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Acquia adds CDP, digital experience platform features

Analyst: Latest features added to Acquia's marketing, commerce and customer data platform offerings show the company is serious about adding enterprise users.

As it builds out its Open Digital Experience Platform, Acquia released today 18 features and integrations for its marketing cloud, e-commerce system and customer data platform -- most of them aimed toward enterprise users.

Among the features showcased at Acquia's Engage user conference are multi-tenant distributed marketing automation, which enables users to spin up campaigns in different global geographies. Some countries require consumer data stay within a country's borders or within a region, or have language and localization requirements. This feature, available now, allows Acquia customers to hit the "on switch" for campaigns with fewer complications.

Acquia added numerous features to its customer data platform (CDP), built on AgilOne: ML Studio, a low-code environment that enables data scientists to build machine models on CDP data without the help of coders, is in early access; ML Launchpad gives marketers the ability to visualize CDP data cuts and insights around them; and Multi-Touch Attribution, available later this year, helps marketers determine which channels performed best in a given campaign time frame.

The CDP also added Privacy Management, a feature available now that helps enable compliance with privacy laws in Europe and the U.S. that provide consumers with the "right to be forgotten" by a company.

Once a customer is ingrained in a company's sales, service, marketing and e-commerce platforms, it requires a lot of manual searches to remove that consumer's identity from those systems when they ask for it -- as some privacy laws mandate. In fact, some Acquia users employ multiple full-time employees to search systems and manually delete consumers from their various databases when customers exercise their rights, said co-founder and chief technology officer Dries Buytaert.

Privacy Management helps automate some of that process for large, complex global companies struggling to comply with regulations that differ from one country or region to the next.

Deep Analysis founder Alan Pelz-Sharpe said Acquia built many of these new features, including Privacy Management, to court large customers.

"Acquia Drupal back in the day was all about the developer -- and you can argue it still is -- but these are enterprise features they're adding to land the big deals," Pelz-Sharpe said.

Acquia CDP
Multi-Touch Attribution tracks marketing engagement through user-defined customer attributes.

Widen DAM integrations coming

Last month, Acquia acquired Widen, a digital asset management platform. Widen senior leadership will be featured at Acquia Engage, Buytaert said, but it's too early to discuss how Widen will become part of Acquia's digital experience platform ecosystem.

For now, Acquia will work on adding features to Widen and maintaining continuity for its existing users. Integrations with Acquia are still in proof-of-concept stage as Acquia onboards Widen's team and technology.

"We're heavily investing in integrating Widen with our portfolio of products, while we keep investing in their existing roadmap," Buytaert said. "We move fast, but not that fast."

Acquia Commerce sees some extras

Acquia's e-commerce support remains a reference build -- meaning users can use it as a template to launch e-commerce sites. Acquia added support for things like Node.js, JSON and GraphQL, tools that enable developers to assemble and test sites as well as product recommendation workflows and are available now.

One feature Acquia Commerce doesn't offer is payments processing. Instead, it offers integrations to cover that last mile with many different e-commerce vendors, including Elastic Path, BigCommerce and Commercetools.

Pelz-Sharpe said that Acquia not acquiring its own payment platform is probably a smart move for now. Any company that maintains one would have to accommodate what could be a lot of changes over the next five years with cryptocurrencies and other emerging technologies, he explained. Acquia partnering with popular payments platforms keeps the company from having to invest in that.

Staying out of the payments platform business so far has been a strategic decision, Buytaert confirmed. Acquia plans to pour research and development capital into building software that enables richer media and personalization for digital experiences -- instead of building or buying technology to enable transactions. It also keeps Acquia Commerce flexible for the end users, Buytaert said, offering them a range of choices instead of locking them in to one payment platform.

"Obviously that can change at some point," Buytaert said. "But right now, the fact that we're independent has been a great feature. It has actually given us momentum in commerce, because a lot of vendors come to us eager to partner."

Acquia Engage runs through Wednesday.

Don Fluckinger covers enterprise content management, CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, customer service and enabling technologies for TechTarget.

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