Without little fanfare, Adobe Systems has signaled a strategic shift in direction with the acquisition of Day Software, a company based in Switzerland that makes a Web content-management system.
While the deal won't be consummated for a few months, the acquisition of Day Software means that instead of providing tools to create content, Adobe also intends to provide tools to manage it. That has some profound implications for not only Web content, but the way we think about managing content across the entire enterprise.
According to Kevin Cochrane, chief marketing officer for Day Software, the Adobe end game is to allow its customers to manage the entire content consumption experience whether it takes place on the Web, inside the enterprise or on a printed page.
That move has some significant implications for not only Adobe competitors in the Web content world, but also every vendor that styles itself as being a provider of enterprise content-management systems. Although Web content management and ECM systems, which are primarily used to manage documents in the enterprise, typically address different types of content, Cochrane says that these two disciplines inevitably will converge around a common set of management tools. Through the acquisition of Day Software, Adobe is setting itself up to contend with the likes of IBM, Oracle and EMC as the worlds of Web and enterprise content management converge.
Cochrane says customers want a common platform for managing content whether it appears on the Web, on a mobile computing device, a social network or anywhere else it might be consumed. Customers spend an inordinate amount of money on a range of content-management systems to serve different platform requirements. But for the most part, the content being managed is identical, so many of these systems are fundamentally redundant. What companies really want, says Cochrane, are more comprehensive approaches to managing content that will allow them to address "customer experience management."
Cochrane says that as part of Adobe, the Day Software platform will stay relatively agnostic when it comes to types of content, especially as it relates to the battle between Adobe's Flash technologies, Microsoft Silverlight and the rise of HTML5.
Glenn Conradt, vice president of marketing for media at rival CoreMedia, however, says a content-management system needs to be an independent platform that is not owned by any of the core companies that provides tools for creating the content.
In general, Conradt agrees with Cochrane about where content management is headed as it applies to customer experience management. But he adds that customers will want analytics tools that allow them to easily determine the value of investing in the development of a particular piece of content on any given platform. And with every vendor from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Google pushing a content-creation agenda, Conradt says he thinks that customers soon will value the independence of their content-management system more than ever.