infinitely easier. Plus, out-of-the-box integrations with, Microsoft SharePoint, HubSpot, and others provides a huge development cost savings. Beyond the backend integration, the DxH allows Business Users to access information from these systems via the Ektron Workarea and even perform tasks like tying HTML Web Forms to third party databases like
  2. Maximize ROI with Marketing Automation Technologies -- One of the most prominent integration selections with the DxH is in the area of Marketing Automation technologies such as HubSpot, Marketo, and Eloqua. By providing a tightly integrated solution between these technologies and Ektron, Marketers have more power, and information, then ever before.
  3. Reach More Prospects and Customers with Social Media -- Ektron's Social suite has continued to evolve with the growth of the social media channel and now includes the ability to publish content out to social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In, as well as pre-built integrations with many social media technologies.
  4. Float In The Cloud -- We've all heard the buzz about The Cloud, but many of us aren't sure if it's the right fit for our business. Obviously, that's not something I can decide for you, but it's good to know that in addition to Ektron's support for the Microsoft Azure Cloud via our Cloud Manager technology, support for additional Cloud infrastructures such as Amazon EC2 are due out in early 2013.
  5. Do More With Mobile -- We are becoming more and more of a mobile society wanting information faster whenever (and whenever) we are. Ektron's enhancements in this area have been well documented, but continued enhancements to provide more mobile preview options, additional support for responsive design, and more are coming in 2013.
In addition to these elements, for those interested in seeing what else is coming in 2013, I encourage you to visit the Synergy 2012 section to view the presentation titled Flight of the Phoenix (Phoenix is the code name for the next Ektron release). It provides a lot of great information about Ektron's roadmap. Happy Holidays!

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