Kentico 1 on 1 - Talking Kentico with Petr Palas
In this edition of Kentico 1-on-1, I had a chance to talk with the Kentico CEO, Petr Palas. A former developer turned owner; Petr has a very interesting history with the CMS industry and how Kentico came to be. In our talk, Petr shared with me his thoughts on the CMS community, how Kentico fits, and some of his favorite parts of the product.
Hi, Petr. Thank you for talking with me. Everyone knows you own Kentico, but I’d like you to give people a quick background about yourself, and to tell how you became the CEO.
I actually started with CMS systems before I started Kentico, back in 1998. I started my first job, and part of that was creating an in-house CMS solution. Over the years, I created several iterations of CMS systems. Back in 2004, I was talking to various .NET developers and many of them were looking for a good and affordable CMS solution on the .NET platform, which was still very new at the time. There wasn’t much they could choose from in the market, so I started Kentico and created a CMS for developers. Over the years, our solution has actually evolved from a CMS for developers to an Integrated Marketing Solution that targets not only developers but also marketers as the business users. In the past, CMS was all about saving money on making web sites and managing content. Today the Integrated Marketing Solution is about making more money for the companies that use it. That has been a big shift for the market, and for our company and employees because it required some bigger changes in how we think about our product and our customers.
What part of Kentico are you most proud of?
I am certainly proud of our team and proud of our product. I would say I’m most proud of our partner network. As you know, Kentico is a very partner-focused company. We do more than two-thirds of our business through our partners. With over 1000 partners in over 80 countries, we are able to provide Kentico to customers all around the world. We are very happy to see we have a large number of really loyal partners who do most of their business on Kentico and use it as their primary CMS and Online Marketing solution. They have continued to work with us over many years, and we see them growing their business around Kentico. It is really rewarding for us to see the success of our partners.
How do you think Kentico is positioned in the market? Do you think it is positioned well? Are there areas you would like to see us do better in?
There are many players in the CMS / CXM market today. What we specifically focus on is the mid-market space, which we define as customers who have outgrown simple solutions, in-house solutions, and open source platforms.
So ones that are moving to the next level, they have started with a simple solution and are now ready to progress to a commercial product?
Yes, but not necessarily any commercial product. They are not ready to progress to expensive, enterprise solutions. They have outgrown their existing solution, and they now need something more sophisticated. But, they are not so big and don’t have large enough budgets or resources to buy and implement some of the bigger enterprise solutions. We are in a great position in the market because we feel the mid-market space is being overlooked by the larger vendors who really only focus on delivering an enterprise solution to Fortune 500 and Fortune 2000 companies. They omit a large number of the medium-sized companies who need some sophisticated, all-in-one solution but have very few options to choose from today. I think this is a great opportunity that we want to leverage in the market. To be the number one option for these customers in the mid-market segment. If you look at the market, there really isn’t another solution, at least not on the .NET platform, that would offer the same level of functionality and robustness at the price level we offer to customers today.
Is there a particular feature or part of our product that sets us apart from other CMS and EMS systems?
I would say, feature by feature, Kentico is very powerful and has lots of functionalities. Other vendors also have lots of functionalities. Sometimes, we may have some functionality that others do not and vice versa. What is important about Kentico is that we are one of the very few vendors in the market that deliver a fully-integrated solution that combines web content management, e-commerce, and online marketing, but also intranet, portal solutions, and online communities in a single, fully-integrated package. Moreover, unlike other vendors, Kentico actually built all of these features ourselves. We don’t rely on acquisitions of third-party software. We can provide the most integrated experience to our customers from all of the vendors in the market today.
How is Kentico preparing for the future to ensure our product is always valuable to our customers?
Our Product Management team constantly talks to our existing and potential customers. We also contact customers that chose a different solution to see what influenced their decision. We keep our ear on the market and listen to what customers need today. We are trying to make the right guesses about what they will need next year and three years later. Often, when we introduce some functionality, customers aren’t ready for it. For example, when we introduced our Online Marketing solution, it took a year or two before our customers were ready to use it. We want to be one step ahead of our customers’ needs so that when they realize they need something new, we already have it in our product.
It was really interesting to sit down with Petr and talk about how he sees Kentico and the partner ecosystem. Here at Kentico, we put a lot of effort into delivering the best product we can that will exceed our customer’s needs. Look out for some great new capabilities coming in future versions as we build an awesome platform together!