dotCMS’ 2023 Year-in-Review, Reflections from CEO Zain Ishaq

Zain Ishaq

It’s that time of the year again. Time to slow down ever so slightly and reflect on the year. And 2023, quite a year you have been. We just can’t wait for you to be over. This year was defined by extraordinary challenges and groundbreaking innovations. The business landscape battled with collapsing banks, looming recession, rising possibility of a global conflict, and the incredible challenges and opportunities presented by AI. 

It can become difficult to make sense of your purpose as a business in times of such unprecedented change and uncertainty. Your vision may get blurry; your mission may seem somewhat irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. It becomes important therefore to maintain a strong sense of identity about who you are and the purpose of why you exist. In that vein, we revisited and recommitted to our mission, vision and values in 2023 that will continue to guide and inspire us to do our best work in 2024 and beyond. 

Our mission is to “connect people through content” and our vision is to “help global enterprises simplify the creation, management and delivery of content.” 

We believe proliferation and democratization of content, especially aided by AI, have made content the central and most important element of organizational strategy. This increase in volume, standard, complexity, and importance of content has significantly increased the need for a system that enables large enterprises to bring all their content together in a way that ensures brand consistency, faster deployment, reach global audience across numerous channels, and all while maintaining the highest level of security in an increasingly hostile world. Our commitment to customers is to be the platform that does that. And in 2023, we moved the needle by a lot. 

Our Product

In 2023, we pushed over 1,500 improvements over 40 releases, introducing improvements for all types of users. 

We tripled our investment on building for marketers and content teams who need to go-to-market faster and reduce developer dependency. We made significant improvements in Content UI/UX and launched a New Design System aimed at bringing a modern, clear and consistent look through dotCMS as well as bringing the application into alignment with WCAG Guidelines for accessibility.

We rolled out Phase 1 of dotAI which will enable content teams to generate text and images through ChatGPT and Dall-E directly into the Block Editor. It will also enable semantic search and search summarization, generate SEO titles or descriptions, and auto tag content. We believe AI and ML functionality in a content management system can broadly be used to search, generate, transform, analyze, predict, and integrate content. In the next phase of AI, we will be adding more generative and transformational features as detailed in our AI Roadmap

We launched Experiments so content teams can test multiple versions of content and make data-driven decisions to improve conversion rates, increase revenue and stay ahead of changing user preferences. Our tool will easily integrate with existing features, including Page editing, Push Publishing and Permissions thereby significantly improving content performance without compromising user experience. 

For Developers, we continue to make integrations simpler via new API endpoints, and this year we launched a Zapier integration as well as CLI tools to sync assets across dotCMS instances. We also launched JS Scriptable APIs that allow access to dotCMS tooling such as content search, workflow check-ins, and caching from Javascript. This will be our starting point for many future JS endeavors. 

For DevOps and IT teams, we launched Cloud Anywhere, a customer-owned dotCMS installation fully managed by dotCMS that runs on dotCMS Cloud’s battletested and SOC2-Type II and ISO 27001 certified stack. Our customers can also rely on fully-managed dotCMS services including uptime SLA, app monitoring, upgrades, security patches, bug fixes, back-ups and recovery.

Security remains one of our most important focuses. In addition to maintaining our SOC2 compliance. dotCMS is now also ISO27001 and TXRAMP certified. We are making significant progress on a number of security initiatives with our greatest focus on seamless vulnerability management as well as making our systems and processes as transparent and easy to access for our customers as possible. 

Our Customers

One of our core values at dotCMS is “customer obsession” as we commit to delivering best-in-class customer experience. It was therefore especially heartening to win a total of 25 badges and be named a Leader and High Performer in the Winter 2024 Grid Reports by G2. This recognition was based on the responses of our dotCMS users, who gave us over 90% satisfaction ratings in:

  • Quality of Support

  • Ease of Use

  • Ease of Doing Business With

  • Meeting Business Requirements

I am especially proud of everyone at dotCMS for this achievement. It is no surprise that we consistently post industry-leading retention metrics with a target in sight of crossing 115% for Net Retention this year. I am also proud to share some stories from our new and old customers who are using dotCMS to solve critical business problems. For example,

  • An American retail franchise replatformed to dotCMS to create a user-friendly experience for their franchise locations and successfully reduced developer dependency, allowing their marketing teams to take control of their content and go to market faster.

  • An American retailer utilized dotCMS to create a custom CRM tightly integrated with their product information system. By streamlining their quotes and form submission process, they improved their customer experience while also realizing significant savings in time and resources.

  • A global banking institution entrusted dotCMS with the migration from its private self-hosted infrastructure to dotCMS Cloud (GCP) because they were looking for a secure, modern, performant solution with uptime guarantee. 

  • An international news organization modernized its news editing and publishing operations by migrating to dotCMS CloudAnywhere, entrusting the managed hosting, maintenance, and uptime to dotCMS while retaining access to their data on their own cloud account.

  • An international car brand utilized dotCMS to distribute content for 12 models with an integration with their ecommerce solution pending that will provide their marketing teams easier access to product information and empower them with tools to edit and customize content with ease while maintaining ecommerce functionality and improving time to market.

  • A large American restaurant chain with 345 locations across 13 states reinvented their website to engage fans and improve their customer experience, evolving their overall digital presence.

And this is why we exist. Our industry is mired with jargon that tries to complicate what should be simple. And delivering content for global enterprises with multiple brands, businesses, subsidiaries, geographies, content types and channels should be simple. We are THE simplified content management system for complex content needs.

Our Partners

We kicked off the year by welcoming Paul Abdool as our Global Head of Partnerships to collaborate more closely with our partner network. Under Paul’s leadership, dotCMS added more than two dozen new partners to our network in 2023. We are excited to continue to bring on a diverse mix of partners around the globe in 2024 so we can serve our customers where they are. We are also committed to continue investing in go-to-market activities alongside our partners to amplify our market presence, foster stronger collaboration, and drive sustained momentum. We will certainly be increasing partner activities such as training, certifications, joint marketing and content activities, and co-hosting events.

Our People

The “dots” at dotCMS make our mission a joy to pursue. I feel incredibly blessed to work with such a wonderful group of people. Every dot lives our values of ownership, team player, doer attitude, passionate dedication, customer obsession, and humility. We are also getting better at hiring people who are fully aligned with our values, and we have had a third consecutive year of maintaining 100% employee retention. The right dots seem to stick. We recently returned from our yearly off-site in Costa Rica where we adopted the theme “clear the cache” and spent a few days connecting and recharging over island hopping, beach volleyball, snorkeling, hiking and some good food and drinks. 

We have also recently welcomed Stacey Reiss as our new Head of Sales, and Steve Freudenthaler as our new Head of Engineering. We are thrilled to have these new leaders join us and we can’t wait to see where they will take us next. 

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In 2024 we look forward to launching more UI improvements, SDK’s, multi-site & multi-tenant improvements, phase 2 of AI, and many more features and updates. 

To learn more about the dotCMS product direction, we’re hosting a Winter Product Webinar on January 31st. We look forward to going into more detail on what we’ve launched over this last year, and what we’re looking forward to releasing in 2024. 

A huge thank you once again to the dotCMS team, our customers and partners. It’s been a challenging year, but we’ve kept it moving, and I can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store.

Image Credit: Rodion Kutsaiev
Zain Ishaq
Chief Executive Officer
December 21, 2023

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