I published an analysis earlier this year addressing the main use cases where Adobe’s digital experience platform, Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), was better positioned than the leader in the open digital experience platform (DXP) space, Acquia. One of the three use cases addressed what is the largest capability gap between the two platforms: lack of marketing automation and campaign management tooling.
In May, Acquia announced that they had acquired Mautic, the only open source marketing automation platform in the world. This is BIG news for how well Acquia stacks up to AEM. Why so big? Let’s look at why Mautic is different, the broader ecosystem, and how this positions Acquia for the next several years.
Meet Mautic, the open source marketing automation platform
Mautic is a marketing automation platform that includes all of the core features you would expect from any solution:
- email marketing
Mautic is an open source solution that is freely available to anyone to use, extend, and enhance. Mautic offers a paid cloud platform that enhances the value of an organization's investment in using the software.
Here's the part to pay attention to: Mautic’s most critical strength against competitors is that the platform is open source.
As the market has demonstrated numerous times in the last two decades, open source platforms have consistently disrupted market sector after market sector by providing greater value to organizations for mission-critical functionality. It is hard to imagine now but there was a time when using the free Apache web server to run your website was frowned upon and when Netscape, Microsoft, and other commercial players were considered the only safe options. Fast forward to today and over 140 open source companies have been acquired, having cumulatively raised hundreds of millions of dollars in investment capital. Just last year MuleSoft (Salesforce), Magento (Adobe), GitHub (Microsoft), and Red Hat (IBM) all were acquired for several billion dollars each.
All of this investment and acquisition is proof that open source solutions can turn into valuable businesses. Open source is a value-destroying-creating machine that has devoured one after another of bread and butter technology market segments like operating systems, digital commerce platforms, data transformation, and integration layers, big data, and employee collaboration and productivity tools.
Most technology market segments have an open source player, think SugarCRM to Salesforce or Red Hat to Microsoft, but marketing automation only had one in the form of Mautic.
Like throwing gasoline on a fire (for both companies)
There is no denying that Mautic is not (yet) the most mature player from a purely feature perspective. If you compare features to Marketo and Pardot, it will come up wanting. But we’d argue this is a narrow, short-sighted view.
Measuring the strategic value of Mautic by counting the features completely misses the real value of being open source and under Acquia’s wing. Which is where we bring this back to Acquia. This acquisition is very much a two way street for Acquia as it fills the largest feature gap in the platform: campaigns.
Acquia is no longer a scrappy startup—it is a large business that competes (rather successfully) with the largest technology businesses in the world. And it knows how to position, develop, and compete on product. Mautic, like any company with a small team, was always short on engineering time to enhance the product. Acquia has hundreds of engineers that work on product and many of them will now be focused on expanding Mautic’s capabilities without sacrificing its essential openness.
We’re confident that the mashup of Acquia and Mautic teams will be a classic case of 2 + 2 = 5 (maybe even more like 7 or 10). As Acquia scales Mautic, the campaign management gap between Acquia and AEM will continually diminish and we project this is going to close sooner than you think (the next two years or so).
We’re looking forward to the day when we can say that gap is fully closed or even better—that Acquia’s campaign and marketing automation offering is stronger.