Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published shortly after the merger of Ektron and Episerver was announced this time one year ago. Take a look back at our immediate reaction to last year’s news below:

Some news came out this week that took very few people by surprise: Ektron and Episerver have officially merged.

At Adage, we’ve been working with content management systems for our entire existence, starting in the dark ages of 2001 to 2003 when we built our own CMS capabilities into projects using some very simple block-and-tackle methods.  We’ve worked with just about every major .NET CMS, from Sitefinity, Kentico, Sitecore, Umbraco, and DotNetNuke, to Ektron and Episerver.

During our 14 years, we’ve seen CMS platforms come and go, as well as seen some platforms evolve while others stagnated. Adage was an early adopter of Ektron, but Ektron’s limitations led us to look for a CMS that could better serve our clients. That solution, in many cases, was Episerver. 30 implementations later (the most of any US Episerver partner), we haven’t looked back.

“The merger of Ektron and Episerver will likely mean the end of Ektron, As someone who has transitioned their organization – as well as numerous clients – from Ektron to Episerver, I know this is a step in the right direction.”

Ektron – Promising at first

We started our first Ektron project in 2004. Ektron was a solid CMS in the beginning, the best .NET CMS that we knew of at the time. However, Ektron did not stand the test of time from a technical perspective. The longer we had a client on Ektron, the more time we found ourselves dealing with underlying technical issues that often required work-arounds.

For simple implementations, Ektron could hold its own; however, as we all know, websites have only gotten increasingly more complicated.  Despite being extremely proficient in .NET, our developers often struggled with getting Ektron to go beyond the basic features to be able create our customer’s desired web experience.  This included expanding on features or using a specific API call.  There was also, as many of our clients know, a steep learning curve.  This made it difficult to bring teams, both our clients and our own developers, onto projects in a reasonable time period if they did not have prior knowledge of Ektron.

We found that Ektron was a product that, while well-intentioned with many bells and whistles, seemed to struggle under its own weight.  Long term this became increasingly difficult to build on and support.

Episerver – No regrets

Around 2010, Episerver landed in the US and we immediately assessed it as a potential CMS.  In reviewing Episerver, we had two requirements: it had to be easy-to-use and it had to be developer friendly.

As a test, we converted our own site from Ektron to Episerver.  Immediately, we had several staff members jumping in to editing content where they dared not tread previously.  One of Episerver’s strongest traits is its consistent, well thought out interface for content editors.

It passed our technical review with flying colors.  The initial .NET project was clean and small, and it also compiled quickly, a huge plus for developers.  Episerver adhered to Microsoft’s best practices, so knowing .NET made it easy for our developers and our clients’ technical teams to get up to speed quickly.

“Episerver is now Adage’s CMS of choice. We have thirty Episerver sites in production and ten in development- making us the most experienced of any US-based Episerver partner.  We’ve also successfully completed four Ektron to Episerver conversions and built a data pump to streamline the process.”

The Merger – Good to Great

Software mergers often negatively impact customers. While some claim this will be the case with Ektron/Episerver, we disagree. The new Accel-KKR company has already chosen to call itself Episerver, and we believe that marks the beginning of the end for the Ektron software, rather than any attempt to merge the two.

Ektron customers should be happy that the two platforms are not being diluted down into one, as they would likely lose the chance to experience the many new features that Episerver has to offer.

For Episerver, the merger offers great opportunities. Episerver acquires Ektron’s strength in marketing and sales, along with a client base of around 4000 customers.  Provided Episerver approaches these Ektron customers the right way, they could end up drastically increasing their market share, especially in the United States.

Again, as someone who has been “on the front lines” of the CMS world for quite a while, we see the merger as great news.

“The merger provides Ektron customers with a ready alternative to Ektron, which can deliver a CMS that will better stand the test of time, provide an intuitive interface for your development teams, and, perhaps most importantly, not elicit a groan whenever the organization desired a major enhancement or version upgrade.”

For Episerver as a business, this is also good news. The biggest problem Episerver has had over the years is just getting the opportunity to be considered as a potential CMS option with customers. The merger is already changing that. With the additional resources, the new Episerver already presents a very serious threat to Acquia, Sitecore, Adobe and other leaders in the CMS space for mid-sized and enterprise customers.

Episerver has always been a contender. Now it’ll finally have a chance to compete. And for Ektron customers, this means you have, in our opinion, the best conversion option to help you take your site into the future – and provide your technical team a great CMS platform.

Roy Chomko

Author Roy Chomko

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