Crownpeak Buys e-Spirit—The Consolidation Era of Content Experience Platforms Begins
by Jim Lundy
Crownpeak announced it was buying its competitor e-Spirit in a deal that was announced on March 19th. This blog discusses the implications of the new content experience category and the reason it will force a consolidation of traditional WCM providers.
Why did Crownpeak Buy e-Spirit?
Crownpeak positions itself as a web content and digital experience provider. e-Spirit will give it more web content capabilities, which Aragon refers to as content experience.
Regarding e-Spirit, the demands of shifting from legacy WCM to the newer requirements of content experience is putting pressure on most of the traditional WCM providers. The demands for R&D, which for some vendors means re-engineering, is significant.
With over $150 Million in investment from K1 since 2016, Crownpeak has been on a buying spree. K1 is a venture capital firm that invests in high growth companies. One of the ways that companies can grow is via acquisition (see WCM Consolidation below).
What Is a Content Experience Platform?
Content experience platforms are the next generation offering to address the age-old enterprise need for creating and delivering dynamic experiences to users on any device. Historically, this need has been met by web content management systems (WCM), which have undergone numerous transformations as they have evolved to address the shifting needs of the modern enterprise content pipeline, which needs to move beyond the static website model of the past.
WCM Consolidation—Bigger Is Better
Consolidation has been happening rapidly in the ECM market—it is no surprise that it is happening here. A larger install base means more revenue to invest in the product. On top of that, consolidation is the most popular venture capital and private equity playbook. The two playbooks that are often used:
- extract cash from the combined entity or
- invest in growth. For content experience, legacy providers will need to invest in engineering to modernize their offerings.
Crownpeak has not been standing still. Since K1 invested in them, they have executed 3 different transactions.
|Active Standards||March 6, 2016||Digital governance capabilities|
|Evidon||August 1, 2017||Digital governance, risk, and compliance|
|e-Spirit||March 19, 2021||Content experience|
This deal is just the beginning of a new era of consolidation of legacy WCM providers. This represents a changing of the guard. Newer CXP providers are winning deals in demanding markets such as retail and as requirements increase for more customized customer journeys, expect to see even more consolidation in the next 36 months.